The following is the full text of the speech delivered on December 5, 2016 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with the officials of the 4,000 Martyrs of Gulistan Province Commemoration Congress.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Dear brothers and sisters who are present in this meeting, you are quite welcome. I thank Mr. Nurmofidi and also the other brothers who have embarked on this great task and this eternal movement about the dear martyrs of that region.
The issue of martyrs is a very important issue. We have still not understood – in the real sense of the word - the significance of the work that our dear youth have done during this long period of time since the victory of the Islamic Revolution until today. After such a long time, not only have we not been able to measure the true weight of that task in defending the Revolution, the Islamic Republic, the country, national dignity and our future and history, but we have also failed to express and to show it. Therefore, the tasks that you are carrying out are tasks that very valuable in this regard and on this path.
Well, the statements that Mr. Nurmofidi made were adequate. He made completely good and accurate statements about issues related to the Revolution. The same is true of the statements that other gentlemen made in the meeting. Although, some of the points that were raised were related to the administration and the like, they were statements about an important region, namely Gulistan.
I would like to say a few things in praise of Gulistan. Gulistan region is a region which is really prominent in terms of manpower and various other matters. First of all, a point on which Mr. Nurmofidi placed great emphasis and which is very important is that the people of this region are presenting a satisfactory and efficient kind of co-existence. This is manifested in the various ethnicities and denominations that exist in Gorgan, in Gulistan region and in Turkmen Sahra. This is a very important issue.
Today, a great deal of money is being spent in order to create discord between Islamic denominations and between Sunni and Shia. They work on this in their “think tanks” – as westerners put it. These are places where they sit, hatch plots and formulate plans. If these things are explained to the people, they will really be surprised to know that so many things are being done in order to make two Muslims – one Sunni and another Shia – avoid sitting beside each other and speaking to one another. They will be surprised to know that all these things are being done in order to make them have a bad and hostile relationship with each other and pull guns on one another. Despite all their efforts, the exact opposite has happened in Islamic Iran and one of the best areas in this regard is Gulistan region.
Before the Revolution too, I visited Gulistan. I visited Gonbad Kavoos, Gorgan and some other cities such as Galikesh and the like. Therefore, I know how much effort the people in this region have made to preserve that co-existence, cooperation and mutual affection. This is very valuable. This should be preserved. This should be maintained.
A few years ago, during a trip to Gorgan, I went to Gonbad for one day or half a day – I do not remember exactly. The majority of the people who expressed their love and kindness to us in Gonbad were Sunni brothers. Well, this is the exact opposite of what the Saudis, the takfiris and behind them- America and intelligence services such as the CIA and the like- are doing in the present time. This is the exact opposite of what they are doing. In other words, political work in this region is purposeful, well-oriented, accurate, sharp and decisive in the real sense of the word. This is one of the characteristics of Gulistan region which is very important in my opinion.
Recently – a few months ago – I received a letter from the family of that Turkmen lady who had been martyred during Mina events. Her family had written to me that she had gone to Makkah and she had someone testify that she had gone on her pilgrimage on my behalf – it was either in that trip or in another trip. This is very important. A Turkmen lady whom I was not familiar with and whose name I did not know went to Makkah to perform hajj on my behalf and later on, she had others testify to that and sign it. And after that, she sent it to me.
These are things that are the real strong points in our country and among our people. The war that is referred to as asymmetric means that one party enjoys some equipment and tools which the other side is deprived of. Sometimes, the second party is not even aware of those tools. One example is this. Such kind acts, relationships and collaborations are things that the side opposed to us – global arrogance, Zionism and America – does not know anything about and cannot analyze. They are not even able to analyze them. This is one point.
Another point is about the people of Gulistan’s loyalty to the Revolution and to revolutionary matters. I went to Gorgan in the year 1343. I used to go on the minbar there. It was one year after the 15th of Khordad events. This happened in the second or third ten-day period of Safar. I was amazed by the people’s gathering and movement, the warm reception that they showed and the excitement that they displayed. This was a sign of their awakening and interest in this movement. At that time, no major event had occurred. In those days, fighting had not become comprehensive and all-inclusive yet.
Another point is about the movement of the people of Gulistan in the events that led to the Revolution. The fifth of Azar – which was pointed out by the gentlemen in the meeting – is an important day in Gorgan’s history. When the people of Gorgan heard about the attack on the Holy Shrine Imam Ridha (a.s.) in Mashhad, they launched a movement voluntarily. No one invited them, nor did anyone welcome them. They went to the middle of the arena and they were attacked for that.
One, two weeks after that, the same event happened in Gonbad Kavoos and Galikesh. The people went to the middle of the arena. In the beginning of the Revolution too, during the movement that was launched by the Marxists in that region – which involved massacres, sedition and the like – the main thing that saved Gorgan, Gulistan region and Turkmen Sahra was the resistance of the people. That was because the individuals who had built a den there and who had gathered some soldiers did not have a popular base of support. When a group of individuals do not benefit from a popular base of support, they are quickly defeated. The people were advocates of the other side. They were with the Revolution. They were advocates of Imam (r.a.). Thankfully, the people of Gulistan have many positive characteristics.
During the Sacred Defense Era too, both the 30th Army– which was referred to by the gentlemen in the meeting– and the 25th Army of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps in Gulistan and Gorgan regions really shone brightly and accomplished great feats some of which were touched upon by Mr. Nurmofidi. One day, Mr. Nurmofidi was present among those armies as well. I went there on that day. Some of our friends from Gorgan were present there as well. I think that Mr. Taheri [Hujjatul-Islam wal Muslimeen Habibullah Taheri Gorgani, the people’s representative in the Assembly of Experts] was present there too.
