Saturday, June 25, 2005

Today Iranians Woke Up to a New President…

Our friends are crying and depressed and sick. "Last night they started arresting boys and girls out walking together," a friend told me. "People are saying no more colorful scarves; no more parties…" This may seem to be the least important aspect of the whole election, but it's not. Live without a normal social life and see what happens to you…

Iranian tv is saying that Iranians have shamed America and Western news is saying that Iranians have taken a hard turn to the right. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that neither are correct.

This election was not about America.

This election was not about Islam.

The election may have been about the revolution.

This past week AN presented these simple messages:

Rich against poor and honesty against corruption.

People voted for AN. Raf voters voted against AN.

The middle class voted, but many of them voted for AN. The rich went on vacation.

The poor voted for AN. And there are a lot more poor people than rich people in Iran.

AN knew something about Iranians: they are sick to death of corruption, and they think every rich person is corrupt. They hate mullahs, but they still love Islam. And one more thing: the majority of his opponents are apathetic.

"I don't think it mattered who we voted for ever," a voting friend tells me. "This is the result they wanted from the beginning. They got it in the parliament and now they got it in our new president."

Her eyes are red from crying.


Anonymous said...

Today Iranians woke up to a religious dinosaur !

When you're a poor, uneducated, and religious zealot,then you deserve a criminal like AN !

ET said...

Read your sentence again: do rich, educated religious zealots deserve something else? What about semi-socialist, communist lefties? What about wealthy, apathetic secularists? What about educated elitists? What about middle-class strivers?

Assigned Reader said...

I found your assessment of the present situation valid and accurate.

Siroos said...

I don't think any planned crackdown on social freedoms will occur. Maybe AN's supporters in the militia try to use their momentum and clampdown on social freedoms, but it won't be condoned by the higher powers and will be limited to a show of power. Remember, Khatami never controlled the armed forces. The regime collectively decided to ease social restrictions and that's not likely to change. However, no more interesting books and plays, and higher state subsidies on even more religious propaganda. The turnout was low, so there is hope that things can reverse in the next local council election two years from now. Don't panic.

ET said...

Siroos, Thank you. I am not panicking. I agree with your assessment. I *do* think there will be an initial crackdown that will be the result of over-enthusiastic Islamists, not official policy.

I think that Iran has an energy of its own. That said, it is possible that there will be a lot of stupid foreign policy tricks that could endanger Iranians. Sad that most Iranians want better relations with the West, but voted for the candidate least likely to pursue their desires.

Anonymous said...

This was very interesting to me - it may interest you too. Amir Taheri of Arab News compares the Chameleon (Rafsanjani) and the Mongoose (Ahmadinezhad).

Quote: "It would be foolish to claim that Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mahmoud Ahmadinezhad, the two candidates in the second round, are interchangeable. This would be like saying that Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping were the same because both belonged to the Chinese Communist Party."

My heartfelt wish go out to the Iranian people that it will all turn out better than expected.


ET said...

Thank you for the link, Kei-T. I think that his prediction of a victory for Rafsanjani really underestimated the number of poor people in the country who were seduced by AN's message.

Poor people were not alone. AN did a brilliant job of marketing his honesty and simplicity this past week.

It was a compelling message in a country sick of corruption.

Anonymous said...

Many unassuming Iranians are gleeful that AN has won the second. They keep saying that "things all will turn to one side now" --without any further explanation.

I don't have access to them, but if I had, I would like to hold them on their shoulders, shake them, and ask "can you just articulate what things all turn to one side means".

What do they expect to happen now? Country goes on the slippery slope of a civil war? Or an uprising?

What do think? Don't they think that they are going down either way too?


Anonymous said...

"Many unassuming Iranians are gleeful that AN has won the second."

should be changed to

"Many unassuming Iranians are gleeful that AN has won the second round."

ET said...

The thing about Iran that seems difficult for even Iranians themselves to understand is that there is such incredible diversity in Iran. You can be fooled into thinking that after you have met a few Iranians, you have a good sampling of the population. All you have to do is listen to the incredible diversity of the music that is produced in Iran to understand that there are a lot of different types of people here. Iranians talk to themselves. They hear their own opinions mirrored by the people they know. If those opinions are not mirrored, they argue.

We only talk to Iranians who watch satelite and use the internet. I know more about Iranian tv than most intellectual and wealthy Iranians.

Shake them if you find those folks. One thing is for sure... there is no joy in mudvill.

That's the way it is...

Anonymous said...

Actually I picke up on Iranians diversity long time ago, ironically outside of Iran. I have a few local friends from differnt backgrounds (e.g. Irish, English, Dutch, etc). There used to be an American too. Their drink orders is just beer when we all go out. I went out with a few Iranian folks all born and raised in the capital one time. Their drink orders flared from things like ice tea, and coffee, to vodka on ice. That got me thinking.

But that wasn't my question. There are many people who think that the existing freedoms are not enough, but they welcome Ahmadinejad's coming to power based on ambigious arguments like (we have all the power concentrated in one hand now). They think it is good! I don't understand that. I have a hunch that they are hoping for a popular uprising. But that's a hunch.

I am curious to know what they think.


ET said...

I understood your point, I just did not make my point clear enough. I agree with you that the gleeful people believe there will be an uprising.

There will not.

Those people are only talking to each other. Iranians are so frigging peaceful. They do not want an uprising.

Diana said...

Juan Cole ( compares the win to how George Bush has bamboozled people in the US.

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