Friday, March 14, 2008

To Vote or Not to Vote?

Election pamphlets meet their fate :)

Let's be real, it's no Hillary vs. Obama - but the level of international press coverage the Iranian parliamentary elections has received is interesting, at the least. Even though the contest has largely been branded as an intra-conservative battle between proponents of Ahmadinejad's policies and the insurgent anti-Ahmadinejad conservatives, Iranians decided to do exactly what expat Iranians yelped and howled at them to not do; vote.

“I am voting because I did not vote in the two previous elections,” said Mohammad Hossein Fozi, 27. “As a result, people I don’t like were elected, and their policies have affected my life.”

People across the country shared Mohammad's sentiment; not in an effort to condone the Islamic Republic, but in an effort to show that they love the place the live, but are discontent with the people in charge. With an expected turnout of over half the voting population, one can draw two conclusions, I believe. One, that the Islamic Republic, after nearly thirty years, is progressively acclimating its population - of which 70% has lived under no other government - to its form of governance. Or two, that no such acclimation is occurring, and instead, people have determined that no benefit comes from voter inaction. Or maybe it's a combination of both.

What is abruptly apparent though, is that people like Mohammad (who is part of the demographic that represents 70% of Iran's population) believe their vote counts; why shouldn't we?


saggezard said...

Aghaye Barmakid, Khosh Amadeed beh entesharate blogy. Congratulations on your first post. I look forward to reading all your views and ideas.

Azarmehr said...

sAli keh nekoost az bahArash peydAst. Persian proverb translating to You tell what a year is ahead from its spring.

Looks like this blog will be a platform for Islamic Republic apologists and promoters by a kid who thinks the Tudeh Party was so progressive!

Here in your first post, one anecdote of one Mohammad becomes a fact for you that people voted!
Thats a very good demonstration of why I think universities are doing such a bad job and churning out such utter stupidity. The turn out was a disaster. The vast majority of the people totally ignored the elections and were more interested in their Iranian new year shopping.
In Tehran the turnout by witnesses is reported to be around 20%.

Just read this from an independent journalist in Tabriz:

on how unenthusiastic the people were to vote.

If you think Iranians voted in this silly farce, you must think very low of your people's common sense! vote for what?

barmakid said...


Thank you. As do I look forward to reading your views and ideas on your blog.


First you criticize me on using one quote from Mohammad, then you want to justify your numbers from eyewitness accounts. Ha!

I implore you to do some research and you will see that voter turnout was quite substantial.

It's time you proceed to exit that 1979 paradigm you live in. The year is 2008, the Shah is gone, so is the Tudeh, and it seems like your intellect has followed the same fate:)


Naj said...

Hi Barmakid,

you had visited neoresistance a few days ago. Glad to meet you.

This vote in Iran ... I have been very ambivalent about. Half of my family has voted, the other half not. Those who voted are in the areas where the reformist candidates were re-processed and allowed on the ballot. The other half who didn't, are those who hate the guts of IRI and distrust it entirely.

The first half who voted are involved in the society, thos who didn't are bitter about a past gone 30 years already.

This, however, was not a fair vote. The conservatives victory is by no means a reflection of their popularity, rather their schemes and manipulation of electoral law. It is naive to think there has ever been a fair election in Iran. Elections that have turned point have been indisputable BECAUSE of the massive number of people who have cast their ballot.

I am watching with interest and nervousness ... I feel Iran's democracy is taking a tragic turn for worse; and I can ONLY blame teh westerners for handing over Iran's infantile democracy, YET AGAIN, to autocrats!

barmakid said...


I agree. But, can I ask you what you mean or what you're referring to when you say, "and I can ONLY blame the westerners for handing over Iran's infantile democracy, YET AGAIN, to autocrats."

saggezard said...

Really the turnout was a serious slap in the face of the Ayatolahs. People are laughing at them, but the regime has no shame.

Azarmehr said...

And let me tell you something else, the EU and the US are well aware of what a nonsense this "election" was. What they were all monitoring was how aware the Iranian people are and whether they are capable of bringing about change in Iran themselves.

SERENDIP said...

It would take another 4 years of Ahmadinejad for people to once and for all realize that their votes don't count.

In the absence of a way to do anything concrete to voice their abject misery and discontent, the mere act of voting, provides relief for pent up anger and frustration against the government. Those young people who voted are probably the ones who realized that their little social freedom was taken away by the hardliners because they did not vote and had no idea what the hardliners had in store for them. Just listen to Ahamdinejad's lies before he was elected as president.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Naj said...

Hi Barmakid, happy new year!

What do I mean by that is this:

If you have noticed, the past thirty years have seen a strong correlation between neoconservatism in the us, and superconservatism in Iran! Chickenhawks (a term borrowed from jolly roger of in the white house have been playing a dubious game with Iran's right-wingers. Simply put, by mutual rhetoric against each other, they have emboldened each other's grip on power.

