The verdict is out. Along with many others from the imprisoned dissidents like Akbar Ganji, formerly jailed cartoonist Nik Kowsar and Noble Peace Laureate Ebadi to the main student bodies like the Office for Strengthening Unity (the collective of Islamic Student Assemblies) I called, in my own small way, for a boycott, argued why I thought it was the best way we could seriously start on the road to a better future — we got a big ‘No!’ Others, from the formerly jailed satirist Nabavi, and journalist Behnoud to my other student friends in and out of Iran, argued why a boycott was not the answer and argued for voting, for Moeen — they too got a very big ‘No!’ The ‘No!’s came from the 62% of the eligible voters who voted on Friday to place Mr. Moeen on the fifth step, with a flimsy 13.7% of the turnout, among the seven candidates running for office.
One can discuss why this happened, what went wrong or right for whom and when. There will be talks about the election being rigged. This is a serious matter and I won't be surprised that it is true. The elections were rigged, long before it came to counting votes. The whole process was rigged and that was at the core of the reasoning for the boycott.
But one thing remains: sending Rafsanjani with Ahmadi Nejad to the run-off is also a nicely stretched finger on top of the two big ‘No’s. Fortunately, I'm not a politician and whatever inclinations I had to become one in the recesses of my unconsciousness must have been nicely turned into vapour now and be gone. So, I can just resign from the little election campaign I have been running from my laptop. I can simply go about my business, and shrug the ‘No’ and the finger off my shoulder. I won't even have a guilty conscience — why should I, when the object of my activism does not even give a damn?
I am fortunate to be able to do this. There are others though who, not only cannot do this, but are in fact in very dire circumstances. I am talking about the dissidents, journalists, political activists, students and lawers who are behind the bars in various prisons in the IR. Most of them have been on hunger strike for the past days for one reason: human rights. They are Iran's thinkers, brave souls, heroes, leaders. Have people no sense? Are we going to see them die in body or in soul? What about my conscience?