|Questions and Answers|
|Supreme Leader's Speech to Basij Members|
The following is the full text of the Speech delivered on May 3, 2008 by Ayatollah Khamenei the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution to a group of Basij members in Shiraz, Fars province.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
The company of Basij members is reminiscent of the fragrance of jihad wherever they gather in the country, especially if they gather in a place where enthusiastic people have throughout history, rushed onto jihad with all their hearts and their bravery, and went down in history. The Basij organization in Shiraz is one of those places.
The issue of history is not a trivial matter. If you look at the history of this nation, you will realize that this nation has played no role in the past when such issues as seizing power were at stake. They never supported any particular groups or played an active role in such events. It was only during the Islamic Revolution that the people made a movement at the call of our exceptional leader. It was not the case of a special group of people or individuals entering the scene. It was an ocean of people entering the scene. Even during the Sacred Defense Era, it was not only the Armed Forces who sensed the responsibility. All the people were involved. They entered the scene wherever there was a willing heart, or a group of people filled with enthusiasm and genuine faith.
Amidst this great nation and land, what remained was Basij which I would like to liken to an immaculate tree. The most devoted, enthusiastic, and motivated people present on the scene were Basij members who never gave up.
The establishment of Basij was one of the innovations of our magnanimous Imam (r.a.). Turning Basij, which first meant a combination of sacred motives, commitment and devotion, into an organization was one of the major innovations of our magnanimous Imam (r.a.). This was indeed a great movement by Imam Khomeini (r.a.).
It was Basij - that is to say, a group of enthusiastic volunteers - that helped establish the Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps. Although Basij is affiliated to the Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps, the early members of Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps were the former Basij members. Basij members stepped in and helped form this organization. This is an immaculate tree.
Therefore, our nation did not feel enervated at any point during the great event that took place within our country - namely, the Sacred Defense. In spite of the fact that we were incomparable to our enemies in terms of our military might, weapons, and ordinary military capabilities - in fact, all we had was not even a fraction of what our enemies possessed - we never felt inadequate. Despite the hardships during the Sacred Defense, enthusiastic presence of our youth filled hearts with hope, and it proved to be very effective indeed.
Most of you were probably not present during the Sacred Defense Era. You probably did not realize the importance of that era. You were too young to enter the battle. Firstly, it is upon everyone to familiarize themselves with the situation of volunteers and faithful youth of that time. This is not limited to you only. It is upon everyone to know what miraculous deeds were performed through the active and faithful presence of Basij members on battlefields. This is a fact everyone should be aware of.
There are certain books and records in this regard. I suggest that you read the biography of some of these major generals or their accounts of what was going on during the war, especially the first years which were very tough. I advise the youth to read these books and gain knowledge on what went on during the past and the history of the Islamic Revolution. Here is where the value of Basij lies. They were the first people to attract elites, both scientific and academic elites as well as prominent political figures. They also magnetized prominent social figures as well as faithful and sincere hearts. It was a scene where students, teenagers, and even old people whose days of struggle had come to an end were magnetized. Everyone felt his thirst for spirituality would be satisfied by joining Basij and entering those difficult scenes. The Sacred Defense Era and the presence of Basij happened in such a manner.
Therefore, this event will remain alive in the history of this nation - that is, the establishment of Basij and the role that it played during the Sacred Defense Era. However, I would like to say that the role of Basij is not limited to the battlefield, although fighting is undoubtedly one of the manifestations of the presence of the people and Basij on the scene. Our best manpower, the purest intentions of our youth, and the most virtuous youth can join Basij. And this has been the reality. Basij forces can go wherever Islam and the Islamic Republic feel the need for their presence. Fortunately, we see that this can be verified by the accomplishments that young Basij members have achieved in the arena of science and knowledge. Wherever there is a need for the presence of the people and active motivated manpower, Basij can be there.
You dear youth who are now in Basij and who are organized by this resistance force, must have the following conception of the responsibility of a person towards Islam: you should feel that you can be effective, you can accelerate this great movement, you can solve some problems, and you can withstand various types of invasion including political aggression, propaganda, psychological warfare, and military attacks. The Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Republic as well as our nation need this motivated and faithful public presence. That is because our government relies on God and divine powers, and the most important divine powers are the faith of the people. Allah told His Messenger (s.w.a.): "Allah is the One who assisted you thorough His assistance and through believers." That is to say, the assistance of believers is one of the manifestations of divine support and power.
