شناسه مطلب صحیفه
نمایش نسخه چاپی

Speech [The people's role in the government and the necessity for the (government) officials to give the people importance]

Jamaran, Tehran
The people's role in the government and the necessity for the (government) officials to give the people importance
Massrs Zawari'i and Mir Salim (Deputy Interior Ministers) and the governors from all over the country
جلد ۱۳ صحیفه امام خمینی (ره)، از صفحه ۳۲۴ تا صفحه ۳۳۳
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Weakness of the government in the unsatisfactory functioning of the executive organs

I have something to say to the governors now sitting here and, in general, to all other and the governors, the government departments and everybody else- civil or military- that have a hand in the (affairs of the) Islamic Republic. I have seen the era of Ahmad Shah till its last days. And I have also seen all the days of Rida Shah and his son till they ended, in the present (situation). The thing that causes the weakness of the government and alienates the people from it is the way all its departments function. For instance, a government servant who went somewhere, had frist arranged things for himself in the (administrative) center. He had bribed the persons concerned. They, too, in return, had given him the permission to do whatever he liked. So he used to do whatever he desired. No one could dare to tell him a thing. If at all, one said something, it would have no effect. This was not the monopoly of the higher echelons only; the situation was the same at all levels, right to the bottom rung. When some ruling official, the governor for instance, was to be posted somewhere, say to Khorasan, he would rent the place, from the establishment according to the difference between the incomes which that place fetched for the government and the governor's office. It would become his fiefdom. «1» Khorasan, for instance would be some princess's fief for which he had to pay a sum of money to the Shah or the establishment. The arrangement enabled him to do whatever he liked in his fiefdom. He had to recoup the sum he had paid for it, and more to wit. He had to amass a goodly sum for himself and his associates. It was the same with the military, the gendarmerie, and the police officers. If one examines exhaustively the issues of those days and writes about them, it will make a voluminous book. It will reveal the way they used to deal with the people. The situation was the same from the top to the bottom. In the days of Rida Shah, all the thefts were his monopoly. The exclusivity of it was his own. The governors were not so powerful. In the days of Ahmad Shah, it was not so. They couldn't collect the gains for themselves. Therefore, they had agents who went around and collected the profits on their behalf. In the days of Rida Shah, all robberies were shifted from the defiles to Tehran. All the bandits of those days, form everywhere, were grouped in the government organizations themselves. And above all was Rida Shah himself as well as those like him. This resulted in the people's total opposition to the authorities. But they could not dare to say a word. Sometimes they had the courage to do so. I remember that when I was a boy, the governor of Khomein had arrested one of the" khans". After two, three, or four nights; the khans attacked the place, and took him captive, and freed their own man from prison. None of the people said a word. It was not possible to ask why. In fact, they were rather happy; perhaps some of them went to the governor's house and plundered what was left. I witnessed the whole incident in which they dragged the governor from that house. I was then a child. I was standing behind a door and watching their actions. They attacked the place, but the governor was a strong man. He had ten bullets on him. He, too, was shooting at them, and perhaps killed one of them. But later he was captured. This was the condition of the ruler of that place, the details of which are lengthy. During the days of Rida Shah, everybody who remembers knows what events took place. And, similarly, in the time of Muhammad Rida which everybody remembers. This caused the government to be antagonistic towards the nation, the army to oppose the people, and all of them to be against the nation. That is, the police stations, the army, the gendarmerie, and the like would extract whatever they could from the people by force and intimidation. Perhaps you remember me telling you that when Rida Khan once visited the gendarmerie, he had his hand in his pocket. Maybe the newspapers did not mention this. He had his hand in his pocket saying that he was afraid he might be pickpocketed. It is possible that he did this to show them that they should steal even if it be from himself, or it is possible that it was with the intention of making it known to them that the conditions (in the country) were such. Everybody ought to have his hands in his pockets so that even His Majesty does not steal. This is the point.

