Political ideologies can easily influence people’s daily lives. In the contemporary history of Iran, the topic of politics has been constantly remained trending both in the news and in daily conversations of people and eventually their lives. With parents as their kid’s role models, they hold the biggest impact in their children’s lives. Children show a tendency of picking up behaviors, words and phrases that they hear from people around them. Since kids are easily influenced by their parents, they are likely to repeat what their parents say and believe. As an extremist violent movement, the Mujahedin_e Khalq has worked in such a way that its children have been more involved in their parents’ political activities than any other political movement.
No opportunity for MEK children to learn
Experts believe that children should not be restricted from learning and exploring different political beliefs on their own. However, children of Mujahed parents grew up in the MEK’s headquarters in Camp Ashraf, Iraq where they were not exposed to any political and ideological belief except that of Rajavi’s Cult. Living in dormitories under the command of Mujahed teachers (or trainers) who ordered them to bow to the photos of Massoud and Maryam Rajavi chanting songs to glorify them.
People typically should spend a lot of time researching and educating themselves on political principles before they decide which party and beliefs they want to be identified with. When it comes to young children, they aren’t old enough to understand the importance of this process. In the MEK, this process was simply omitted. The children were just thrown in the ideological trap made by Massoud Rajavi.
Some of these children were never allowed to think twice about the beliefs their parents hold and the MEK commanders want them to hold. On the other hand, there have been some MEK-born children who managed to find an opportunity to explore different political ideologies. The children of Massoud and Maryam Rajavi the leaders of the group symbolize these two groups.
Ashraf Abrishamchi and Mohammad Rajavi, two opposite fates
Mohammad Rajavi the son of Massoud Rajavi could find his way to the world outside his father’s cult of personality but Ashraf Abrishamchi, the daughter of Maryam Rajavi is still in the MEK’s system in her early forties. As a gift to her devotion to the group, she has been elevated in the group’s cult-like hierarchy. She has recently been entitled as the deputy assistant of the MEK secretary general.
Social media is likely one of the first ways children are exposed to the world of politics. While there certainly is biased media, children are able to learn and understand more about political issues through various platforms. That’s why Mohammad Rajavi started speaking out against the MEK a few years after he left the group.
Nevertheless, Ashraf Abrishamchi seemingly has never been allowed to access the outside world. She is the daughter of a father (Mehdi Abrishamchi) who handed his wife (Maryam Qajar) to Massoud Rajavi in order to marry him as the ideological husband! The parents of Ashraf were themselves so manipulated by Massoud Rajavi that they could never teach their daughter different political opinions and give her the opportunity to form her own opinions, rather than forcing their political beliefs onto her.
Like her parents, Ashraf was manipulated by the cult of Rajavi too. Like many other child victims of the MEK, she became a child soldier of the MEK’s army. She was coerced to wear military uniform when she was a teenager; she was trained to use arms and military vehicles and she was taught bombing and grenade launching techniques.
Mohammad and many former child soldiers of the MEK finally got determined to leave the MEK and to choose for their future. They began to state their political views years after they left the group. Politics is such a wide subject and can be difficult to understand, which is why children deserve to be taught about politics in an unbiased manner. Today there are a lot of former child soldiers of the MEK who live across the world holding different political views although they began to think and choose for their political views in their late thirties or forties but it is never too late.
The right to choose for you own, unprecedented in the MEK
Indeed, children of the MEK were allowed to choose for their place of residence, their clothing, their hair model, their field of education, their job etc., only after they left the MEK. Adolescents deserve the opportunity to follow what they personally believe in but former child soldiers of the MEK paid a huge price to gain such a freedom to choose for their own.
Normally, Children should not be expected to inherit their parents’ political expectations, nor should they be disregarded for having their own ideas. Parents should be loving and accepting despite whatever beliefs their children take on, even if it doesn’t align with their own but most of the MEK’s child soldiers were labeled as traitors by their own parents just because they said no to the Massoud Rajavi.
To sum up, politics is a growing topic in the world around us. People of every age deserve the opportunity to formulate their own beliefs, and hold back their own opinions without being forced to follow specific ideologies. However, in the Cult of Rajavi, not only children, but also their parents are not permitted to question the group’s attitudes. Criticizing the group’s ideology just launches you to the opposite side, the enemy. As soon as you start questioning, you are regarded in the side of the Iranian government even though you have been living your whole life inside the group’s camps.