I hope that God bestows His mercy on him and raises his position, God willing. He played a great part. In any case, the presence of such personalities in the arena of war and the activities that they did there were extraordinary activities. Whatever we say in this regard is not enough. I send my greetings to each and every one of our dear people including those who are Shias and Sunnis. In particular, I send my greetings to the ulama of Gulistan region including Shia and Sunni ulama. Mr. Nurmofidi should take the trouble on my behalf to send the greetings of this humble person to all the ulama in that region, to all active officials there and also to the people. I really have a feeling of affection, sincerity and trust towards and in the people of Gorgan.
As I said, the issue of martyrs should be taken very seriously. We should attach the same values towards martyrs that Allah the Exalted did. He said, “They fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Quran” [The Holy Quran, 9: 111]. When those who engage in jihad in the way of God and who risk their lives kill enemies and when they themselves are killed, these are both valuable. Allah the Exalted has given them a divine promise of mercy.
There are narrations which say that those who lose their life on this path witness the signs of divine mercy even before they completely leave this world. These narrations say that as soon as a martyr falls from his horse – at that time, they used to fight on horses – he receives the divine promise before reaching the ground. In other words, their eyes open to the truth even in this world. They tangibly understand and touch the divine mercy and blessing. This is the value of martyrs.
If it had not been for these martyrdoms and self-sacrifices, the Islamic Republic would not have survived and this sapling would have been attacked by hard storms. The reason why this system prevailed, why this sapling was not destroyed and why it thankfully turned into a strong tree was those sacrifices, those altruistic acts, those martyrdom aspirations and entrances into the arena. This should be preserved. The enemy should be identified. His deceptions and tricks should be identified as well.
Today, you can witness that in global events, whenever global arrogance has a major plan for this region, the central point is Iran. Why is that? This is because of the Islamic Revolution, these pious people and this Islamic faith that exists in our country. We are the target of many attacks. Fortunately, Allah the Exalted has given us power. He has given us capability. We have manpower, we have a blessed and large country, we have a large population, and we have a talented, vigilant and dynamic young generation. These are our resources. They are not minor resources, rather they are great resources. Therefore, we should employ them.
Primarily, these statements are addressed to officials and secondly, they are addressed to the masses of the people. Everyone should feel that they are responsible towards the magnificent event that took place – through which the flag of Islam was raised. This is not a minor event. During the time when all hands, policies and powers were trying to isolate the entirety of religion, particularly Islam, the liveliest religion and the most eloquent divine text – that is to say, our dear Islam and the Holy Quran – managed to pull themselves up in a certain country and take everything into their hands in that country. Moreover, they managed to disrupt geographical borders and to enter various regions. This is a very astonishing and important event.
The enemy saw that event and felt danger. Therefore, they engaged in making endeavors against the Islamic Republic since the first day, but they have thankfully failed until today and from now on too, they will continue to fail by Allah’s grace. However, the condition for this is that all of us have a sense of responsibility. Everyone should feel responsible. Each of us – wherever we are – should really consider our first and main responsibility to be defending the Islamic Republic and we should coordinate our moves with this.
Your work too – which is reviving and highlighting the name of martyrs and holding commemoration congresses for them – is surely in line with this task and it is definitely influential. By Allah’s favor and grace, your work is a charitable act and an eternal good deed. I hope that Allah the Exalted will reward you for that, God willing.
You should try to convey your works and products to minds and to your audience. We should not only be delighted with the thought that we have produced books. Of course, producing books is undoubtedly good. Producing movies and art is important, but besides this, finding or – in one sense – producing addressees is important too. You should try to convey books to the minds of addressees.
Today, our youth need food for thought. Today, many of our youth – even our active and good youth – have not witnessed the Revolution, nor have they seen Imam (r.a.) and the era of war. They are not aware of these various events. You spoke about the fifth of Azar. Well, do our youth from Gorgan know what happened on the fifth of Azar? This is very important. They should know what happened on the fifth of Azar and why it has been recorded in history. This is important.
It is very important for youth to be aware of their history, their past and in fact their revolutionary identity. You should try to do this as much as possible. Of course, this requires work because this is not a simple task. What is more difficult than writing books is conveying these things to the eyes and minds of the addressees. This is very important. This requires art, precision and certain subtleties. You should be able to insert these things in the minds of the addressees.
The issue of Sunni and Shia which was discussed in the meeting – both Mr. Nurmofidi and I pointed to it – is a very important issue. Shia and Sunni youth should know how important this issue is. Today, the enemies are using these differences and tensions that sometimes emerge – either from this or that side. The likes of DAESH, takfiris and other such groups are using these things. We should prevent them from using this. This is not possible unless Shia and Sunni youth know that what is being done today – the cooperation, co-existence, unanimity and harmony that exist among them – is a very great phenomenon. This is the greatest tactic against the enemy of Iran, Islam and the Holy Quran. They should know and preserve this. We should instill these things into the minds of our young addressees in a tangible manner.
I hope that God helps you to succeed, God willing. I hope that God raises the position of your predecessors and the great ulama of Gorgan – some of whom I was familiar with and had met - God willing. I hope that God increases the achievements of the friends who are present here – friends such as Mr. Nurmofidi, you gentlemen and the other brothers who are active – on a daily basis so that you can take firm steps on this path, God willing.
Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings