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June 18, 2005

Two BIG "No"s (and a finger)
Babak Seradjeh  [info|posts]

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?

Comments
SG at June 18, 2005 03:01 PM [permalink]:

You argued for what you thought was right. And so did we. No one should be blamed. Read http://chaay.persianblog.com/ .

someone who is usually silent at June 18, 2005 05:00 PM [permalink]:

be hameye mellate salahshour va hamishe dar sahneye Iran, (Sorry I can only say this in Persian)

I want to say congratulations. I hope you live happily for many years to come with your selected candidate. To all those who advocated voting, I wish you a long happy life with the creep as your leader. To those who are blaming boycotters, please open your eyes and blame the ones who legitimized this regime by their votes. To Nabavi who is now blaming Ganji for 5% loss of votes. Shame on you Mr. Nabavi, shame on you (as your dear Michael Moore would have said). Shame on all the blindness and blames. Now the blame is on us, the boycotters. Not on the voters who voted for the creepiest of creeps.

We were all wrong. I for one accept my mistake. My mistake was not that I didn't vote. My mistake was that I cared for all of this too much, and wasted my precious life behind my laptop arguing with the stupidity of a nation. I think I was the one who was living in a concrete castle without windows, not Maryam. Thanks to Maryam for openning my eyes to the realities of Iran's popular beliefs. Thanks to Mr. Nabavi for his blames, to Yaser for his insights, to sibil tala for blaming Nikahang and calling him a traitor (just a reminder to her, Nik was the one who went to prison for his beliefs), and to the "mellate salahshoure o hamishe dar sahneye Iran".

Thanks you.

Arman at June 18, 2005 05:18 PM [permalink]:

I think Iranian itelectuals must blame themselves.Democracy,freedom and human rights ain't still what people want in our country.Election results were awful but not suprising.In his statement, President Bush said the Iranian people deserve a truly free and democratic system, in which elections are honest. He says they deserve freedom of assembly, so they can press for reform and a peaceful, loyal opposition to keep the government in check.I think Bush got a big No.Each Iranian intelectual must have a guilty conscience .

Babak S at June 20, 2005 01:37 AM [permalink]:

I want to retract something in the post, something I wrote out of anger, which although only implied is something I do not wish to present or keep as a statement of mine. I wrote: "the object of my activism does not even give a damn". By this I implied that "the people were the object of my activism." But this is not true and I take it back. The object of one's activism must be the truth of the values and principles that are promoted through it, and so is mine. It is the truth in the principles of human rights and democracy that was/is the object of my activism, not the people who may or may not believe in them.

Iran is a Joke at June 28, 2005 06:40 PM [permalink]:

I hope that activists in Iran are not so disillusioned by this election that they cease their activism. I cant imagine your frustration in the state of our country - your fears must be far more imminent than the diaspora of disillusioned millions such as myself. But, every tyranny has fallen and as I am confident in the truth that is life and death, I am confident it will fall and fall hard. I guess when we ask ourselves whether the battle is worth fighting for the answer is: would we be content with our lives if we did nothing? Your answer is your destiny - to each his own. Babak I hope people like you will continue to be active - regardless of the outcomes that are often beyond your control. I am comforted by an anonymous graffiti artist in Berlin who sprayed the then standing Berlin wall with a message -- ''This wall will fall. Beliefs become reality - a famous European intellectual at the time said the wall ''cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth. The wall cannot withstand freedom.''