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Video | Referendum on the Islamic Republic

28 Feb 2012 23:01Comments

'This was my idea too.'

[ blog ] On April 1, 1979, a referendum was held asking Iranians to vote "Yes" or "No" on establishing an "Islamic Republic," a new system of government that was largely undefined.

In the first of these interviews asking people how they will vote, an old man enthusiastically expresses his approval by saying that the country has been liberated from many ills, including "Godlessness," "lack of hejab" and what he refers to as "bastards."

A secular woman acknowledges that she's not voted yet because she doesn't know what a Jomhouri Islami will entail. But, when asked, her husband says contrary to his wife he will vote in favor of the Islamic Republic.

A man carrying a rifle because he's probably a member of a local committee that had been formed in that era to keep security, says that he will vote "Yes" because "Islam is the only school of thought that enables the deprived and the poor to gain their rights." Two young women also say they will vote "Yes." Next, another old man argues that he knows what an Islamic Republic is, because "we know it [the new political order] will be Islamic, and our religion is Islam. We believe in the Quran and Prophet Muhammad."

In the next scene there is an argument. A man is seemingly upset by a reporter who has asked people waiting to cast their votes if any of them are opposed to the Islamic Republic. The man tells the journalist that he is trying to create disunity among people.

The next guy says, "The only reason I vote for the Islamic Republic is because it's the best." He then takes a jab at the opposition: "They don't know what it [Islam] is. If they study Imam Ali's teachings [in the book Nahjol-balagheh] and the Quran, they will realize that Islam is the best religion in the world."

The next interview features a young conscript who declares,"I am a simple soldier. I have voted for the Islamic Republic and will defend the Muslim nation of Iran and the Islamic Republic until the last drop of my blood. I feel sorry for those who say that they do not know much about Islam. I, a simple soldier, sought it out and studied Islam." Then, an old woman says that, "I will vote for the Islamic Republic and Mr. Khomeini," as does a man who appears to be in his mid-seventies.

A lawyer who seems to be afraid that she may no longer be able to practice law as a woman and a member of a minority group, speaks positively about the new government. "As a Zoroastrian, I voted for the Islamic Republic with the ideal that, although I am a Zoroastrian woman, I will have, like a Mulism Iranian man, the same rights that the Islamic Republic grants all [Muslim] citizens. I hope that I can take my part in serving the nation. I am in the legal profession, and hope that I can continue my work."

The next scene takes place at a voting station. A cleric says, "green means 'yes,' red means 'no.'" The man with a tie says that he is voting for the Islamic Republic "because this was my idea too."

The video concludes with a short interview with a man who appears to be an Arab visiting a shrine either in Qom or Mashhad, about what the Islamic Republic will entail. -- translated by Muhammad Sahimi

More photos here.

Copyright © 2012 Tehran Bureau

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