The pioneering women in the struggle of Iranian people
Ashraf Rajavi was one of the pioneering women in the struggle of Iranian people during the regimes of the Shah and Khomeini. She was a student at Sharif Industrial University in Tehran. To join the ranks of the struggle against the regime of the Shah, she quit the university and worked full time for the resistance.
Prior to the 1979 revolution in Iran, she was arrested twice and spent some years in the Shah’s prisons where she was tortured and lost someof her body’s function. However, her resoluteness and belief in the struggle along with her perseverance made her one of the symbols of the pioneering women in Iran.
During the 1979 anti-monarchic revolution of the Iranian people, Ashraf was released from prison on January 20th 1979 along with the last group of political prisoners – including the leader of the Iranian Resistance Mr. Massoud Rajavi – and was embraced by her beloved people. In the first post-revolution parliamentary election, Ashraf was one of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) candidates from Tehran. Due to the extensive vote rigging by Khomeini’s supporters, none of the PMOI candidates, including Ashraf, could find their way to the parliament.
She married Mr. Massoud Rajavi in 1980 and continued her political activities as a vanguard of the struggle for freedom within PMOI. Finally, in a savage attack upon a PMOI base in Tehran by Khomeini’s revolutionary guards on February 8th 1981 she was martyred along with Moussa Khiabani, the second in command for the PMOI, as well as a number of other PMOI members.
Years later, Ashraf in Iraq was named in her honor as she was a pioneer and a symbol of PMOI women who led a generation of women that soon found themselves battling Khomeini’s fundamentalism. These women are truly the vanguards of freedom for Iranian women; they have been and are present in all arenas in the battle against religious tyranny from prisons and dungeons in Iran to the pioneers of struggle in Ashraf and Camp Liberty in Iraq.
In her successful revolutionary life, as well as in her unforgettable saga of martyrdom, Ashraf symbolized a “nascent historical being” called a revolutionary Mojahed woman; women who joined the ranks of the struggle in the thousands and brilliantly shined in this resistance.
Prominent revolutionary vanguards are not just a single person, rather, they symbolize the aspirations and values of a people and a revolution; they represent the suffering and the spilled-blood of those who fought for freedom with all they had through all their might. Along with her revolutionary characteristics, Ashraf was full of love for her comrades. In a letter to her husband Massoud Rajavi, she writes:
“…with all our children, with all my beloved ones, with all my most cherished, those who are heroically martyred, I am always with them, I get tortured with them, I cry out with them, I die with them and I come back to life with them. I don’t know what to do with this fire that has engulfed all my body from the head to the deep of my bones; I don’t think this fire will ever die out. In these conditions, dying is easier than to live. When I hear the news of the fallen, believe me, I go to sleep with their memories and wake up with their memories and I live with the hope to avenge them. My tears don’t allow me to write. Forgive me if the handwriting is not good or unreadable. It is as if my body can no longer tolerate this restless soul, I want to fly and go, to go where the children are, to those sisters that had no place to sleep at night and now they are comfortably sleeping in their graves. How can one resolve this contradiction, for how long can one hold the water in a spring? World did not learn what happened to our nation in these months. I believe, in the culture of nations, there are no words to describe what is happening here. It is as if a new culture needs to be invented.”
Ashraf learned martyrdom and the path to struggle and sacrifice one’s life during the years of resistance against the Shah and came to accept it. She even gave up her child in this struggle…that is much harder than sacrificing one’s own life. During the heat of the struggle, in the days that they could have been attacked at any time by Khomeini’s revolutionary guards, in another letter to Massoud about her child Ashraf writes:
“…the child says hello too. I don’t know if you have received his pictures or not. Anyway, he is a healthy child and is now very active and sweet. Too bad that you are not here to see him grow up. It is very pleasant… he is here now and is my good son. I love him very much. His laughter and cry, his health and malady are beautiful to me the same, important and lovely…”
Yes, when Ashraf talks about martyrdom and giving one’s life for her people, contrary to frozen mindsets that are incapable of comprehending the logic of revolution; it is not an ideology of death or passively seeking martyrdom, it is in fact a love for humanity, love for freedom, love for life, and a deep love for her compatriots, especially the Iranian women and children that bring her to resist and sacrifice for them. It is so that Ashraf Rajavi is truly an eternal symbol for the Iranian woman who has chosen the path of struggle.
May her memory be cherished