The state of things during the previous regime should serve as a lesson to the authorities

The government and the nation, and all the government institutions of which you gentlemen are at the helm in any province must take this matter into consideration and study the history of the recent era. I don't mean the history which was compiled for the Shah. That is not history. That is a bundle of lies. You must look into the events and their acts and see why the nation was alienated from them. Why it used to create hurdles. I remember all this. Perhaps most of you also remember the time when the Allies poured into Iran from all sides in the days of Rida Khan. The people were very afraid as to what would happen next. But at the same time, they were happy because they took Rida Khan away. Although the masses were worried as to what these forces would do and what would become of them, one of the blessings of the assault was that Rida Khan departed. It was like a gift from heaven to them. Regrettably, at that time there was nobody among the nation to bring the people together and lead them. So, they installed the son of Rida Khan here. If that time, two or three cities had demonstrated against him, they would have not placed Muhammad Rida in power. But nobody uttered a word as that fear had had gripped the people, and had not left them. For that reason, the people did not have the courage to say anything. There was also nobody to compel them to do so. Had the late Mudarris «2» been present that time, he would have done something. But there was nobody around to do all these things. You are aware of most of these matters that I am relating to you.
This is the way for all of you and those who are in any way involved in the country's affairs and are managing them, to understand that the governing authorities from the top; from the president of the Republic to the district administrator, for instance, must serve the people. If they do not do so, the same things will gradually come to pass as happened in their time. The time now is far worse than that time as the people do not have that fear at all of anybody now. If they want to create fear among the people, it might bear results after one or two generations. Do not think that dictatorship will work in this present generation. No, it won't. If its foundation is laid now; perhaps the results could be achieved after one or two generations. That is these persons will do their job and they will see its result. For this reason, we must behave properly with the people. The governors and all those who have a hand in the affairs of state should not deal with the nation as was the case in those days when some unfortunate person who wanted to see a governor could not do so till the every end. One who had been oppressed and wanted to meet the authorities of a certain place; the governor of a district for instance, did not have the nerve to do so. He could not muster the courage to see him. There was no such thing. These things just couldn't happen. Therefore, the feelings of frustration got pent up in the hearts of the people. Until the time they were released and the people accomplished that task. So we should be mindful of these facts, and now that the administration has fallen into your hands, and the government is yours; you should be particular about being in the service of the people. You must bring home to the people that you are their servants. You should make them understand by words and deeds. In practice it should be such that the people see that the governor, who has come to their place, has come to serve them, and is busy doing so. Well, when the people see that somebody is busy serving them, they will have no quarrel with him. Quarrels will arise only when the people see that the official has come to harass them, to extort money from them by all means possible and to establish his own power. When the people see that one wants to establish his own power, they will go against him. The people now say that the situation is not like before for them to feel frustrated. They are frustrated no more and will not allow anybody to make them so. It will bring them (the officials) nothing but disgrace. Suppose that an intelligent person is inwardly a dictator. Well, it is almost so in the East; to a good extent. It also exists in the West. Such a tendency exists everywhere. Man is like this. Suppose a person has it; if he is sensible, he must keep it concealed for the time being, only to be revealed at the time when it becomes necessary to do so. It is not to be shown everywhere. He must not be hasty in his work. Being hasty results in the destrusction of the person concerned.

The good of the country and the officials lies in fraternization and friendship with the people

Anyway, my request to you gentlemen is to be friendly with the people. It is to your own interests and in the interest of the country and the nation. It is not for you in particular. Everyone is obliged to be so. People must feel that the officials who have come are their friends. Take for instance, the gendarmerie; it should not be like the old times. People were afraid of them. People were afraid to travel not because of the thieves, but because of them. Similarly, the police. People were so afraid of the police that they could not dare complain to them if anybody harassed them. Perhaps you might have not visited a police station in those days or perhaps you had. People, who had some business in the police station, would fret about going there and about what would happen if they entered it. A victim, who wanted to go to represent to the police the oppression and harassment done to him, would worry as to how he could enter the place. It was even worse for them than a prison. It was an extraordinary kind of fear and dread that they (the regime) had created among the people. It was their policy to create dread among the people and intimidate them so that it did not cross their minds to oppose the system. Such a policy, whether it was the off-shoot of their own mischief or the instructions of those at the top, was for this purpose. In any case, you should keep the people satisfied for the sake of our country's freedom and so that the big powers do not exert influence in our country again and do what they want. Every one of you, wherever you happen to be, should keep the people with you. You should create cohesion among the people by your speeches. Go and speak to the people in the meetings that take place. Make them aware of the things that some of the intellectuals wish to set up. If they are making a mistake, well, it is a mistake. But if they are plotting to implement their designs, their plot should be scuttled. The people ought to be united. Sir you know how much trouble the people have taken over the last few years. The people are very good; our people are really good. The Iranian nation, perhaps, has no equal anywhere. We are the bad ones. They are very good. Sometimes the thought occurs to me that if I go to hell- I mean myself- and the person who has done something for me in the thought that I am a proper person, is in heaven, well, what answer shall I give him? It is said that heaven overlooks hell. They can see them (in hell). They will tell me that they shouted" Allahu Akbar" for my sake and demonstrated. But I was such a person as to go hell while they, themselves, entered heaven because of me. They will say that I was damned and went to hell. These are good people; see that you have them with you. Make these good people be with you. All the governors and the people working in the governor's office in the provinces should aim to perform their tasks well and be at the people's disposal. They should explain to them that the Islamic government is one that serves the people. The Noble Prophet was at service of the people. He was the people's servant in spite of his status. He used to serve them. I have repeated that story concerning Malik Ashtar many times. He was Islam's first commander. Once as he was passing by, someone, not recognizing him, abused him. He said something to him. When Malik Ashtar had passed, somebody who was sitting there asked him whether he recognized the one who had passed by. On replying that he did not, the (seated) man told him that it was Malik Ashatr. He ran after Malik who had entered a mosque and was praying. The man apologized to Malik. Malik told him that he had come to the mosque for the sole purpose of praying to God to forgive him (the abuser). Think how this utterance affected that person.

