At 7:30 AM, Saturday morning, I get up. Still half asleep, the first thing that comes to my mind is to check the news for election. I am so nervous that I do not know where to look it up on the web. But as soon as the Yahoo web page loads, it's the first thing I see in the news section on the screen: "Hardline Mayor Wins Iran Presidential Race." The news is like a bump on my head. I feel desperate. What can I do? What can we do? In what follows I try to analyze what gave rise to this choice for the public, and propose a plan for moving on.
The result of the election is the reflection of the average level of political consciousness of Iran. It is not something we can change; however, we should think of ways for confronting the hard times in the forthcoming years in the history of Iran.
Ahmadinejad has been chosen with 62.2% of the votes. Although there might have been some violations at the polls, the votes cannot have been doubled in contrast to Hashemi's 35% share of the votes. Obviously the economic and cultural poverty has led to this disaster. In our community of friends, and all the reformists, we all decided to vote for Hashemi, even though it was hard for us and he had no positive legacy in our hearts. What about the public mindset? How much did we analyze the patterns of thinking of the public? What should we expect in a country where more than 70% of the people live below the poverty line or on the boundary, even though it has enough natural and human resources to have better living conditions? The main concern of the majority of people is to have the basics in their lives. How can they think about other issues such as social freedoms when they have to struggle for their living from early morning to late night? I do understand that the domestic and foreign and cultural policies are intimately entangled with the economical outcome, but expecting the public to have this insight is far from reality.
What have we done to illuminate the people’s minds? How can we talk to them in a convincing manner? They have their own frame of reference, their usual patterns of thinking are too intricate to beat, and even their terminology and line of reasoning is too different from ours.
I know it is not easy; there are all sorts of frictions inside the country. Advanced tools of communication like the internet are not available for the public. In spite of all this, some necessary steps must be taken towards the growth of our political insight. We should learn how to discuss and argue with people around us, from our neighbors to the friend who has the opposite opinion. The "Conversation of Civilizations" should arise from within our daily life.
To avoid such an historical incidence or at least to minimize the probability of its occurrence in the future, we must start from now on. In the first place, we should think of ways to tone down the consequences of such a hardline government as this and prevent strangulation in the society. I do not want to suggest anything hastily now. Finding a practical strategy requires exchange of opinions and political experience of all Iranian intellectuals and university graduates from all over the world. Perhaps little can be done, but there is no choice except to move on. We are bound to keep hoping otherwise we die.
In the second step, I think, there should be some systematic study on the sociological composition of the society. Having some statistics of thinking patterns of the people and their response to social events and excitement will help us to find the cultural knots and veins. This will provide us with the information about how to orient our activities in the direction of illuminating the people’s minds, hoping that the resulting cultural growth will reduce the chances of repeating such historical mistakes in the future.