The following is the full text of the speech delivered on June 17, 2019, by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with the officials of the Martyrs of Kurdistan Commemoration Congress.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master Muhammad, and upon his pure household
I am very pleased that a cultural and promotional move has been made to commemorate the several thousand martyrs of Kurdistan. This is a very necessary and beneficial measure which assigns certain responsibilities to all activists, officials and wise people in every corner of the country and particularly to those areas like Kurdistan which have specific qualities.
The issue of the dear martyrs of Kurdistan is significant in a number of ways and it is different from other – in fact from most – areas of the country. A very important difference is that the arena where the fighters of Kurdistan were engaged in – including those who were involved in the Sacred Defense Era, in the war and the military arena, such as Kurdish sardars and those who sacrificed their lives, and those who were involved in the cultural area, such as Shahid Sheikh ul-Islam and other such personalities – was not a smooth, paved and easy arena like other areas. Anti-revolutionary forces were present in their own cities and centers.
For example, I do not forget that the late Sheikh ul-Islam delivered a very passionate, meaningful and instructive speech in the Masjid al-Jame’e of Sanandaj in the presence of several thousand people. We too were present there. Well, when he delivered that speech, he definitely knew that there were some individuals inside and outside Sanandaj and perhaps among that gathering of people who were opposed to those statements. However, he exhibited his courage and spiritual power by delivering that solid speech.
The same is true of Kurdish youth who were ready to sacrifice their lives. I met them up close in the years 1358 and 1359 in Kurdistan. It was not trans-border elements whom they were faced with, rather it was domestic forces whom they were fighting against. They were faced with elements working inside their own cities!
For example, in a city like Mashhad, there were many fighters who would join the frontlines, many of whom would be martyred or would become disabled and would return home. However, this was not the case with the fighters in Kurdistan. In their own living environment there were some people who were opposed to and who would fight against them. They plotted and worked against them, but those fighters stood firm and fought back. In my opinion, this is a very important point.
Another point is that the plot of the enemies of the Islamic Revolution and of the Islamic Republic was to take advantage of religious and ethnic differences, both conducted separately, in order to defeat the Islamic Republic. Our country has few peers in the world in terms of ethnic diversity. Different ethnicities live together in this country under the great name of Iran and the great name of the Iranian nation. This has few peers in the world. Even in those areas which have similar characteristics, there are many hostilities. Notice that there is grave discord among the ethnicities that exist in our neighboring countries – but I do not want to mention those countries. The enemies had pinned their hopes on taking advantage of ethnic and religious differences – the issue of Shia and Sunni – in the social environment of Iran.
Here I mentioned Kurdistan, but other areas are like Kurdistan as well. However, Kurdistan is a clear example in this regard. What happened in Kurdistan was that pious, zealous and intelligent forces in Kurdistan foiled this plot of the enemy. They did not allow the dispute among the Kurds and the Fars or the one between the Kurds and the Turks to be revived there.
Of course, there was a minority which would say certain things. Once, I went to Mahabad and the entire city had shut down in order to attend my speech. I think that when I passed through the streets, I witnessed that all shops had closed. The entire population of the city had gathered in the place where my speech was going to be made in order to listen to it. They would chant slogans and express their feelings. There, I said addressing anti-revolutionary forces, that those who speak on behalf of the Kurds should come and see this place. The Kurds are these, not those mercenaries who are sitting outside the country, speaking on behalf of this ethnicity. The Kurd ethnicity is this. The same is true of Sanandaj and other cities.
Therefore, what was done in both Kurdistan and Western Azerbaijan by Kurdish people was a great feat. They have really managed to render services to the Revolution and to disappoint the enemy. This is very valuable. And they have offered martyrs on this path: both during the imposed war and in their fight against anti-revolutionary forces.
