Simon Wiesenthal lost eighty-nine family members in the Holocaust. On the verge of starvation, he almost became number ninety but was saved by US soldiers at Mauthausen Concentration Camp in May 1945 in the last days of WWII.
Wiesenthal, who went on to become the famed Nazi-hunter, bringing 1,100 war criminals to justice, was often asked: “Were you surprised by how many Nazis there were?”
“No,” Mr. Wiesenthal said, “but I was shocked by how few anti-Nazis there were.”
Imagine how the long-suffering people in Iran feel when they see that whenever they dare raise their voices in protest, or heroically take to the streets, and whenever they publicly chant solidarity (instead of hate) for the ‘great Satan’—America, that any echoes of support are drowned out by deafening silence?
Since 1979, the Iranian regime has left a trail of murder and mayhem against its own people, and has unleashed terrorism by proxy across the Gulf and the globe.
Why then, in 2022, does there seem to be so few anti-Iranian regime voices in the West?
Let’s take a test.
How many people are even aware of the courage of Iranian exiles who have started showing up at the front door of Iranian “diplomatic” missions around the world asking agents of the regime to defect?
Some of those who have appeared at heavily armored gates were little-known protestors. Others have achieved some notoriety in their opposition to the Mullahcracy, like Masih Alinejad.
Alinejad was the target of a sophisticated IRGC kidnapping plot in the United States earlier this year. Yet, that didn’t stop her from risking her own life, when she knocked on the door of an Iranian Mission in Norway recently, to demand justice for the oppressed women in her native land.
Alinejad stared down the embassy employee who eventually opened the door and pleaded, “take my hands instead of the blood-stained hands of the regime.”
The flustered embassy employee responded by calling the Iranian security service.
Alinejad, the anti-hijab activist, later tweeted that the regime’s cowardly agent in Norway even feared “a woman’s hair.”
How many of us are aware that Ayatollah Khamenei and his goons must have sleepless nights as new nationwide protests erupt?
This time there doesn’t appear to be a focused protest. They range from disenfranchised minorities including moderate Shia Azerbaijanis to the suffering Ahwaz Arabs to various opposition groups. It includes one group visited by US former secretary of state Mike Pompeo last week in Albania (the MEK) and, of course, allies of the son of the Shah—all driven by a desperate rage against their tormentors.
This is the regime’s worst nightmare. It has pursued terrorism successfully, followed sly diplomatic maneuvers, and injected plain hubris all in order to inch its way to going nuclear.
But now, as the sanctions against Tehran dramatically loosen-it’s not Washington, Brussels, Jerusalem, Riyadh, and the other Gulf states the Ayatollah fears the most; it’s his own people.
The people of Iran have protested before.
The Green Revolution of 2009 and a series of protests in 2018 and 2019 come to mind. The Green Revolution’s cries from the streets of Tehran to then President Obama were met with stone cold silence.
Those earlier protests were silenced through brute force, mass jailings, and worse. The images and voices of the protesters were blocked from the world when the regime shut down the internet which is a skill they’ve honed in the last two years.
The people in Iran are now revolting again, reaching from Iran’s oil-rich southwest provinces to the north and center of the country.
The protests are for different reasons, but the response has been the same: Tehran’s fake religious leaders are keen to crush them, yet the people keep protesting; the people in Iran are pleading with us to hear them, and to help them.
So far they haven’t attracted a benefactor like Elon Musk - who single-handedly ensured that the real-time brutalities and heroism of the Ukrainians at the hands of the Russian military could not be blocked by Moscow.
Will Elon Musk save lives in Iran too?
But why should it have to come down to the largess of one person? Where are the guardians of social media?
Instead, we have witnessed the systematic removal of footage and images of heroic Iranian protesters disappearing from social media.
There were reports this week that the regime’s agents had attempted to bribe Persian-language content moderators on Instagram to delete anti-regime content and figures, including Masih Alinejad. They were willing to pay up to $10,000 to delete an account.
One way or another, videos of protestors did vanish from multiple social media platforms.
That’s right: powerful self-anointed guardians against fake news have not only blocked real news but are deleting the images of heroic protestors in Iran and erasing their hopes for change.
Who is served by such duplicity?
The terrorism-sponsoring, genocide-seeking, human rights-crushing, Holocaust-denying thugs in Tehran. And the oil-thirsty leaders, who’ve been fed fatuous political narratives concocted by US special envoys desperate for any deal with Tehran.
Whether technically providing material support for terrorists, or not, social media companies are certainly guilty of aiding and abetting Tehran by leaving up the accounts of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard while allowing the videos of victims to be removed.
Governments, social influencers, and faith leaders have also failed the Iranian people. Tragically it seems that American and European leaders seem to still believe that appeasing the regime will bring about kinder, gentler Supreme Leader.
Only strong, unified, leadership from the US and the EU can influence the regime to stop massacring its own people. Appeasement is an accelerant for tyrants who plot to use weapons of mass destruction and terrorism against Israel, Iran’s Arab neighbors, and the United States.
With the help of the United States, a united Europe and social media, decent people everywhere continue to show their solidarity with the people of the Ukraine.
Don’t we owe the long-suffering people of Iran that same solidarity?