This happened at the onset of the Iranian revolution. If you read closely into the circumstances of the hostage crisis (i have an interview of Amir-Entezam in my blog), you will realize how it was orchestrated by the Reagan camp to boot out Carter. It was also over the hostage crisis that Iran's nationalist prime minister, Bazargan resigned.

Then came the Khatami Era, coinciding with Clinton. In spite of numerous attempts by Khatami to open a dialog with the US, the Israel lobby, the fifth column of the neoconservatives, blocked the attempts, weakening reformists in Iran, and then starting a rhetorical campaign against Iran that empowered the right in Iran, alienated reform supporters, and boosted Ahmadinejad's populist propaganda (as i can't call his mess an agenda) into power.

Anyways, sanctions, finger pointing, bullying, threatening practised by Americans (dem and rep alike) has just led to further militarization of Iran. Any voice of dissent, even about price of bread, is called a "threat to national security" and oppressed!


barmakid said...

Hello naj,

I see what you're saying. It just didn't come of so clearly when you said it. I think what you're saying has a lot of merit to it and I generally agree. But I will have to read the Entazami interview on your blog (and I will), because the idea that the Reagan campaign even had the capacity to pull of such an orchestration sounds absurd to me (but ya never know!)

It sort of sounds like the chimera older Iranians propagate, you know, like the idea that Carter ousted the Shah and installed Khomeini - ridiculous.

but thanks for your thoughts about mutual empowerment via bellicose rhetoric - it's an astute observation.



Anonymous said...

“Educated” people that have a small thought processing (lack of sensory motor development) ability always use their small thoughts and try to impose their thoughts onto others. Hey their Barmakid, Please know that the statement above is not directed to you in anyway, but towards some of your commenters. The commenter (specifically Azarmehr) that seems to be so blind and part of the sheep herd has a tendency to do just what I explained above.

Look I’m not here to judge anyone…you see, there is a saying “don’t judge me for I don’t even judge myself.” I too try to live my life with that method in mind. The two of you have strongly been active throughout the blogosthere regarding IRAN, POLOTICS, RELIGION, and so much more sensitive areas. One thing that I have picked up on is that both of you claim to want to make some change in the future of your country, which is very noble and countrymen of you. I have been holding my thoughts for some time; however I think it’s time to allow the readers to see the true kind of leader.

The problem resides here;

Azamehr (for the ones who don’t know the definition) it means “the fire of the sun”
Azar= fire / Mehr=sun…a very audacious, noble leader. However how do you expect to lead a country that has more than 2000 years of history with the spread of irrational apprehension?

My good friend, a good leader is a kind of leader that forces nothing (no thought, no word, no life style), NOTHING on to the people. You stated on your blog; “My main objective in life is to help establish a secular democracy in Iran. I believe the best way forward for Iran to be based on four pillars of Democracy, Secularism, Nationalism and Meritocracy. Most countries that have adopted these principles have been prosperous, why shouldn't our people be one of them?” The same counties that are fully supported by UK/US…UK being the most stained country known to man kind.

Thus far nothing you’ve said in any of your blogs has made me want to fallow you. If that is your main objective my friend then man is our futuristic country (IRAN), in grave danger. This is the exact reason why our nation can’t be a secular nation. It is true when they say “history repeats itself”…it does indeed, only packaged differently.
Your type of idealism is the soul reason why we have experienced governmental changes over and over again. Some kid that believes his belief system is superior to others (“for the greater good”) and that the entire nation should obey by that system strolls in with big might words, and captures the attention of the weak and desperate. 25 years later, the weak and desperate become weaker and even more desperate and wonders why “oh why my nation is so damned.” How long has it been since you walked the streets of IRAN dear Azamher. How long has it been since you spoke to an old man that is ashamed. Ashamed for being part of a revolution that turned out to be the worst mistake he has ever committed. Ashamed of the irrigational apprehension in which he bestowed upon himself and the rest of the nation. It’s always easier to blame other for the bad things in which WE bring to our own foot steps.

Yes you do undeniably know your political world, and yes you are a smart man indeed, however not a true born leader. And that exactly what our nation needs, A leader.

I like to ask you this one question…

What will you do with the streets of Iran? (Regarding name changing)

For everyone else, sorry for the cluster thoughts, my novel, for now, has come to an end

Azarmehr said...

I don't often waste time with cowards who can't even reveal their identity on a blog and want to remain Anonymous, claim to be educated and yet spell Politics as polotics and comment on such matters at such length, however I think this one will just be brief and amusing.

Mehr has many meanings in Persian, the Sun is just one, covenant and love are also other meanings of Mehr. Azarmehr therefore can have many interpretations.

If I wanted to be a political leader, I would give up my day job and not pursuit my career, which I love so much.

I have been asked many ridiculous questions in my life but this one has to go in the trophy cabinet:

'What will you do with the streets of Iran?'

Hmm! Didn't realise I was running to be the Mayor of any Iranian city!

Get a life and see a therapist Anonymous.