Thursday, February 26, 2004

Lessons of an election

Lesson 1: We, the people of Iran, should get more intellectual than sensational.

Most of the Iranians didn’t participate in the Big Show of last Friday. It was something you could understand by eye-witnessing the polling stations, although the TV frequently has been showing long lines of voters from archived video-footages of the previous elections.

Ok, the election ended and the directors of the Show think they have got what they wanted. But it was important that the banning of the election was not a sensational decision, Iranians opted not to vote not because some ones told them it would be better, but because they saw they can send their message to the government—and to the world of course—by this action (or dis-action if you like!). When the intellect and wisdom comes in, you can make better decisions.

Falling into sensation has always been a drawback to Iranians. We very easily get excited and follow a way just to see that was a mistake only a few moments later (this moment can be from a few seconds to several years). Excitement is good, but without wisdom being in the scene it can lead to severe consequences.

The Islamic Revolution was just a result of people sensation. They followed the clerics just because everyone else followed them. They even didn’t know exactly what program they had in their heads for establishing a government, but their huge hate to Shah then, added to holy place of clerics in Iran’s traditional context, leaded people to follow them with closed eyes (and not follow other opposition groups who believed that Shah had to go out of the power). And it is fun that in the April following the revolution victory more than 99 percent of people voted in favor of Islamic Republic (the famous ‘Yes’) when there was no constitution yet for the country, and it was not clear what the new government wanted to do.

Well, reviewing the history I am trying to be more intellectual in analyzing the situations I encounter. Pre-judging and following a wave with closed eyes are Achilles’ heel of a civilized society. Even the one whom you dislike may be right; just ignoring him because of a feeling of hate is mistake. Every problem has several ways to solve; falling into blind excitement prevents you from seeing the whole paths.

The new leader of us should be ‘wisdom’, which certainly would lead us in the correct way(s). And of course you can disarm your excited enemy by intellectual behavior.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

From weblog to radio

Today in the early hours of the day I had a telephone interview with Kate Hairsine from SBS Radio in Australia, Alchemy channel. It was about 2:30 am in Tehran and 10:00 in Sydney. It took about 35 minutes, and we talked about Iran’s election, demands of Iranian youth, power of weblogs, and so. It was really an interesting conversation in the silence of a cold, windy night (and a warm weather in Sydney!).

I really should try to improve my listening/speaking abilities; I went to a language institute four years ago that specialized in English conversation teaching, it had a very huge influence in my speaking/listening. Every night I listened to BBC and VOA, and I could understand most of the content. But unfortunately in the years following I more concentrated in written English than spoken (although watching movies—esp. the ones with English subtitle—has highly helped me not to forget it completely!) Well, after all it was a very nice talk; although sometimes it was like climbing a steep mountain for me:) Kate said my vocabulary is very good, and never being outside Iran so far has prevented me expanding my oral abilities. She was of course right!

I will put the link to the radio show as soon as I receive it via email. Alice Brennan and Kate Hairsine are doing the program about Iran’s election together.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

A lie-full election

Finally it came and gone away. The election day. Seventh parliamentary election in Iran. I didn't participate, nor my family, nor my friends, nor most of the Iranians who care for a free, free Iran.

A few days ago I received an SMS on my mobile phone from a friend that read (in meaning), "participating in this election is just like freedom funeral. We don't participate. (send it for 5 more people). I sent it for 5 other friends and this short but meaningful SMS travelled around the country on waves. That was the will of majority of Iranians, that this is not a free election and we are not going to support this government by participating in this ridiculous show.

The fucking conservatives (excuse me for using the word, but they only deserve these kind of words) just one day before election banned the only two reformist, semi-independent newspapers of Iran, Shargh and Yas-e-no, for so-called publishing the letter of PMs to Khamenei, criticizing him in harsh words for supporting hard-liners. I really shocked when I got informed of this, cause I write occasional articles for Shargh, and I really love it, and cause this action was extremely ridiculous just one day before the Big Show. But you see, they are more fuck-headed than anyone can imagine.

Today there was again a big, manipulated show in Iranian Television (Seda-Sima). Since the early morning all the handfull TV networks covered the elections in special programs, mostly consisting of one or two showman in studio and some reporters in the city in voting places. They used more close-ups than long-shots to lie that people participations has been great, and they used (for the first time in 25 years of revolution and several elections) TV actors and athletes to encourage people. And it was among the just few times in Islamic TV that they were not strict in not showing weomen that part of their hair is out of thei scarf. But after all, in the TV show it was clear that most participants were old men and weomen or very young girls and boys who casted vote for the first time. No one similar to university students were among them, and generally yong people (18-35) were very very few in TV shows. But in numerous news sections they say about great participation, even say 'unprecedented', but we know it's just a big big lie. Most of us no longer want this government, specially its silly Rahbar (Supreme Leader), Khamenei.

And a recent news, all the schools and even kidergartens in Tehran and some nearby regions are closed tomorrow (Saturday). They have said it is because of schools were voting places and counting the votes may take long, but it hase been the case in all previous elections and it is just the first time that they declare schools are closed. I'm really frightened.

It is getting more and more hard to breathe in this nice country. They close newspapers that people love (Shargh was the best-selling goverment-independent newspaper), and performs elections with pre-determined outcomes. Khamenei lies of having freedom of speech in Iran (that even you can criticize him) in his last week Friday prayers speech, and just 6 days later two newspapers get banned for publishing a letter criticizing him. They all tell lies. It is 25 years that they tell lies and assume people as sheep. A few days ago I was reading Animal Farm by George Orwell. The case in Iran in these 25 years has been just as Orwell had described by animal symbols in his celebrated book. "All the animals are equal but some are more equal than others." This was the only remaining command in the animal farm.