Friday, June 26, 2009

From an Islamic Republic towards an Islamic Government

Etemad-e-Melli newspaper on its March 5, 2009 issue had an interesting report on the Religious Democracy Conference held by the Imam Khomeini Educational and Research Institute of Qom. The report correctly calls it "a conference by the critics of democracy," for almost everyone in the conference opposes democracy. The views of the holders and participants of the conference, among which are Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi and some of his students, are most illuminating especially because the coup d'etat President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is known to be a faithful follower of Mesbah Yazdi.

The first presenters while believing that literal obedience from the principals of democracy is against the teachings of Islam, continue to say that its possible to domesticate democracy into the Islamic state. Then comes Mesbah Yazdi himself. He says those who talk about domesticating democracy are talking from "an ugly extremistly submissive" point of view. He believes the complete accepting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is against Islamic judicial instructions such as execution and amputation (of hands), and hence not acceptable. He continues that Ayatollah Khomeini did not believe that the the government needs popular support to be legitimate. He says that while Khomeini has argued that the pre-1979 Imperial regime of Iran was unpopular and hence illegitimate, he used the popularity argument only for the sake of the argument and did not believe that Islamic government should have popular support. Those who come after Mesbah Yazdi are (if possible) even more extremist. Hojjat-al-Islam Haji Heydar argues that popularity is not even acceptable for the purposes of an argument. Asserting that Velayat-e Faqih is not the democratic pillar of our government, he says undemocratic institutions should outrank democratic ones. There should be a high council of 45 faqihs that outranks the popularly elected "lower" parliament.

This is only a sample of the beliefs of those who are gaining more and more power in Iran. Mesbah Yazdi is believed to have issued a Fatwa permitting election fraud. And this is only one of the horrible things attributed to him. But all of the dreadful rumors aside, the mere opinions of his presented here is enough to know what kind of person we're dealing with. And these are not the kind of people that stop at the borders of Iran. Their goal is global domination as is the goal of Islam. If they are not stopped right now, there might come a time soon that is too late.

There's one last thing that I owe to the Ayatollah to mention here. As much as I despise this man, he is at least frank about his beliefs on democracy. There are many others in the ranks of the Islamic Republic that more or less believe in the same things but try to hide their beliefs under the masquerade of their sham elections.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Voice for the Voiceless

I hear that and, two government-funded hardline Iranian news agencies, are not accessible from non-Iranian IP addresses. I tried to verify this by using a few proxy servers I have access to outside Iran and it seems to be correct. But why should a news agency limit its audience on purpose? Not unless, of course, because they have different recipies for the news they "make" for people inside and outside Iran. The lies they easily sell to Iranians with severed accesses to the outside world would not sell so easily to people who have access to all the news sources in the world. They need more delicacy, which leads me to my point: Press TV.

Press TV is an Islamic Republic funded news network for the English speaking audience. If you're reading this outside Iran, I beg you, do not fall for their seemingly independent point of view. I have seen people who, in search of an alternative news source besides the mainstream media, fall for Press TV. This is a mistake, it's jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. Consider this: Press TV advertizes itself as "the voice for the voiceless." While the seventy million people of Iran, the people whose country's wealth is being spent on PressTV, has no voice in any of the Islamic Republic media, how they can "give voice to the voiceless?" You want a news source better than the mainstream media? It's fine. But go somewhere else. Anything else would be better than the Islamic Republic's "news making machine."

Update: Iain Dale and Nick Ferrari have decided not to appear on Press TV ever again. Read about their reasons here and here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Now I'm officially an owl

I go to sleep in the morning and wake up at night. I start with a meal which is more like dinner, and a few hours after that a breakfast like meal and an hour or two after that, something like an "afternoon tea." I might have an ice cream too, while starting studying around 3:00 AM. Maybe I should start making up more proper names for my meals. Crazy life, isn't it?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

This deserves a Guiness World Record

Ahmadinejad seriously deserves the world record for the most blatant remarks in the history of human kind.

As IRIB News reports (IRIB is the Islamic regime's gigantic media machine), he told Sunday Times reporter, "In Iran, women have more rights than men."

