In the electoral travesty of 17 June 2005, there is one candidate that dwarfs all others in credibility and stature. It enjoys the backing of the Iranian nation’s best rational and intelligent self.
This candidate does not belong to any particular faction or political persuasion. It is nominated by the silent cries of a woman battered to death in the stark isolation of captivity. Looking at photographs of Zahra Kazemi and her gentle smile we cannot imagine her asking for revenge. No, that is not like her at all. We can only imagine her tears coming down and moistening her smile while she is calmly imploring: “Never, please never again. Let it never happen again. Create an Iran that what happened to me will never be allowed to happen to anyone else again.”
Furthermore, this only credible option in June’s election is backed by the chocked voices of thousands of street children who deserve a better life than the present cold helpless nights and dark, pernicious days. They never were given the opportunity to cast a vote for a system that cast them out into the wilderness of poverty, crime, mendacity and prostitution.
The sole candidate worth its salt on the people’s judgment day in June, will be backed by the Iranian youth, thousands of whom every year leave their beloved homeland, their dear family and friends not in search of Western debauchery and promiscuous living, but in quest of a place where they and their children can live in peace, dignity and security. They sacrifice what they love most for those inalienable rights indispensable to the soul and spirit of every human being.
The only credible candidate that stands untainted by this spring’s presidential lottery is backed by millions of Iranian exiles who are weary of being hyphenated Americans, British, French, Canadians, Australians and so on. They and many of their offspring want to go home. They want to have a chance of living in their ancestral land before they die.
And they are not asking for much. They are not demanding special treatment or any manner of opulent luxury. They are not seeking high salaries or cushy jobs. They are not asking for advantages above any other Iranian citizen. They are only demanding what is taken for granted by every civilized man and woman in this planet. They are asking for those fundamental privileges without which life is not worth living. They are asking for what urged Joseph Conrad’s Miss Haldin to declare: “I would take liberty from any hand as a hungry man would snatch a piece of bread.”
There is only one candidate in this spring’s presidential election that can be truly supported by the aspirations of the great majority of Iranian women. Women in Iran have been reduced by the Islamic Revolution to sex objects and their lives ruled and regulated by the worst susceptibilities of a depraved and chauvinistic imagination. They want to be valued again for the content of their character and not as hostages of a system, which measures its morality by the length of the cover it manages to impose upon their heads to diminish their dignity and visibility.
The only candidate that can again inspire Iranians with hope, pave the way for the removal of dictatorship and turn over a new page to an era of democracy, peace and stability is called a referendum. By staying away from the polls in June’s presidential elections, Iranians will be casting their silent vote for a free national referendum to deliver their country from its present political deadlock.
The call for a referendum is not anybody’s hobby horse or pet project. It does not belong to the initiative of this or that member of the opposition. It is the sacred right of the citizens to choose the course of their political future. It is as it were our collective smile towards a better future; a smile nurtured by many silent tears in our nation’s darkest nights.