"Dark Truth," © Sabin Corneliu Buraga.
According to the Ministry of Interior of the reformist government of Mr. Khatami, the reformist candidate Dr. Moeen came in the fifth place in the elections of this Friday and about 28 million participated in the elections.
There are basically only two possible alternatives. The results are rigged or they aren't. No matter which one of the above is the case, blaming the pro-boycott camp for the low vote is meaningless and ridiculous. In the first case, their candidate has actually won. In the second case, given the high turnout and the low rank of their candidate, the participation of those who boycotted the elections wouldn't have changed the results in any reasonable expectation.
Either way, those who advocated participation in this election made a very terrible mistake and dealt a very heavy blow to the process of the move towards democracy in Iran, as I will try to show in this article.
Alternative 1: The results are rigged: If so, assuming Moeen was truly in the first or the second rank, the cheating must have been extremely monumental. The question the voting advocates have to ask themselves is: why did they participate and called others, in such huge numbers, to participate in a system where such amount of cheating is permissible, even when the executive responsible for holding that election was controlled by the so-called reformist side? Whether it was due to the Bassijis interference or some other means is irrelevant. They advocated voting for a president that can't prevent such a blatant fraud in such a supposedly important election.
Furthermore, if this is the case, the pro-voting campaigners must have succeeded in increasing the number of voters considerably for their candidate to have reached, in the unrigged reality, the top two ranks. Thus, using the excuse of cheating cannot lift the responsibility of their decision off their shoulders. On the contrary, it exacerbates it. For if this is the case, they are the ones who have made possible this huge turnout for such a non-transparent system.
Alternative 2: The results are more or less correct, leaving room only for the usual procedure of adding a certain percentage to the total number of ballots cast. In this case, the pro-participation advocates basically provided the regime with the large number of votes it so desperately needed, despite the fact that the chances of their candidate to win the election were so slim. This might seem as paradoxical at first: if their candidate didn't win so many votes, what has the large number of participants got to do with them and their campaigning?
The answer is, had they done the right thing and joined the boycott of elections and so helped in forming a voice against participation, this could have become the dominant paradigm of the society and led to a much lower turnout than what we see now.
Some will undoubtedly start blaming the people and repeat the worn out excuse that the talk of freedom and democracy is futile for such a people as ours. This is not true. The people have been extremely patient with this reform, but masses need direction and correct messages. When you bombard them with sophistries, wrong messages and show them only dead-ends, that is where you finally reach. No democratic society was from the beginning made of intellectual philosophers (and is not even today). This is an excuse for passivity. It is not the people, but most of the activists and political players that are ignorant, incompetent and out of touch with reality.
The lessons to be learned are many. The most important is the fact that the heads of real power are acting in unison to navigate in troubled waters and save the regime. The myth of enmity between Khamenei and Rafsanjani has to be thrown away. In my opinion, their real important objective in this election has been to win as many votes as possible, break the boycott, and to prevent the younger, hot-headed and less-sophisticated hardliner aspirants to come to power in the current international conditions. The reformists were manageable and not important. Using them was a calculated risk. They would have needed such a huge turnout to win that if they did win, that was considered worthwhile. Those who will tell the shots will remain the same anyway It was important that the international image is left unharmed by extreme hardliners.
There still remains one possibility of fraud: Ahmadinejad could very well have been raised over Karroubi by cheating. If so, the reason should be clear by now. They need another huge turnout for the second round. People must be given enough incentive to participate; and preventing Ahmadinejad from winning will give them exactly that. In any case, it is quite certain now that Rafsanjani is going to be the winner, even by cheating the results if necessary.
The other important lesson is that some political leaders, activists and writers should be completely ignored from now on. They will only create noise and confuse the situation. The Participation Front (Mosharekat), The Islamic Revolutionary Mujahideen Organization (Mojahedin-e Enghelaab), The Freedom Movement (Nehzat Azadi) and their supporters are finished. Instead others who both understand the situation and have proven honest and willing to act should be supported.
This article is not to beat a dead horse. I believed it was necessary because old excuses will be repeated again for certain in the coming days to justify this mistake. If we still insist on remaining blind, only worse kinds of defeat will await us in the future. By rejecting a total boycott democracy in Iran lost an important battle on Friday. There would not be another such an opportune moment in the near future. This chance was missed. There is now the time to cut the losses and begin the real grass-root struggle for a referendum. The first step must be the boycott of the second round of this "elections." It is finally time to understand the simple fact that freedom is not free.