Keeping the people's support for the system

Hold on to the clean, pure hearts of these people. The farmers, workers and others were the ones that made you attain the office of governor. Otherwise, they (the ex-regim) would have never made you governors. Were any of you governors in Rida Shahs' time? They would have not let you enter the offices. These were the people who brought this government into existence and made this president the president of the Republic. They were the ones that changed this country from its previous condition in which a governor, on assuming office, would indulge in a thousand corrupt practices. It should not be so now. We ought to pay close attention to these matters. We must feel God's presence everywhere. He is present in our hearts and in every gathering. We are always in His presence. When we are in His presence, should we trouble His beloved creatures? This is an unpardonable sin. We must hold on the people if we don't want our country to be taken hold of again and everything taken away from us. The suppression that existed for the last fifty years, which some of you remember- particularly the last ten to fifteen years which all of you remember- should not arise again, and neither should the ignominy which everybody, particularly the dignitaries, were subjected to without realizing it. Their hearts had become so darkened that they could not understand. God alone knows that I cannot forget the sight of one, who considered himself to be the country's king, though we, of course, never acknowledged him to be the king- he was a thief who had come here by means of force- but, all the same, one who was regarded as the Shah by the people of other countries, standing before Nixon, or I think it was Johnson; Johnson «3» it was. He was standing there and this one here. He did not look at all at the Shah. It was beneath his dignity. He had removed his spectacles and was looking the other way, and this one (the Shah) was standing in front of him like a schoolboy stands in front of his teacher- the teachers of the past; not the present ones. It made me feel embarrassed that one of high status, whom the world knew as the Shah of Iran, should stand so abjectly in front of a president. Why should it be so? It was as if he was seeking permission from him to rule and to plunder this place. It was the same thing that the kings of old and the grand viziers and I should say; the rulers of those times used to do. They would hand over the country and its administration divided into small parts against payments of money. He, too, wanted to do the same thing to obtain their permission to plunder the country. They gave him the freedom to do anything and they, for their part, did not allow the people to protest. You must ensure that the country dose not return to the same situation. I will not be amidst you for long. But as for the country, it is yours. This is the land of Iran. If the Iranians from the top officials to the people at the lowest level want to preserve their country as it is, and if they want Iran to remain for this nation, they must ensure that the nation be with them with the same zeal that exists at the present time. And, God willing, all this chaos and tumult will soon come to an end. The thought of leaning to either East or West should never enter your minds. Do not let this idea enter the mind of anyone else who is in contact with you or the nation. You have to maintain cohesion among the people. Iranians are a peerless people. Had a war broken out in the days of Muhammad Rida, in Ahwaz, for example, would the women have baked bread for him in Khorasan? They would have prayed for his defeat, God willing. Such is the situation at present. In which part of the country can you find such a thing? Such support of the people for the government and the army cannot be found anywhere. It has no parallel; even in history. The kids, who, for instance, have ten tumans, give it to the army or to the armed forces stationed there. The few eggs belonging to an old woman of eighty are of great worth. We have to treasure these values. In them lies the country's victory. The victory of hearts is above the victory of the country. To conquer such hearts is more important than conquering a country. Safeguard these values. Bear in mind that we are God's creatures whom the people have elevated to this level. Thus, we must serve them.
The president ought to realize that it was these ordinary people that brought him here from Paris and made him president. Accordingly, he should serve the people. The prime minister should also think in the same way. The people freed him from prison and torture, and made him prime minister. He, therefore, ought to serve them. And the same applies to you gentlemen. Each one of you suffered in those days. Each one of you was imprisoned. It was this nation that rescued you. As a matter of fact, this country itself was a prison. The whole country was a jail for everybody, even for those who did not suffer. Therefore the thing that is fundamental in this country, and which politics, religion, justice, and conscience demand, is that you acknowledge the worth of these people that are serving you and the government voluntarily. You should also know that if, God forbid, this bond loosens, or ruptures, the situation will revert to the one that existed previously; if not now, it will do so after some time. This edifice should be kept firm from now itself. You must always try to maintain its firmness. Each one of you is responsible for maintaining it in your own place. In other words, wherever you be, it is your religious and moral duty not to allow those who are working under your or your ministry's supervision to mistreat the people. You must accept the people for your own sake. Mingle with them. Do not keep away from them. In these days, they (the ex-regime) would not take the people into account. They had kept aloof from them. Whenever Muhammad Rida wanted to go somewhere, they had to check every place there and all the houses along the route a few days earlier so that he could pass by that way. This is not being a monarch; it was an abomination that they had named a monarchy.

The people are the key to the solution of problems

You ought to behave in such a manner that the people embrace you like a mother would. The people have such an attitude now. You should ensure that they maintain it. This will help in safeguarding the country. Difficulties arise for the country every day. The people themselves should solve them. Our people are facing this difficulty (the imposed war) at present. Well, the people are extending aid. They themselves hold the key to its solution. The people are extending great support. They are present on the scene. They consider everything to be related to them. They consider the army to be of themselves, as well as everything else. Such an attitude ought to be preserved so that we and our country become secure. God forbid, if we lose this opportunity, the situation will return to what it was before. I am afraid that we will show ingratitude for all the bounties that the Blessed and Exalted God has given us and all the things that He has bestowed upon us, thus depriving ourselves of His favors. In such a case, we ourselves will be the cause of this which will make our condition worse than before.

