Annual Conference for Democratic Change in Iran – June 2013 (Villepinte, Paris)
Frances Townsend: Thank you very much. Many of my American colleagues in particular have spoken eloquently about the many injustices, the lack of protection at Liberty and Ashraf, Kobler and Maliki’s deception and duplicity, and the tragic and unnecessary loss of life.
I share their outrage at these events but I thought I would take a moment to speak to another point. I am going to speak to the women at Ashraf and Liberty and to their sisters here today. My sisters, you are the heart and soul of the resistance. More than any other freedom movement around the world, women are the memory and the inspiration of this movement. Like Mrs. Rajavi, they lead and they direct it.
They are among you, they are around you, and they take care of their husbands and children and brothers at places like Liberty. Women in Iran in Ashraf and Liberty fight for the same rights as other women around the world: health and education for their children, safety and security for their families and communities. You fight each day for justice and equality and we fight with you.
The wall of martyrs is a somber reminder. Every year we need a bigger wall. When we meet again there will be sadly someone watching in Liberty or Ashraf today whose picture will need to be added to that wall of martyrs. But those lost to us will never lose their voice because we hear their cries and we become their voice to the world.
Today there is another great Persian poet like Ferdowsi writing another 50,000 verses of Iranian history, another Shahnameh. And the courage and the commitment of the people here today and those in Liberty and Ashraf, those of the MEK, and that of Mrs. Rajavi will be captured in that next 50,000 verses. The voices of those who have been lost in this struggle will never be lost to history. And closing tonight with the words of Ferdowsi, whoever has sense, path and faith after the death of the martyrs will send praise to them. God bless you and God bless those we’ve lost.
Frances Townsend is a former Homeland Security advisor to President George W. Bush.