No, the headline of this post does not mis-calculate the days of the year 1979. In my eyes, the hostage crisis in Tehran started on March 31st 1979, and not in November of the same year. Sure, Wikipedia and history textbooks will consider the occupation of the US embassy as THE Tehran hostage crisis, and this event indeed took place at the end of the year. This “performance” of angry students, however, only temporarily caused a freeze in the US-Iranian relationship and did not caused any direct victims.
In my eyes, the real hostage crisis happend already 7 month earlier, at the 31st of March. This was the day when the islamist regime took over power, after the Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi and his entire family fled the country. The majority of the Iranian people, however had no chance of turning away from their home country, and these people are the real hostages since 33 years. Although there might have been a real majority being in unease with the authoritarian monarchist power of the Shah, the real tragedy for them started when the so-called Iranian Revolution established a cruel, in-human regime that refuses people their basic rights of freely expressing their opinion, chossing their life-style, clothing or religion. Hundred thousands of Iranian people were branded as enemy of Islam by the regime and cowardly killed by police and basidj thugs.
The tragedy of many political activists of Iran, who in the 70s for honest reasons were engaged in the fight against the political unfreedom under the Shah, but suddenly found themself in a system of uncomparable opression and hypocracy is exemplified by the story of Maryam Farman Farmaian, nicknamed the Red Princess. When Princess Maryam was 10 years old she continued to learn at the first Tehran school for girls, where her sense for social rights and equal opportunities and human progress developed. She received a liberal education for the Persian women of her time, and attended university later in life while living in exile. She was a linguist, fluent in Persian, Arabic, French, Russian, German, and English. An independent thinker, she appreciated communist theory.
She chose to become a member of the Tudeh party, because this political organisation was the only party willing to accept her as a woman and give her a chance to become active in the women’s rights movement. Maryams enthusiams for political changes and a new society with equal rights for everybody was so strong that she decided to abandon her aristocratic name and adopted the surname Firouz in her political struggles; her grandfather’s name. She became known as Maryam Firouz in the political arena. She retained her legal name as Maryam Farman Farmaian with pride.
Read the full story here Princess Maryam