They also offered martyrs because of their support for the Islamic Republic, martyrs such as Shahid Sheikh ul-Islam – whom I mentioned – Shahid Aali [Mullah Borhan Aali], who was one of the ulama working there, and Shahid Zabihi [Mullah Muhammad Zabihi]. They were among the “mamoustas” [Kurdish word meaning “teacher”, “scholar”] and well-known ulama of the Kurdistan region. Their martyrdom was due to their support for the Islamic Republic. They would deliver speeches, take action and engage in activities. They cooperated with the Islamic Republic and they were martyred.
In the villages of Kurdistan and Western Azerbaijan, many individuals adopted measures in cooperation with the officials of the Islamic Republic and as a result, anti-revolutionary forces took revenge and martyred them. Martyrdom in this area involved more sacrifice and transparent endeavor and sincerity. I hope that God will raise the position of those martyrs, God willing.
As for the report that the honorable Sardar delivered, well, it is a good report, but these are merely numbers and figures. What I recommend and what I stress is the output of the work that you do. It should be clear how influential these numbers – the ones that you mentioned regarding the formation of such congresses and the publication of some of your works and other such tasks – have been among the public opinion of the country, in particular youth, on the issue of appreciating the status of martyrs. This is what is important. What we need today is for our people to appreciate the value of our martyrs. They should know what services those martyred youth, scholars, businesspeople and farmers rendered to the country, to Islam and to the Islamic Republic.
There is a family in Kurdistan which offered six martyrs! These are unique phenomena. We have few cases like this in the country. One family offered six of its sons in the way of God. They were martyred in various demonstrations, in their fight against anti-revolutionary forces and in the imposed war. There are such examples. Therefore, the young generation should know about them. Today’s youth should know that we have reached this condition, that “the good tree” of the Revolution has grown and borne fruits and that many feats have been accomplished. They should know what endeavors have been made, the most important of which is the endeavor made by our martyrs. The young generation should know this.
So, one issue is that your tasks should be carried out in a way that they lead to a desirable output. These tasks should be able to influence the minds of youth and their perceptions of the issues of the country and those of their past. Forty years have passed from the Revolution. We should know what efforts have been made in establishing the Revolution and in strengthening its pillars. The young generation should know this. Of course, those who have seen these things up close are already aware of them although some of them forget certain things, deviate from the path and change their direction. Despite this, it is youth whom I mainly look at. Today’s youth should know what tasks have been accomplished which have made these pillars so strong and with which the Islamic Republic can feel proud. This is one point.
The second point is about construction projects and other such measures. Well, many construction projects have been carried out, but there has been extensive backwardness in Kurdish areas. This was a wrong and decrepit policy in the taghuti regime which made them think that they should act like this. Of course in that regime, there was indifference to national interests as well. Therefore, there is backwardness and you should make up for it.
It is said that I should make certain recommendations. I am already doing this and I am alright with it. What you should do is to write letters mentioning what you think should be done and then I will refer them to the officials in charge and I will make certain recommendations and will insist on them. However, it is you officials who are the doers of the work. It is you who are the executers. The Leadership apparatus is not the executer. It is not an executive apparatus. It is you who are the executers. You should pursue and follow up the matter. We might issue an edict to such and such a ministry and such and such high-ranking officials and we might insist on it, but he who should pursue the matter is you. You should come and go and insist and persist until you can achieve what is good for the people, God willing.
Our responsibility is to commemorate martyrs. We should not forget this. Our responsibility is to pay homage to the families of martyrs. The families of martyrs are at the top due to the significance of their patience and their work. Therefore, we should show our respect to them. And this respect should not be merely expressed in words although verbal appreciation is important as well.
Some people say that verbal compliments are not good. This is not the case. If we show respect to martyrs and martyr status through our words and statements, this is an important point. There are some people who cannot tolerate this and therefore, we should move in this direction. However, as well as this, there are practical measures, amenities and various kinds of assistance that should be offered to the families of martyrs and disabled war veterans, God willing.
I hope that God will bestow upon you the power to work, to render services and to be at the service of this great movement and I hope that you will be able to please the pure souls of the martyrs, God willing.
Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings