As an Iranian, I was quite disappointed to see Hon. Mr Khalid Sayed, ANC Member of the Provincial Legislature of the Western Cape's recent article about General Qassem Soleimani.
Soleimani was neither a hero nor an innocent victim.
And he certainly was not a person "who fought for the freedom of all who live in the (Middle East) region".
He was a terrorist who had the blood of tens of thousands of innocent people on his hands.
During the Iran-Iraq war as a commander of the IRGU he sent thousands of Iranian children, some as young as 9 and 10 years old, to their death.
He and his colleague at IRGU sent their paramilitary units called Basij to Iranian universities to suppress a peaceful students protest, beating, arresting, torturing and killing several students who were simply protesting the closure of a reformist newspaper.
His Quds force's murderous assassins killed hundreds, from innocent Jews in Argentina to Iranian opposition members and activists around the globe.
From Iraq and Syria to Yemen he fanned the flames of hatred and sectarian violence causing hundreds of thousands of innocent people to die, millions to become refugees and cities that stood for centuries leveled to the ground.
For me and millions of people around the globe, the ANC and its late leader Nelson Mandela, symbolized, first and foremost a just struggle against discrimination and for human dignity.
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Nelson Mandela and the ANC stood for peace vs war, justice vs injustice, love vs hatred and forgiving vs revenge. These were the lasting legacies of Nelson Mandela and should forever remain the soul of ANC.
Mourning a murderous terrorist such as Soleimani and standing by a regime, such as the Islamic Republic that has established a religious apartheid in Iran that systematically and actively discriminates against religious minorities treating them as second class citizens and stands in opposition to the noble values of the ANC and Mandela's legacies is not only disappointing to millions of ANC fans but it a betrayal of the soul of ANC.
- Shayan Arya is an Iran expert and Human Rights activist and a member of the Constitutionalist Party of Iran