Even much worse than that, also reported by IRIB News, is what he told the Economist reporter, "The freedom here is nearly absolute because people can tell anything they want."

I may vomit.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Call your parents every two hours!

I went to university today, only to find that the exams have been postponed. Our university is actually one of the last to do so despite the announcement by the Ministry of Science that no exams are to be postponed.

I met one of my professors though, and after a few moments of talking he suddenly asked me if I live alone or with my parents. When I told him that I live alone and my parents live in another city he said, "You know your parents are very proud of you -you're not a father so you may not understand now- and they care so much about you. You should call them every two hours and reassure them that you're safe."

That's what he said. The situation is grave!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Partly Blocked

I just noticed that when I try to open my post about Mohammad Ali Fardin, I get the infamous "Access to this website is blocked" message (that's a loose translation of the Persian message). It's weird. I mean I've written worst things about the regime and none of my other posts are blocked. I thought that this might be because of a "forbidden word" in the URL (weird blocking cases can happen when a URL has forbidden words in it), but this doesn't seem to be the case since I can view the page in Google cache. My only conclusion is that that single page for some reason has been blocked.

Hooray! I finally pissed them off. It won't be long they will be coming to my door to arrest me. Time to go into hiding!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Back to Revolution

I hear cries of crowds from some distance. At first, I thought it's the neighbor's TV. The Islamic Republic loves to show lengthy footage of its fake demonstrations. "Damn it. Why don't they turn it down?" I told myself, but then I realized it's not just from one direction. It comes from all around me, and from the roofs. I listened trying to distinguish what they were saying. Then I realized what I'm hearing; "Allah-o-Akbar!" which means "God is great." Now this is a religious chant, but every Iranian knows of the last time this happened: during the 1979 revolution, the chanting now is a sign of resistance. And this time, the chanting is against the Islamic regime itself.

I'm not religious at all, and in fact I very much dislike religious chantings, but this time I was deeply touched. Many times during past few years, and especially yesterday after the result of that fraud of an election was announced, I've told myself that there is no hope of change for Iran, but maybe I am wrong. I still look at it with great skepticism, but I can't help thinking "Maybe there is still hope."

Saturday, June 13, 2009

We can go on and slit our wrists

I haven't had a good day. I didn't get to sleep enough, I couldn't study enough for tomorrow's exam, and I was, and am, so angry, so mad, so furious that I could hardly concentrate on what I've been doing. And now, I just can't go to sleep.

Last night, I was awake, following every piece of news that I could lay my hands on how the election result was going on. From the first minutes, Ahmadinejad was ahead with more than 60 percent of the votes. This came as a shock. It couldn't be. But it was. My first impression was that this was the natural result of the fact that the first results published belong to rural areas and small towns where Ahmadinejad has most of his supporters. When I got to sleep at about 6:00 AM though, half of the votes had been counted and there was no change. Ahmadinejad kept his margin. I was quite uneasy. So I got to sleep with deep suspicions and when I woke up what I saw was Ahmadinejad declared winner, with almost the same result as last night.

So what happened? Were we actually deluded to think that Musavi had enough supporters to win the election, as The Guardian's Abbas Barzegar suggests so? Were we just tricked into generalizing what we saw in Tehran to all of Iran? I don't think so. As a matter of fact, I'm willing to bet anything that the result they published had nothing to do with what people put in the poll boxes. Musavi and Karrubi have already published a list of the violations they saw during the election. I'm not going to reiterate them here. I'm only listing the most important reasons that make me sure the whole election was a joke.

