Days after the US airstrike that targeted Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, an online video of children at a primary school mourning his death went viral, showing sad-faced school students lighting candles, with posters of Soleimani on the wall and Quran recital in the background.
Today I received many photos & videos from schools in Iran where classes were canceled & children forced to mourn & cry for #QasemSoleimani & hit their chest & head. Another act of Islamic Republic’s propaganda that has been brainwashing children, old & youth in the past 40 years pic.twitter.com/sB1UbXePE4— Masih Alinejad ?️ (@AlinejadMasih) January 5, 2020
The video prompted criticism against the Iranian regime, with some describing the act of forcing school kids to mourn the death of the top military general a form of propaganda that aims to brainwash young generations.
Reminds me of unpleasant school time memories.But if I were still a school kid,forced to mourn the death of an Iranian killed by the US plus told that, "btw the US president has threatened to attack your country", I would certainly not mind the forced mourning— Chista (@chistakeramati) January 5, 2020
Activists have also highlighted that families of victims who were killed during the crackdown on protesters in November and December of 2019 have not been allowed to mourn the death of their own family members.
According to Reuters, three Iranian interior ministry officials have confirmed that about 1,500 protesters have been killed during the crackdown.
Why aren’t these children mourning the loss of life of the protesters?? The protesters lives mattered too... if not more!!! I know the children are innocent and only doing what they’re told. It’s just sickening that they won’t let these children think and decide for themselves.— DarDar❌ ??? (@darbabes) January 5, 2020
Imagine many of these children lost loved ones just 40 days ago by the same terrorist they are forced to mourn for. Just sick #TnxPOTUS4solmani— Alberta ?? (@Alberta37458285) January 5, 2020
The oppressive nature of the Islamic Republic becomes glaringly evident as people who want to mourn Soleimani’s killing can openly do so in front of cameras for the world to see, while families of hundreds of innocent Iranians slaughtered by the regime were forbidden to do so.— Nazanin Boniadi (@NazaninBoniadi) January 4, 2020
Images are already coming out with people in mosques mourning the "martyrdom" of Solaimani. Where were these people only a couple of weeks ago when the regime was mowing down over 1,000 protestors in the streets in Iran? pic.twitter.com/QxYNkXdnaP— Firouz M. Naderi (@Firouz_Naderi) January 3, 2020
Qasem Soleimani was one of the highest-ranking military leaders in Iran, head of the Quds Force that is responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations.
The US has blamed Soleimani for his alleged role in the protests that erupted near the US Embassy in Baghdad last week. He has also been accused of playing a major role in supporting Iranian-backed militias in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.
He was killed during a US drone airstrike near Baghdad's airport on Friday morning along with other Iraqi militant leaders, in a move that could trigger a dangerous escalation in the Middle East.
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