The need to present the results of the tasks accomplished to the people

It is not that I have not heard of the difficulties that you and the gentlemen mentioned. I receive many reports. The difficulties must be removed gradually, and they will, God willing. The authorities are dealing with them and I, too, will pursue the matter. They will, perhaps, come here within the next two days. I will follow it up. It was for this reason that I wanted them to have no drawbacks, considering that it is now two years that the country has been secured at the cost of so much trouble and all that suffering. They have left behind a country with so many shortcomings. They fled, leaving these (problems) behind. They actually took away the people's and the nation's things. They plundered and left. These people whose lands and, I do not know, what other assets, have been appropriated; owe more than that to this country. They destroyed the country and left. Muhammad Rdia had said that he would destroy the country before leaving it. He was right in what he said. He did destroy it before going. But we were under the impression that by" destroy" he had meant bombing the place, for instance, before departing. No it is far worse than that. Bombardment takes place at one time. But they have destroyed the very base of our economy. As a consequence, the people must work hard to compensate for all the devastation and depredation that has been caused. Now in connection with the tasks that you are performing, I have often told Mr. Bazargan about this since the time he became prime minister. I also cited an example which I shall relate to you now. I asked him if he had ever noticed what a lot of noise a hen makes and what" announcements" it gives on laying an egg. It cackles so because it has laid an egg! But you people work and keep silent about the fact. Do not think that you are silent for the sake of God. No, you ought to speak up for Him, because the devils are saying that nothing has been accomplished in this country. The Islamic Republic came into being and that was all. It is just like what it was before. These unjust ones who lack self- restraint have gone on the rampage in the streets and everywhere. They are doing every kind of mischief. At that time (of the ex-regime) they were not able to breathe a word. But now they say that nothing has been done; that the Islamic Republic is in place but it has not accomplished anything either. But as it has been reported, to me, the fact is that the amount it has accomplished, with all the troubles that have been besetting it over these last two years or a year and a half, is more than what they had done during the entire period of the monarchy. They did not do anything. The Islamic Republic has done more than what a just government could have done more at time. But this fact is never mentioned; you do not inform the people about it.
In any case, this is one of our shortcomings. We- and you as well- must inform the people through the press, radio, and television about whatever work we and you do. Something very brief is shown on television sometimes and the people think that is all. The day before yesterday, Dr. Bahonar «4» was here. He was telling me about the schools that have been built. He said that the number of the schools that are soon to be completed is fifteen thousand. Fifteen thousand schools will have been completely built after a short time.
Ten thousand still remain (to be completed). This is three times the number throughout their (schools') history; in the course of Iran's history. This fifteen thousand is about one-third of all the work accomplished from the beginning until now. Well, this should be made known to the people; it should be mentioned to them. People should know as to how many houses have been built, and how many mosques and public baths. How much land has been developed, and how many roads asphalted. Much is the work that has been done. The people must be informed of all these things that have been done so that they do not think otherwise, so that the mischief-makers do not keep on saying that nothing has been done. Well, all these things have been accomplished. All these things must be done in this country. And every thing will be set right later God willing. Efforts should be made at present. All the gentlemen should strive so that these tasks are carried out.
I hope you and we will prosper God willing. We all should be determined to render service to the people. They are creatures of God. If we want to serve God, we must serve the people. God is in no need of our service. They are the people's families and you, their" nurse". We, in order to protect ourselves, should protect them.
May God assist you and give you success. May you be successful and triumphant in serving your own country. Always bear in mind that the East and West are our enemies, and that whatever it gives us is out of enmity and for the sake of destroying us. We ought to conduct our affairs in such a way as to not seek the assistance of our enemies.
«۱»- The property or water in a land that the government or sovereign would transfer to somebody So that he could live by its income and also give a portion of it to the king or government. «۲»- Sayyid Hasan Mudarris, The combative clergyman who was martyred in the year ۱۳۱۷ AHS on Rida Khan's order. «۳»- Lyndon Johnson, a former president of U.S.A. «۴»- Mr. Muhammad Jawad Bahonar, the prime minister in Martyr Mahammad `Ali Raja'i's cabinet. Mr. Bahonar together with the president was martyred in the explosion that took place in the prime minister's office.

امام خمینی (ره)؛ 15 آذر 1359

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