Most people did not vote
because they do not believe in the system
June 25, 2005
We never give our people enough credit. We try to preach to them
with insane broadcasts from Los Angeles. We offend their intelligence
with lunatics and countdown clocks on satelitte television. We
accuse them of being the regime's sympatheizers when they accept
the Nobel Peace Prize with dignity. We judge them for participating.
for not participating. We scream about the murderous mullahs while
we quietly invest millions of dollars in Iranian real estate, open
factories in Karaj, and use the profits to buy silk rugs for our
primary homes in California.
And then, when our people see the
elections for what they are (false, corrupt, and a mockery of fairness)
and stay home in an educated act of defiance, we call them apathetic
and blame them for the victory of the new hardline president. "What
are they thinking?" we cry, "Now I won't be able to
wear lip gloss or a tight manteau when I am in Tehran
two weeks out of the year!"
What is most shocking and poignant about the
results is not the triumpth of the "underdog", but the fact that
far fewer people voted in the run off than in the first round of elections
state television has been bursting its seams in excitement over voter participation.
All week, gorgeous and slick propaganda had been attempting to
seduce voters back to the polls for the second round. Photo montages
of young women in bright
colors dropping ballots in the box, pulsating techno music in the backdrop
as live reporters question the nation's most famous actors, singers,
about their participation in history, even Ali Daie in skintight Versace
strutting into Rafsanjani public offices... apparently all of this
did nothing to win over voters in a mere seven days.
did the turnout drop between the first and second round?
Doesn't it seem logical that more people
would turn out to
vote, given the intensity and apparant significance of the final round?
past week in Tehran has been bustling with political activity.
Losing candidates screaming
fraud, newspapers being shut down, music videos featuring and promoting Rafsanjani
(no joke) broadcast on the Persian Music Channel from Dubai, fainting on
live television to show passion for the "democratic" process,
people stepping out of their cars to start fistfights about candidates...
And, yet, a significant drop in voter participation from last week
to this week.
In most nations, lower voter participation indicates apathy
or indifference. In
Iran, apathy has nothing to do with most people staying home. The most politically
active and educated Iranians stayed
home yesterday in a deliberate refusal to allow the Islamic Republic
to use their
vote as proof of its own legitimacy.
They didn't stay home because they didn't
care. They didn't stay home because they were busy or tired or bored. They
didn't stay home because they aren't political. And they CERTAINLY
didn't stay home
because ridiculous satelitte programers told them to. They stayed home
because they do not believe in the system.
Member of the
Guardian Council Ayatollah Janati, said "every
vote is a bullet in the heart of our enemies." In the end, even the
most over-glorified statistics of the Islamic Republic indicate less than
the nation voted.
And that, my friends, is the biggest victory of all.