Iranian elections - Don’t jump to conclusions

With millions of people streaming into Tehran’s boulevards, waving green flags and two-fingered peace signs, a revolutionary whiff seems to be in the air.

With millions of people streaming into Tehran’s boulevards, waving green flags and two-fingered peace signs, a revolutionary whiff seems to be in the air.

As Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s disgruntled supporters vent their frustration at the alleged ‘daylight robbery’, with Ayatullah Ali Khamenei’s seemingly unable to do much about it, other than attack small pockets of students and stragglers, one can think that a fundamental change is at hand.

Personally, I think that the events there are less a revolution than a simple coup d’etat. The fact is, an American polling firm took a voting survey a few weeks to the elections and found out that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was trouncing his opposition rival by almost two votes to one.

Well, what happened in the election? Exactly what they projected.

And, is befitting such a volatile election, as soon as the results were announced, the losers cried foul. This is totally within their rights to do so.

However, what got my goat is the fact that it seems as if the entire world jumped in to register its support for the demonstrators.

There has been excited talk about Tiananmen Square Part II.

 It seems that there are people hoping to see blood flow in the streets; blood shed by the ‘evil’ ayatollahs and their goons.

The ‘evil’ ayatollahs have been the boogeymen of the United States political class since the overthrow of the Shah’s regime and the consequent hostage incident at the US embassy by students.

That was way back in Jimmy Carter’s administration.
Well, things between the Iran and the US haven’t been improved by Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton and, certainly not by Bush Jr. In fact, a widely disseminated speech Bush Jr. listed Iran amongst the three ‘Axis of Evil’ nations that included Iraq and North Korea.

So, to say that the Americans, and the entire West, are suspicious of the Iranians is an understatement.

The Iranian regime hasn’t done anything to put itself in the world’s good books; especially Mr. Ahmadinejad, who had become a great excuse for Israel’s right-wing to scream just how ‘unsafe’ they were; notwithstanding the fact that they are the only nation in the Middle East with nuclear weapons along with having had unequivocal support of the US government for years.

He’s called for the removal of Israel from the world map, cast doubt on the Holocaust and, in many different ways, not acted like a leader I’d like to be ruled by.

However, no European, American or even African was going to vote. It was an Iranian election for an Iranian president.

But it seems that we all had chosen sides and instead of appreciating and trusting Iranians to know what is good for them, we wanted them to vote for the ‘reformist’ fellow we liked. Well, they didn’t (or did; depending which Iranian is talking to a reporter).

The world looked at Iran through its own prism. We want the guy who will start talks with Obama, stop the nuclear programme and be nice to Israel.

And honestly, we don’t know what that ‘guy’ will do for the Iranian people.

I find this attitude extremely paternalistic and colonial in mentality. The international community, the press and we do-gooders, assume that we know what is best.

That is why some people and western observers had a problem with the result of the last Rwandan election. It bamboozled people that the Rwandan electorate had the maturity and savvy to ignore the rhetoric of division and ethnicity and embrace the one of unity and progress.

I’ve noticed this ‘amazement’ every time a nation doesn’t quite vote in the manner the western establishment expected. Daniel Ortega, Hugo Chavez, Jacob Zuma, Evo Morales and Raul Castro are all leaders who won elections in spite of foreigner’s indignation.

While I am all for free and fair elections, I don’t think it wise to have my favoured candidate hoisted on anyone.

Just as I wouldn’t want an Iranian telling me how to choose my president, I believe its best that I don’t attempt to do the same.


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