Imagine terrorist extremists attacking European citizens, cutting their throats with knife, breaking their hands, removing their eyes with fingers, and tearing their mouth open. Even imagining such scenes seems horrific but there are some people out there who have been trained to do so. A large group of these trained terrorists are members of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (the MKO/ MEK/ PMOI/the Cult of Rajavi). Coincidently, they live in Europe now.
The recent report published by Der Spiegel revealed the above-mentioned horrific facts about the evil of the MKO. The history of the MKO has proved that committing such violent acts is not far from the background of the group. There are numerous reports and testimonies on the MKO’s armed and unarmed violence. Today, there are hundreds of people in the MKO camp in Albania who have been trained to commit these evil deeds whenever they deem them necessary. One may wonder what makes such brutal trainings as ordinary routine choirs of a community.
The German born prominent philosopher Hannah Arendt is best known for her works on the problem of “evil”. Can one do evil without being evil? This was the puzzling question that she grappled with when she reported for The New Yorker in 1961 on the war crimes trial of Adolph Eichmann, the Nazi operative responsible for organizing the transportation of millions of Jews and others to various concentration camps.
Arendt was remarkably sensitive about some of the deepest problems, confusions and dangerous tendencies in modern political life, many of them still with us today. The suffocating atmosphere of the MKO camps –where members have to pressure their peers abusing them verbally and physically in their everyday life and are always prepared to attack outsiders —is a significant example of complex and dangerous tendencies within a community in the modern world.
Arendt believes that all aspects of the life under the totalitarian ruling systems are controlled by the totalitarian leaders. The evil of the dictatorship leads the followers to an abyss in which they practically lose their mental power. According to her, conscience of the citizens in a dictatorship is paralyzed; they lose their individuality.
This process has been the exact mechanism that has been used in the MKO.
The most recent defector of the MKO in Albania, Hadi Sani Khani admits that once he was an MKO member, he was like a robot, not able to choose for a moment of his private life. “We were brainwashed in daily meetings, our minds had to be drained of any personal thoughts during daily and weekly brainwashing sessions,” he says.
Actually, totalitarianism has sickened members in a dangerous way that they submit to the decisions that the dictator (in this case Massoud Rajavi) makes for them. Members believe in what the top of the hierarchy says. They think that Massoud and Maryam Rajavi are protectors of their rights and interests. “Massoud Rajavi was idolized like a prophet, a god for us,” Sani Khani says.
Hanna Arendt thinks that the evil-seized members are in return the factors to consolidate the absolute power of the dictator. “In politics obedience and support are the same”, she suggests. To break this awkward equation, she suggests a deep inner conversation that awakes the individuality of the citizen.
Those who defect the MKO definitely had experienced the unique moment that they gained the ability to have this inner conversation. This special moment is usually declared in the firsthand accounts of former members’ testimonies. For instance, former member of the group Bahman Azami, speaks of the moment he saw some children playing in the park over the walls of the MKO’s camp in Tirana, Albania. The kids took his mind to the life outside the group. He was eventually punished by his female commandant for he had broken the regulations of the cult that forbids thinking about normal life. However, the inner conversation had started for Bahman. He started doubting the group’s cause questioning himself for all the years of his life he had lost in the group and he finally left the group.
Although Massoud and Maryam Rajavi have been making efforts to remove the past and future of their followers’ lives in order to conquer their minds, we should always be hopeful for the advent of that particular moment that revives past memoirs and experiences in their minds and hearts that will inspire their willingness for a normal future.