The Islamic Republic relies on Allah and not on any power or allies. We are considered among the most active countries in the world in the political arena. According to the enemies' estimates - in terms of our diplomatic system, and the activities of our different administrations regarding international relations as well as our conventional political activities - our activities are considered to be successful. We rely on our internal power, which is the result of being connected to God, relying on Him, and being focused on divine blessings bestowed on human beings in order to increase the efficiency of our administration and policies. This is a duty that currently rests on the shoulders of the Islamic Republic. Therefore, there is always a need for Basij both when there is a threat - whether political or economic or military - and when there is not. And fortunately, people from various backgrounds have responded favorably to fulfill this need. People living in various parts of this country as well as people from various backgrounds - city dwellers, villagers, nomads, students, white-color workers, people in various other sectors, laborers, and farmers - answered this call to join Basij organizations. Our esteemed nomads are a case in point, and your province is one of the provinces that are populated by a large number of nomads. The nomadic members of Basij living in this province are considered among the most active members in the country.
In most other countries, the number of different ethnicities is usually a cause for concern. It is the other way round in our country. As far as I know, our nomads have always actively and vehemently supported the religion, religious people as well as religious movements, and scholars of religious studies. It has been like this in the past, and it is the same now. During the Pahlavi era the nomads of Fars province stood against the bullying of the Pahlavi regime. They tried to deploy them against religious people, but they failed to do so. The nomads supported the revolutionary activists. They supported the activists spiritually when they could not do so physically. That is what our nomads are like. The situation must be the same in other portions of our society, and they must maintain this state of readiness.
As I have constantly said, the Islamic Republic has definitely made some enemies for itself by declaring its determination to seek international justice as its ideal. All those who believe in the efficacy of hegemony, coercion, and aggression in international relations are opposed to and enraged by the Islamic Republic's shout for justice. Similarly, our shout for national independence makes some enemies deploy their forces against us. Faced with a nation that declares independence and tries to stop the foreign agents from plundering the country, all monopolists, all those who seek to dominate the world, and all those who used to plunder the resources of this country naturally want to deploy their forces against our nation. It is wrong to assume that the enemies are hostile to us just because of a particular stance on the part of the Islamic Republic or a government official. They are opposed to the very existence of our government and its structure. They are opposed to the slogans shouted by our government and our Imam.
Unlike the domineering powers, the nations are on our side. They praise our young Basij members. Their acts and the memory of what they have done have captured many hearts within and even outside the world of Islam. These threats will be there forever, and therefore the people and Basij members will continue to be present on the scene.
Every now and then the domineering powers start propaganda waves against the Islamic Republic. They keep broadcasting such propaganda. They shamelessly broadcast propaganda about the nuclear issue at one point and human rights and other issues at another. But who are the people who broadcast this propaganda? The name of those who broadcast propaganda against us is enough to cast doubt on this propaganda. They themselves have violated human rights more than others. They have organized the highest number of attacks against nations. They have plundered national resources more than all others. It is these people who are at the forefront of this propaganda. But the Iranian nation is watchful and alive.
The youth must always be vigilant. They must broaden their religious and revolutionary knowledge as much as they can. They must be indomitable against the enemy.
If you are determined to fully avail yourselves of this identity, preserve it, and by Allah's favor, pass on this immaculate tree and this sacred movement to future generations and to those who will join you, you must strengthen the foundations of your knowledge. I strongly recommend that the youth avail themselves of lofty religious knowledge. Martyr Ayatollah Motahhari's works are exemplary in this regard. Slogans and orientations can be very beneficial, but we must give these slogans and orientations a sense of depth. The youth must read martyr Ayatollah Motahhari's books. They must not treat the autobiographies of our wartime commanders with indifference. They must familiarize themselves with these martyrs who laid down their lives for Allah's sake. Reading the autobiographies of commanders must be a first priority, but it must not be the only concern.
The other day I was reading a book that provided an account of the operation that a squad of a Basij company carried out during the Sacred Defense. The presence of a group of people on the battlefield, their extremely effective activities, their enthusiasm, their faith, the blow that they dealt to the enemy, and finally the spirituality that they gained during the battle are all reflected in the speech of our veterans and in the biographies of those who were martyred. I myself greatly benefit from these accounts. Whenever I read such works I find them very useful. You must benefit from these works. You dear youth are the future hopes of this country, and among our youth those who are most motivated and most faithful will give the nation most hope - Basij organizations are definitely one of those who will bring hope for the country. I pray to Allah the Exalted to bestow increasing dynamism this bright path, this immaculate tree, and this spiritual identity.
Dear God, enlighten the young hearts of these dear youth with the light of Your knowledge and the light of reliance on You. O God, make our dear youth more steadfast in advancing the goals of the Islamic Revolution. O God, associate our martyrs with Your saints in the hereafter. Dear God, let us be martyred for Your sake. O God, let our acts, speech, hearts, and beings be at the service of a divine cause. O God, make the sacred heart of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) satisfied with us.
Greetings be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings
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