Monday, 15 June 2009

Iranian Elections

The amazing stories coming out of Iran over the last few days have been a real education for me, I must say. First, I was inspired and cautiously optimistic to see real signs of a thriving Democracy in that much maligned country - with massive election rallies in support of a moderate reformist candidate.

Then on election night there was mass confusion as the Powers that Be in Iran declared a suspiciously overwhelming majority for the hard line incumbent. Rather then accepting this result, supporters of Musavi took to the streets, with hundreds of thousands or protestors - most peaceful, some violent - declaring their refusal to accept this result. Calls for an investigation into the dubious results are starting to be taken up even by some leading voices within the current adminisatration. So far the protestors show no sign of backing down, despite incidents in which riot police have fired into the crowds (killing some, injuring many).

In my earlier post, anticipating the election, I made an analogy between the Iranian campaigners and Obama for America campaigners like me. But I feel I should clarify: the Iranian student organisers who have been leading this campaign are currently on the run, staying one step ahead of arrest. When they go out to lead demonstrations and protests they are literally putting their lives on the line. Yesterday the Revolutionary Guard stormed the dormitories of Tehran University trying to track down the leaders of this movement.

My life and freedom was never for a second endangered by my work for Obama. It would be wrong to compare what was for me an unrelentingly positive and rewarding experience with these brave men and women who are staking everything they have on the possibility for democracy in their country.

May this situation be resolved quickly, peacefully and fairly.


As usual, is an indispensible source of info on polling and the plausibility of the official figures.

Juan Cole's blog has been doing a great job of bringing his wealth of experience in the Middle East to bear on the context of these elections.

And the always unmissable Andrew Sullivan has been flooding the zone with direct reports from within Iran and the best of the Tweets - this is very much a Twitter event, as Iranian dissidents have found their blogs shut down, but the administration has been unable to block access to twitter for vital info sharing.


Charlene said...

So glad you cleared up your comment about comparing the US election to the Iranian student support for their candidate. While horrible and sad, it is good that we in the US can see what happens in countries that don't practice leadership by election, that don't practice freedom of speech, that don't encourage the people to participate in the government.

Jim Jay said...

Maybe it was wrong of me but all this reminds me of the Al Gore election - how I wish there had been riots across the US in 2000, the world would be such a different place today