  • I had read in Musavi's website that his election code was 77. When I came at the polling station I saw a list of candidates. Next to Musavi's name I saw the number 4. I was going to write that number actually, but then I asked one of the present officials and he showed me another list, a smaller and less noticeable one, which showed the code numbers. The list started with Ahmadinejad, whose code was 44 and ended with Musavi, 77. I'm sure many people just wrote 4, and the Interior Ministry officials where more than happy to correct 4 to 44.
  • During last night several preliminary results where published. At one point Mohsen Rezaee's votes actually dropped from 633048 to 587913!
  • Mehdi Karrubi's campaign organization is said to have more members than the his votes in the election results. Are we supposed to believe that even his own people didn't vote for him (while Karrubi, was very much popular at least within the universities).
  • Musavi's campaign has announced his representatives have been denied (in various ways) overseeing the process of election in half of the polling stations.
  • The ratio of votes for Musavi over that of Ahmadinejad's at any given announcement was following a straight line with very very little divergence. This was also true for the ratio of votes for all pairs of candidates.
  • Even those who believe we've been deluded admit that in Tehran Musavi had many supporters. Since the Tehran metropolitan area consists of more than one fifth of the population of Iran, it is only natural to think that after adding Tehran votes, the results would change even if it is for a few percents. But the ratios remained pretty much the same way as before.
  • And the last and most important reason: The turn-out in yesterday's election was 85 percent, while 48 percent voted in the run-off poll four years ago --the reason Ahmadinejad was elected in the first place since the number of people who didn't vote was more than those who voted for him. In Iran, voting and not voting are both political decisions. Many people don't vote since they don't want to legitimize the regime. So it is easy to see that those who do not vote, are not the type to go and vote for Ahmadinejad after many years of not voting. After all, voting is our "religious and sacred duty" as the Supreme Leader and other Islamic Republic supporters tell people. Ahmadinejad's god-fearing supporters simply cannot have committed such sins in the past. They have always been voters. In the end, there is no way, this 38 percent part of the constituents had had voted for Ahmadinejad. That means he couldn't have had 63.62 percent of the votes.
The election was a fraud, and a blatant sort of fraud that could only be expected from Ahmadinejad. It was a coup, a silent coup which of course was finally approved by the Supreme Leader (or more probably he had given them the permission from the beginning).

Now what should we do? When George Bush was reelected in the US for his second term, Michael Moore wrote a letter, "17 reasons not to slit your wrist." Unfortunately, we in Iran cannot think along the same lines as he did. Unlike Bush, Ahmadinejad can be reelected for one additional term, for example, though not in another consecutive term. I've heard he has expressed discontent at the two/three term limitation. He has four years to try to change the constitution. Of course, changing constitution is not that easy, but I'm sure "the favorite president of the Iranian nation" can achieve anything he wants.

Even if he is not going for a change of constitution, he has four full years to make our lives as miserable as he can, and after his term is finished, I'm sure many Iranians (including myself) are not going to show up in future elections which will make their task of "electing" another administration like this one even easier. Yeah, we're stuck. There is no good news. We can as well go on and slit our wrists right now, or be more sensible and get out of this disappointment of a country as soon as we can.

Monday, June 01, 2009

The Last Thing

May 30 issue of Iranian daily, Hamshahri, page 2, "The Statement of the British Foreign Secretary about Iran Election":

"The British Foreign Secretary, pointing to former British activities in Iran, talks in a way implying that the option of London interfering with Iran election is on the table."

This is ridiculous. So what has David Miliband said, really? You can find it here on Times Online by yourself, but I quote the relevant part.

"... given the British history in Iran, the last thing I am going to do is start interfering in their election campaign."

And the stupid members of Hamshahri's Political Group, think that implies an intention to interfere, because although it's the last thing, he still may want to do it! Now, this could be an intentional mistranslation of the phrase "the last thing I want to do" or it could be unintentional. Personally, I think the latter is the case, but still someone in the Political Group should know enough English to comment on a British official's statements, or (s)he should just shut up and talk only about domestic issues (if they know enough Persian, of course).

Moderate newspapers are generally supposed to be a better way to get Information in Iran in comparison to the widely viewed channels of the state run TV, and although Hamshahri is a more or less a conservative newspaper, still it is preferable to many other alternatives. I cannot help thinking about the poor people who rely on such reports for their perspective of the world outside Iran. Given that the image Iranians hold of the West is very much distorted by state run TV, we do not need more distortions by a popular newspaper like Hamshahri.