I have been reading the Daily Kos for some time, but it wasn’t until now that I felt the need to create a user account. I did so because I feel there is a point of view here that is being stifled from nearly all debate. I know that what I am about to post will be unpopular; nonetheless, it is a voice that has been completely absent and needs to be heard. So, let me remind you of the appropriate use of Hide Ratings as described in the FAQs, specifically this, "Do not troll rate people for expressing a contrary opinion, so long as it is expressed in a civilized fashion." Thank you.
Iran: A Twitter Coup
Last week Iran held a historic election during which nearly 80 percent of the electorate voted and an overwhelming majority reelected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Defeated main challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi immediately cried foul contesting the election results. His claims of a rigged election are based on non-credible and unreliable claims that a few of his monitors were not allowed in the polling stations, and other anecdotal evidence at the disposal of losing candidates in any democratic election. Since the revolution, Iran has consistently held free and fair elections among the candidates vetted by the Guardian Council and international observers have rarely brought allegations of electoral fraud against any Iranian election. There is no reason to believe this one is any different. Nonetheless, the Guardian Council is reviewing the complaints submitted by the losing candidates and has announced that it will recount ten percent of the overall ballot boxes.
On June 12, 2009, an article in the Washington Post describing a pre-election rally reported that "a long column of provincial, working-class Iranians, clad in black and walking in flip-flops, streamed into a highway underpass, heading for a reelection rally for President. Standing on a high ledge safely out of the way, a group of cosmopolitan youths looked down at the crowd of mostly out-of-towners. "Go back to the zoo!" shouted a teenager with gelled-up hair and a green T-shirt, a sign of support for Ahmadinejad's main challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi." This teenager represented the face of Mr. Mousavi’s supporters to the Iranian people. A face that the majority of Iranians (and not just the working class) not only do not identify with, but deeply resent— a few thousand upper class and upper middle class urbanites still harboring the decadent, elitist, racist, and class-oriented values of the Shah’s era passed down to their generation from their parents and grandparents. Free Marketer Mousavi himself hardly concealed his contempt for working class Iranians as evident from his outspoken disdain for Ahmadinejad’s redistributive economic programs. A position that did not sit well with the urban and rural working class families who have benefited from these programs, be it a small handout or a new road or school.
In response, millions more than expected turned out all over the country to vote for President Ahmadinejad and express their deep antipathy for Mr. Mousavi and his supporters. This resulted in polls staying open passed the scheduled closing time and the need to print additional ballots culminating in a resounding victory for the incumbent candidate.
Many in the Iranian-American community, including Iran experts Trita Parsi of the National Iranian American Council, Karim Sadjadpour of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Hooman Majd, author/blogger/Khatami admirer, and Reza Aslan, author/blogger, wasted no time in joining the hopelessly biased US media in their proclamations that the Iranian election was rigged. Particularly perplexing was that they did so immediately after the election results were officially announced and without any substantiated evidence. They based their "total disbelief" in the possibility that President Ahmadinejad could have won reelection fairly and by such a wide margin on the one-sided and constant coverage by the US media of the several thousand upper class and upper middle class Tehrani (People from Tehran) Mousavi supporters who took to the streets in the few days leading up to the elections. Immediately after the elections Mr. Parsi announced that Mousavi could not have possibly lost in his hometown Tabriz. This uninformed speculation was instantly picked up by the Obama Administration and reproduced in an official statement. The US administration might not know better, and the US media does not want to know better, but Mr. Parsi should be aware of the massive and overwhelmingly enthusiastic crowds gathered for President Ahmadinejad in Tabriz and the President’s deep and close ties with the Azari community.
This irrational approach to the Iranian election results is tantamount to predicating one’s prediction of the winner of a US presidential election on a strong and vocal show of support for a party candidate in New York City, and then expressing disbelief when the opposing candidate wins in all or the majority of the states, including New York and Idaho. This approach is even more absurd in light of the fact that up until the very last few days prior to the demonstration of these upper class urbanite youths many of the same experts and their American compatriots were pontificating extensively on the unlikelihood of beating President Ahmadinejad because of his grassroots rural and poor urban support. Did this widely acknowledged grassroots support likely leading to an Ahmadinejad victory evaporate overnight? Did it simply vanish to give way to a small yet highly vocal and Internet savvy segment of Tehran’s population who purport to represent 47 million strong electorate, paving the way to Mr. Mousavi’s God-given right to the Iranian Presidency?
One week later and the Iran experts have been joined by an entire spectrum of Iranian expatriates, from socialists, to nationalists, to monarchists, to former mediocre Tehran University literature professors turned neacon puppets, to postcolonial intellectuals. Fueled and spun by an array of pro-Israel bloggers and pro-Israel media working around the clock, this expatriates’ new-found alliance is being skillfully manipulated to ensure that a segment of the Iranian society imposes its tyranny of the minority through a Twitter coup on the Iranian nation. (Or, at the very least, completely discredit a democratically elected government.) A coup to remove an elected president and replace him with a draconian war era prime minister turned Bishop Tutu of Iran responsible, among other atrocities, for guiding hundreds of thousands of young Iranians into the trenches of war and to their martyrdom. (Oddly enough, he is doing this again 20 years later by proclaiming his preparedness for martyrdom, yet sending young Iranians to the streets of Tehran to theirs.) Anyone who thinks the 46 million strong Iranian electorate would be forced into a tyranny of the minority orchestrated by the absurd solidarity between corrupt mullahs, a group of Internet savvy urbanite youths, US and Israel, and Pro-Israel media, and their unsuspecting "Iranians-United" does not have the slightest understanding of the Iranian society and its people. There will be no repeating of 1953 Iran, Chile, Algeria, or West Bank and Gaza in Iran.
The Iranian people have had four years to get to know President Ahmadinejad. During this time, at least nearly 24 million of them have learned that, notwithstanding the disappointment they might have brought on the Iranian expats and their cohorts, thus far, this president is the most compassionate, uncorrupt, dignified, modest, and courageous leader their nation has known in a long time. Iranians overwhelmingly voted for Ahmadinejad because he speaks for their nation—a nation that has endured 2500 years of domestic repression and foreign hegemony. He speaks truth to power on behalf of the people, to imperialists, occupiers, and corrupt mullahs alike. The extraordinarily vocal young upper class urbanites did have a following too after all; their candidate received 13 million votes.
The reason Iranians, from Tabriz to Rafsanjan (the birth place of Mousavi supporter and the most corrupt Iranian mullah, Rafsanjani), voted for President Ahmadinejad was beautifully summed up in a handmade campaign sign held by a young supporter—under the colors of the Iranian flag and a picture of the President; simple yet profound it read: Range Iran, Range Mardom, Rang Ma, (the Color of Iran, the Color of the People, the Color of Us!) That is how a majority of Iranian people (mostly working class) voted for President Ahmadinejad—he is the color of Iran.
The youths and their followers who have now resorted to rioting and violence should instead accept that the Iranian nation has spoken. They should stop the ugly hatred epitomized in the comment by the young gelled man, reevaluate their strategies and tactics, and reach into their souls. If they do so, who knows, maybe their candidate would win next time. For now, there is no recasting of Iranian people’s democratic will by violence or "civil disobedience."