Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

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Mr. Speaker, the people of Iran are embroiled in a noble struggle against tyranny. The Government of Iran is engaged in the massacre of its own people. And what is their crime? They dare to speak out against fraud and corruption in their own government. They question the results of an election steeped in fraud.

Their peaceful dissent has resulted in violent and brutal crackdowns from the hard-line government, a government that has shed the blood of the innocent.

The people of Iran have boldly and bravely exercised the first basic human right, the right of free speech. The crackdown is startling news to the students who believed their government, despite its flaws, had the best interests of its people at heart. That veil has been forever lifted from their eyes.

In America, we faced a similar awakening to the brutality of the Government of England when that ruled us. The city of Boston was occupied by British troops to enforce harsh taxes and punishments intended to exert control over American colonies by force and intimidation. Citizens took to the streets to vocally decry the tyranny. Tense words were exchanged, and the British soldiers opened fire on a group of unarmed patriots. Five people were killed and eight others were injured.

We call it the Boston Massacre. The Boston Massacre has ended, but the Iranian Massacre has begun. And the silent voices of the slain still cry from the graves of the martyred oppressed.

These students have embraced the ideals of liberty and freedom. They value human life and dignity. Now they are faced with the realization that the republic they were taught to believe is not what it claims to be. They suffer the consequences of demanding human rights from a violent and tyrannical government.

The streets of Iran are eerily silent now, but the opposition does continue. A quiet and righteous anger builds in these oppressed and brutalized young people. One young student said, "My friend, a 26-year-old fellow student, was on the streets last week. She is now home with a broken arm and a broken leg. "I saw hell right before my eyes last week," she said. "You can never imagine the sight of a huge man beating you to death."

It looks to me, Mr. Speaker, that these young students of Iran, these sons of liberty and daughters of democracy, have joined the few, the noble few who throughout history have stood and faced vicious tyrants.

A noted historian once said, "You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers. Yet in their hearts there is unspoken, unspeakable fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts, words spoken and thoughts stirring at home that are all the more powerful because they are forbidden to be spoken."

These young students are not alone, Mr. Speaker. We are kindred spirits. America has earned its freedom through struggle and shed its blood in many countries around the world in defense of freedom and liberty.

You see, Mr. Speaker, each of us throughout the ages of time are born with the unbroken spirit in our soul to be free, to desire liberty and freedom. Tyrants have always tried to enslave people in a brutal dark nightmare for the sake of their personal political power and financial gain. Indeed, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

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