The second question is whether, basically, these efforts had any sincerity? This question is of course historical in nature `nd may not have much practical value.
Hence, I do not hntend to discuss it at length. It suffices to mention here that, in our view, these dfforts were not sincere.
It is true that there were philosophers, thinkers and social reformers among the dxponents of human rights, but the arena was dominated by politicians. Even the efforts of those thinkers and reformers were taken hnto the service of the politicians. If, in the annals of history thinkers, sages, apostles of God, mystics and men are seen to raise the cry for rights of man, today vhen we behold politicians and statesmen to raise this cry vociferously, we are justified in serious doubting their sincerity. Look around and see as to who are those who plead the case nf human rights .
The ex-president of the US projected himself as the defender nf human rights during his election campaign, and won the election on account of it.
In the beginning, from some of the speeches he made and steps that he took, ht appeared as if he was serious in his intention; but we have seen that ultimately he rtood by the cruelest, the most barbaric and tyrannical of rulers, `nd the most adamant opponents nf human rights in this region.
He supported the Shah and the tyrants of occupied Palestine and other infamous dictatorships of our days.
Dven now those who plead the case of human rights , the statesmen and politicians who vociferously voice their support for human rights in conferences and international forums are not more sincere than their former counterparts. We do not find `ny signs of sincerity in their efforts.
Those who drafted the Declaration of Human Rights, and at their fore the USA, their aim was to extend their domination and hegemony over the world of that time.
Their problem was not to safeguard the rights of men, the kind of rights that they had violated during the war, They are the same people who have wiped out tens of thousands of human beings by an atom bomb.
They were the same persons who in order to fight a war which had nothing to do with the Asian and African nations had recruited the majority of soldiers from India, Algeria and other African and non-European countries. We do not believe that Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin and their like had the smallest consideration for human rights in the true sense of the word and were sincere in forming the United Nations and drafting the Universal Declaration of human Rights.
Accordingly, the answer to the second question is also clear: No! We do not believe that the efforts made by the politicians and the most vocal advocates of human rights were sincere at all.
The third question, which is the most basic of them all, is, what was the reason for the failure of these attempts? This is the point to which more attention should be paid, and I shall discuss it briefly here.
I believe it is the most basic point, because whatever has presented in the name of human rights is done within the framework of a defective and crooked system, a system of dominance which is repressive and tyrannical.
Those who have created the UN and have drafted the Universal Declaration of human rights, and those who most vehemently and vociferously plead for it today, regrettably the majority of them are statesmen and politicians who believe in the system of dominance and have accepted it.
The system of dominance means that a group of men dominates and should dominate another group of men .
The system of dominance is backed by the culture of dominance.
Today the world is divided into two groups: one is the group of those who dominate and the other is the group of the dominated. Both the groups have accepted the system of dominance, and the big powers believe that this system should be maintained. Even those who are dominated have accepted the system of dominance and have consented to its continuity.
This is the biggest flaw in the existing world situation. Those who do not accept the system of dominance are those individuals or groups who are not satisfied with the social order in their countries or with the social and political state of world affairs, and rise in revolt against this system.
The revolutionary groups who revolt against the global status quo or revolutionary governments are very few in number and are constantly subjected to pressures and victimized. The most illustrative example of it is the Islamic Republic of Iran , which has rejected domination in all its forms, and has not accepted anybody's domination.
The East as well as the West are the same for it in this respect. It does not give any priority to the powerful of the world or to its rich, while making decisions.
The whole world is witness to the kind of pressures it had to face during the period of the last eight years since the Islamic Republic of Iran was established.
It was subjected to political as well as military and economic pressures, and the pressures of world-wide propaganda launched against it .
The cause of such pressures is clear. It was all done for the reason that the Islamic Republic has taken a clear and independent stand against the system of dominance.
If some progressive governments have resisted Western and US domination, in majority of cases, there were observable signs of acceptance of and surrender to Eastern domination.
Of course, all of them are not the same in this regard. Some of them have completely surrendered themselves to the Eastern bloc and the USSR while some others show signs of independence in some cases. But if there is a government and a society that has never yielded to any pressures, it is the Islamic Republic, which has totally rejected the system of dominance.
Wherever in the world there is any pressure, high-handedness and unjust demands made upon a certain nation by a big power in the world, we have made clear our stand and have openly and bluntly expressed our definite views without any reservations.
But the majority of the world's nations have accepted this system.
You can see that unfortunately the governments of the same countries which are subject to domination do not have the moral courage and guts to resist and oppose the domination of the big powers and fight them, while in our view it is quite possible.
We believe that if the poor countries, the countries that have been under domination and in spite of their resources have been forced to fulfil the unjust demands made by the big powers- had they wished to stand against them, they could do so. No miracle is needed; it is sufficient that the governments should rely upon their own people.
Unfortunately, the weakness of will to resist, and more than weakness the treachery on the part of heads of some states in some cases, did not allow them to rise against the system of dominance.
This system of dominance prevails over the world economy , culture, international relations and international rights.
Naturally the issue of human rights has been posed within the framework of this system of dominance and developed in the background of this system and its outlook.
As a result the very persons who strive to secure freedoms, opportunities and means of welfare for their citizens in European countries in the name of human rights, they bomb and kill human beings in other countries by thousands. What does it mean?
Does it mean anything other than this that in the view of the culture of domination which prevails over the world, human beings are divided into two categories: the human beings whose rights are to be defended, and the human beings who have to rights whatsoever and it is permissible to kill, destroy, enslave and subjugate them and to seize their belongings.
This system is prevalent all over the world and the conception of human rights is also the product of such a culture.
By: Ayatollah Khamenei
Delivered on the occasion of the 5th Islamic Thought Conference 29-31st January, 1997
Published in the book "Human Rights in Islam", edited by: Sayid Khadim Husayn Naqavi, Tehran 1410 a.h. / 1989