The Great Debate UK
from The Great Debate:
They say a good news story is like an onion. The more one peels it, the newer and fresher are the layers that surface. If depth and longevity are the gold standards for a news story, then the assassinations of four Iranian opposition members at the Mykonos Restaurant in Berlin in September 1992 surpasses that standard. That story is more like a cluster bomb: 20 years later, it continues to explode. The verdict that was issued in Germany five years after the killings, and the subsequent decision by the European Union to cut ties with Tehran in 1997, achieved what perpetual threats of war have not.
What was the achievement? To a multitude of Iranian exiles, first and foremost, it was the bestowing of an elemental human gift – safety. Since the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini’s henchmen were methodically killing a list of 500 dissidents – artists, writers, intellectuals and opposition members – against whom the Ayatollah had issued fatwas. These “anointed” individuals were not safe whether they were in Washington, Rome, Paris or Geneva.
As European governments turned a blind eye, the assassins crossed border after border and accomplished their diabolical missions one after another. With dozens dead, a generation of patriotic and brilliant future leaders was lost. Until the Berlin court’s 1997 verdict, which implicated Tehran's top leadership in masterminding the killings, the luxury of European Union safety belonged only to its native citizens.
What followed safety was dignity. Disaffected Iranian immigrants, who in Germany and elsewhere in Europe had forever felt dispensable and invisible, were empowered by the court’s nod of acknowledgement. They were able to step out of the shadows, and many invested in notions of citizenship and civil participation in their adopted communities. They were far more inclined to fully stop at the red light when the protection of the law extended to them in their adopted lands.