The Real 'Green' Revolution
I've been following the post-election uprising in Iran with what can only be described as wide-eyes. The protesters in Iran have chosen green as their color, hence the title of this article. I've been feeling a deep need to post, but have had difficulty in framing exactly what I want to say. Well anyway, here goes...
For one thing, it is clear that the election in Iran was a sham. There is no way that 40 million hand-written ballots could have been counted that quickly. That's for sure. Ahmadinejad was so eager to declare victory, that he couldn't even wait a day or two to provide the illusion of legitimate vote-counting. In fact, he couldn't even wait for the polls to close! [Did Ahmadinejad have access to exit polling data that the rest of us were unaware of? If so, are the exit polls in Iran that much better than the ones in America? I doubt it.]
For another thing, the demographics in Iran suggest that Ahmadinejad could not have won the election with 60-70% of the vote, when 60-70% of the vote is comprised of people who are between the ages of 15 and 45. Those are the people we saw in the streets... the ones that want Ahmadinejad out. Besides that, a new report by Ali Ansari from Chatham House suggests that...
Polls prior to the election showed Iran's conservative president was in a tight race, or on his way to defeat. Yet to achieve the official results given him, the report says, in 10 of Iran's 30 provinces, "Ahmadinejad would have needed to win over all new voters, all former Rafsanjani voters, and also up to 44 percent of former reformist voters." --Scott Peterson, Protesters mourn 'Angel of Iran', Christian Science Monitor, 22 June 2009
Even the Iranian government admits that in 50 or more cities, there were more votes cast than people that were eligible to vote. That discrepancy alone could result in 3 million erroneous ballots! And then there were two whole provinces (pro-Ahmadinejad, of course) where the turn-out was more than 100%, with another four at more than 90%! See HERE. If only we could get 110-120% turn-out in America... sigh. We're lucky if we can get 50%. (Maybe they got ACORN to help people vote 3, 4 or 5 times? Maybe they got Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck to vote?)
But back to reality, the turn-out for the vote in Iran was impressive. Unlike previous Iranian elections, people flocked to the polls when they first opened. That is a sure sign that they were looking for, and expected, change (not unlike the larger than expected turn-out in the American presidential election of 2008). People had high expectations that they could "make a difference". When it appeared obvious that the election had been stolen by the mullahs, the anger of the voters naturally erupted.
Iran is called an "Islamic Republic". I cannot say that the people who voted for Mir-Hossein Mousavi (and against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) want a republic that looks like America -- that would be too presumptuous. But one thing I CAN say, is that like people everywhere, they don't want to be taken for chumps. It's clear that Ayatollah Khamanei, the Guardian Council, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad treated the people of Iran as just so many cattle that could be herded wherever they wanted them to go. That was unfortunate -- and short-sighted -- for them.
I commend the brave men and women of Iran who have chosen to risk their lives to make a statement. They are dying in order to say that their vote counts. They are saying that they do not want to be ignored by a ruling oligarchy. They see freedom emerging all around them in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon. They are savvy to the Internet; to Facebook and Twitter; to cell phone cameras and You-Tube. They see what is going on in the free world, and they want to share in the freedom.
I could say nothing better than what they themselves have to say. Here is a but a brief sampling, starting with pre-election campaign promotions for Mousavi..
Perhaps one day, the people of America will be doing the same thing Iranian protesters are doing today in response to a government that does not listen to its people any more. It wouldn't surprise me.