Glimpses of Epic of the 8-Year Holy Defense (87)
Dear listeners, we have said several times that the Iraqi dictator Saddam’s main goal of initiating the 8-year war and invading Iran was to overthrow the Islamic Republic system. He pursued other goals, too. But, he and his masters in Washington, Moscow, Tel Aviv and Europe didn’t reach any of their goals. In this episode we are going to talk about Basij Volunteer forces with a focus on Imam Khomeini’s view on this popular organization.
The 8-year war was imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran only 19 months after the victory of the Islamic Revolution. In other words, Iran’s army had not yet reorganized itself after the changes that had occurred during the revolution. In such conditions, the greatest hope for standing against the Iraqi invasion was the revolutionary fervor and martyrdom-seeking of the young generation to defend the country and the revolution. The youths of Khorramshahr with this very morale showed very stiff resistance against several Iraqi divisions for 35 days; although they had the least possible weapons and had not received any military training. The Iranian youths had reached the belief that they had to defend their country and revolution only with trust in God and reliance on their abilities. This self-belief and self-reliance showed their effect after the war in the form of social, scientific, technological and economic progresses. The Iranian people understood in the war that they must stand on their own feet. As Imam Khomeini (God’s mercy upon him) put it, “In this war we reached the belief that we can struggle against all powers and superpowers for long years.” He also said, “In this war, we broke the awe of the two powers of the East and the West.”
The Iranian nation was personified during the 8-year war in the shape of Basiji forces. It means that creative youths with self-belief and self-reliance proved that they can make progress without dependence on big powers. This characteristic of the Basiji forces made both friends and enemies praise them.
The economic sanctions forced the people to find new ways of meeting their needs via abandoning consumerism and trying to manufacture the products that they needed. This was while before the Islamic Revolution, Iran’s industry was based on montage and that under the control and supervision of foreign advisors. Imam Khomeini said, “This war, the economic sanction and expulsion of foreign experts was a divine gift that we were negligent of.” The Founder of the Islamic Republic had said elsewhere, “Do not expect that somebody will help you from abroad in reaching the goal which is Islam and putting its laws in practice. You should rise up for this vital affair which will materialize your freedom and independence.”
One of the very foresighted acts of Imam Khomeini was give the main role in the war to the people. He ordered the formation of an organization called Basij-e Mostazafan (Mobilization of Volunteer Forces of the Oppressed). What is interesting is that he made it clear that the country with 20 million youths should have 20 million Basiji forces. Due to his profound awareness on the basic goals of the enemy to topple the system and revolution, Imam Khomeini understood that the Iranian nation, just like the days of the revolution, should get united against the invading enemy. This strategy had a very deep impact on victories in the battlefield. Thus, the idea of popular mobilization (Basij) paved the way for demonstration of creativities and initiatives. Imam Khomeini described Basij with very beautiful and lofty expressions. He said, “May God’s mercy and blessings be onto the Basij which is truly the support of the Islamic Revolution, and has continued its precious endeavour and, thank God, has trained million-strong volunteers with the effort of thriving youths. It is hoped that, with the active participation of the nation’s great strata and the zeal and joy that is seen among the dear youths with the blessing of Islam, the 20-milion strong army will materialize which will be the guardian of the Islamic Republic and the dear country against the aggressive world-devourers.”
In the view of Imam Khomeini, a Basiji is not only the one who has taken part in this organization or institution as an official member. Rather, all the downtrodden and oppressed nations and groups in the world are Basiji. The Imam said, “Let the powers, the superpowers and their stooges be sure that if Khomeini is left alone, he will continue his way that is the way of struggle against disbelief, oppression, polytheism and idolatry; and with God’s help, alongside the Basijis of the Islamic world- these barefooted who are under the wrath of dictators- will seize comfortable sleep from the eyes of the world-devourers who insist on their oppression.” The Imam also said, “In this world, I am boastful that I am a Basij myself.”
A brief survey of the 8-year war reveals that had there not been the Basij, Iran would have never triumphed over Saddam who enjoyed the all-out support of scores of governments. Basij showed a new role model for the oppressed and downtrodden in the world to fight against oppressors to for their rights. Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said, “The greatest achievement of Imam Khomeini was to train Basiji youths.”