15 Jun 2009 21:51
By M. E. DABIRI in Tehran | Received June 15, 2009 (published 3 July 2009)
[TEHRAN BUREAU] opinion
This is an insult to one's dignity. If they had cheated more skillfully with the vote count, perhaps I would have believed them.
If Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi had won in their hometowns, and if the Kurds had voted for Karroubi, perhaps I would have believed them.
But even then the vote would have been suspicious. To live in Iran, one has a finger on the pulse, at least somewhat. The pulse I was feeling was that Ahmadinejad has far less support than he had four years ago. If four years ago he won with 17 million votes (which is also suspect), this year he would have had far less.
It is more likely that Moussavi had at least 20 million votes.
I even question the number of people who voted, announced as 39,165,191.
If this is the case, why then, at 10:30 on the morning after the election, did they announce that 30,506,000 had voted?
They even increased that number in order to show the world how many people participated, to "legitimize" the system.
Less than a year ago, when the Minister of the Interior was suddenly changed, from mullah Pourmohammadi to a non-turbaned Sadegh Mahsouli, I asked a friend, "Why?"
"What made them change the interior minister?"
"So that they can control the election," he replied.
The great number of people who turned out to vote had come to accept the fact that all four candidates belonged to the Islamic system. They went to the polls in great numbers with this attitude: If you accept my vote, then I will accept the Islamic system.
A 'true' election would have legitimized the Islamic system.
On every ballot box the words of Ayatollah Khomeini were quoted, "Mizan raye mellat ast." The measure is the vote of the people.
This massive fraud does not only bring Ahmadinejad's legitimacy into question, but also the legitimacy of the Islamic system and the Supreme Leader, who on June 13 asked -- rather ordered -- the people to "accept the results of the election."
What I now hear from the street at midnight is, "Death to the dictator!"
"One employee of the Interior Ministry, which carried out the vote count, said the government had been preparing its fraud for weeks, purging anyone whose loyalty was in question and importing more pliable staff members from around the country.
"'They didn't rig the vote,' claimed the man, who showed his ministry identification card but pleaded not to be named. 'They didn't even look at the vote. They just wrote the name and put the number in front of it.'" (Memo From Tehran, The New York Times, June 14, 2009)
This confirmed everything I had suspected. And it also made me crawl into bed and pull the sheets over my head so as not to face reality.
* * *
June 16, 2009
Yesterday, Mr. Mir Hossein Moussavi announced a peaceful demonstration at 4 p.m., beginning at Enghelab (Revolution) Square, marching towards Azadi (Freedom) Square, in protest of the sham election, and to annul the election result.
Mr. Karroubi said that with this trend, "They would have to take the 'republic' out of the Islamic Republic."
The Voice of America on my television screen had been blackened out for three weeks; it suddenly came back! I could watch the thousands or tens of thousands of people marching on the street peacefully. I did not see any policeman wielding a baton, beating anybody, as I had seen on BBC television on June 13.
Yesterday at 9 in the morning I buried my head between the bed sheets, unable to face reality. By 9 in the evening I was walking in the streets, holding my head up high. Drivers were honking their horns as if there were a wedding going on.
And perhaps there was: Between the people and their rights.
You can fool all the people some of the time; you can fool some of the people all the time; but you cannot fool all the people all of the time.
Copyright (c) 2009 Tehran Bureau