hell with both of you
would not choose between Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad just as
I would not choose between two Nazis
June 22, 2005
It is difficult to be politically apathetic in Tehran
The New York Times had prepared me for the beautiful girls
on rollerblades passing out Rafsanjani bumper stickers. Blogs readied
me for small,
undisturbed protests. Entering the airport brought on the realization that things
are different during elections in Iran -- soldiers smile,
passport control officers wish you a happy visit, customs agents are on vacation.
Nothing, but nothing, could prepare me for the slick propaganda
on television. It seems some of the nations brightest directors
worked together to produce what is arguable among the world's best campaign
media. Round table discussions blend into gorgeous scenery
from the corners of Iran which blend into shots of women in chadors hugging
women in tight tunics under signs that scream "Together!"
All set to music
that would make the most nonbelieving person weep. Interviews dominate all
channels all evening. Questions about politics, questions about
culture, questions about
the economy, even questions about (GAGSP!) relations with the United States.
Everyone talks politics, thinks politics, even drives politics
-- it's a
wonder anyone can drive with all but 4 inches of
windshields covered with "HASHEMI 2005" bumper stickers.
the backdrop of so much advertising, naturally, the question arises:
to vote or not
to vote? I haven't missed an American election since turning 18. I read
my voter information pamphelet and take notes. I arrive at the polls
prepared and early.
I even wear the ridiculous "I voted!" sticker all day long.
I write my Senator. I donate to my party. I even watch the conventions.
can a self-described
politico boycott an election? Especially in the face of the onslaught
of propaganda? Simple. I have a long memory.
I am not voting in these Iranian
the same reason why I wouldn't have voted in Apartheid South Africa
or Nazi Germany. Because in such a state, the mere participation
is a vote of confidence
and faith in the system. Between two pro-Apartheid candidates, I
would choose NEITHER. Between two Nazis, I would stay home
and plot against
them. And between
two supporters, defenders, and engineers of the murderous Islamic
Republic of Iran, which is responsible for the arrest,
torture, and murder of
whose only crime has been to work for my freedom, I say the hell
with both of you.
How can I cast a vote for any candidate when
all have been hand-selected
with an eye on their passionate belief in the Islamic Republic? How
can I cast
a vote for a system that holds thousands of political prisoners in
torture chambers? How can I cast a vote for a system whose
streets are home to
hundreds of thugs,
above the law, beyond logic, who hold in their hands the destiny of
any woman who crosses their path when they are in a bad
How can I cast
a vote for
a system in which nearly 50 candidates are set aside for no reason
other than gender? How can I participate when that participation
and faith? I have been here one week and already three newspapers
have been closed!
Freedom to wear lipstick is not progress.
Neither is my
tight manteau or my barely-existent
roosari. It is an insult to the intelligence of all Iranians to try
and fool us with such "freedoms" or to get us to the polls in the
fear that we will lose such "freedoms." I am not a child to be
motivated by candy. This regime wears voter participation like a badge.
They use it to justify their
existence, defend their methods, and feed their mad hold on power. I will
not allow them to use me, or my vote.