Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pre-election day, in a rural village, from my cousin's diary!

A Rural Recount

It was a great weekend for picnic. Together with my mother’s friends, we headed to a village in the province of Kerman. Although it was a very fun trip, everyone was anxious to go back home because on that day, the tenth presidential election was to take place. With its heated debated, the election followed two weeks of controversial campaigning. 

The bus dropped us at the end of the road. We had to walk to the village. This is a small village, most of whose population has already migrated to the cities. Those who had stayed, had stayed by force of poverty. Luckily, one of the villagers had a car, and helped us carry our stuff to some friend’s house who lived there. In the middle fo the road, the middle aged driver, who was a simple man, suddenly turned to my mother and asked: “So who would you vote for?”  My mother,  who was prudent in giving an answer to this question, laughed and asked: “who will YOU vote for?”

Pensively, the driver rubbed his beard and said:

“I don’t know what to say. My son who studies in a Tehran university [don’t be alarmed, in Iran university education is free, and they even pay you allowance, if you are talented] tells me to vote for Karoubi, but everyone else [in this village] wants to vote for Mousavi. So I don’t know what to do now!”

At the same time, the rapid passage of car blew a lot of shredded papers up in the air. A piece of shredded papers got stuck to the windshield. Recognizing the picture was not hard, because for four years, we had seen that face from all angles across the world media. Paper shreds were the campaign posters of Dr. Ahmadinejad, president elect with 63% of votes in the tenth presidential election … 

[sorry she is not a novelist, but I just translated her note on facebook without any structural compositional editing, okey? :) ]


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Thanks for that story. It is difficult to find out information about people's thoughts outside of the cities. I have seen a breakdown of what towns & villages Mousavi and Ahmadinejad won, but I'm not familiar with these places. Mousavi definitely came out ahead in Tehran.

I thought Ahmadinejad would win for some of the reasons you were leaning toward him before all this; that is, reasons of security & foreign policy and the way he was reaching out to the poorer folks. Also, incumbents can have an edge despite their broken promises - Bush was elected twice for some of the stupidest reasons. I did not want him to win because he made an easy target for US/Israel and the 'more sanctions' crowd.

A video was posted allegedly from the province of Kerman. The people clapping & singing (or chanting) - do you know what they are saying?

I hope the protests stay peaceful but in large numbers. We don't hear much about Ahmadinejad supporters and what they are saying. Just trying to get a clear picture and what people are thinking. Does anyone know?

May your family and friends be safe and well.

Gail said...

Hi Na-

I so loved reading the story of your cousin. I feel so connected from such a personal vantage point. I REALLY appreciate your posting it.
I feel quite inept to comment on the state of affairs in Iran - only to say that the violence and unrest is so unsettling and so unfortunate. I am an idealist so I pray for peace and understanding amongst all people.

Love to you'

Demeur said...

I knew something was fishy when several towns had more votes than people. This sounds like a Chicago election of the old days. Vote and vote often was the mantra then.
If nothing changes in the coming days then they need to prepare for a general strike. It's the only way to force the issue without more bloodshed.
Again I wish you all well.

nunya said...

Thank you for translating, sweetie, :)

David said...

It seems there is mounting evidence that the reformist candidates were quite popular in rural areas of Iran.

I heard a horrible story today. A man came to claim the body of his only son who had been killed while demonstrating. The authorities said that he must pay a fee of $3000 for the bullet that killed his son. Some time later, the fee was waived when the authorities learned that the man was a veteran of the Iran/Iraq war. It was hard to believe this story! The regime murdered this man's son and then they tried to extort money from him before allowing him to bury his son?

nunya said...

President Obama’s Press Briefing

Published: June 23, 2009

...Some in Iran -- some in the Iranian government, in particular, are trying to avoid that debate by accusing the United States and others in the West of instigating protests over the elections.

These accusations are patently false. They're an obvious attempt to distract people from what is truly taking place within Iran's borders.

This tired strategy of using old tensions to scapegoat other countries won't work anymore in Iran. This is not about the United States or the West; this is about the people of Iran and the future that they -- and only they -- will choose...

Agathe PHILBÉ said...

Thanks for writing, thanks for sharing. Sending you peace and support from Paris

Anonymous said...

Civil Society:

Looking past their fiery rhetoric and apparent determination to cling to power using all available means, Iran's hardliners are not a confident bunch. While hardliners still believe they possess enough force to stifle popular protests, they are worried that they are losing a behind-the-scenes battle within Iran's religious establishment.

A source familiar with the thinking of decision-makers in state agencies that have strong ties to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said there is a sense among hardliners that a shoe is about to drop. Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani -- Iran's savviest political operator and an arch-enemy of Ayatollah Khamenei's -- has kept out of the public spotlight since the rigged June 12 presidential election triggered the political crisis. The widespread belief is that Rafsanjani has been in the holy city of Qom, working to assemble a religious and political coalition to topple the supreme leader and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "There is great apprehension among people in the supreme leader's [camp] about what Rafsanjani may pull," said a source in Tehran who is familiar with hardliner thinking. "They [the supreme leader and his supporters] are much more concerned about Rafsanjani than the mass movement on the streets."

Ayatollah Khamenei now has a very big image problem among influential Shi'a clergymen. Over the course of the political crisis, stretching back to the days leading up to the election, Rafsanjani has succeeded in knocking the supreme leader off his pedestal by revealing Ayatollah Khamenei to be a political partisan rather than an above-the-fray spiritual leader. In other words, the supreme leader has become a divider, not a uniter. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].

Now that Ayatollah Khamenei has become inexorably connected to Ahmadinejad's power grab, many clerics are coming around to the idea that the current system needs to be changed. Among those who are now believed to be arrayed against Ayatollah Khamenei is Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the top Shi'a cleric in neighboring Iraq. Rafsanjani is known to have met with Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani's representative in Iran, Javad Shahrestani.

A reformist website, Rooyeh, reported that Rafsanjani already had the support of nearly a majority of the Assembly of Experts, a body that constitutionally has the power to remove Ayatollah Khamenei. The report also indicated that Rafsanjani's lobbying efforts were continuing to bring more clerics over to his side. Rafsanjani's aim, the website added, is the establishment of a leadership council, comprising of three or more top religious leaders, to replace the institution of supreme leader. Shortly after it posted the report on Rafsanjani's efforts to establish a new collective leadership, government officials pulled the plug on Rooyeh.

Meanwhile, the Al-Arabiya satellite television news channel reported that a "high-ranking" source in Qom confirmed that Rafsanjani has garnered enough support to remove Ayatollah Khamenei, but an announcement is being delayed amid differences on what or who should replace the supreme leader. Some top clerics reportedly want to maintain the post of supreme leader, albeit with someone other than Ayatollah Khamenei occupying the post, while others support the collective leadership approach.

Debashish Bose said...

What on earth is going on ? I cant even imagine how it is like for Iranians. But trust me anyone watching all this is aghast its crime against humanity