Sunday, July 12, 2009


And still our vote mattered | Salon News:
"Asking where our vote is, is not enough. Democracy must also be about who gets to reply."

I am pained about the Iranian elections. I've written about them before, and about how I'm not sure how to grapple with the dozens of issues inherent in the topic (westernization, democratization, religious governance, the list goes on), but I can't help but hurt when I see accounts like this:

That the vote was against Ahmadinejad there can be no doubt. Consider this: Over the 30-year history of the Islamic Republic of Iran, some 30 percent of the population has never voted. These are the true disbelievers, citizens who take pride in having a blank shenasname, or identity booklet. They are the friends and family members who take every opportunity to remind the rest of us, at the dinner table, caught in traffic, sitting in the park, that voting is a mistake, that you ought not participate in a system that is at its core rotten.

Except ... Except this time a good half of these nonbelievers came. They came, pulled, pleaded -- coaxed into voting by sons and daughters. They came this year, dramatically reversing what had been a steady decline in participation, lifting turnout to heights not seen since the early days of the Revolution. With the much ballyhooed rural vote already in the bank for the president, the only place left for Ahmadinejad to make up his reported 6 to 8 million new votes was with the apostates. Are we really to believe, as some are now insisting, that these many millions showed up to vote for the incumbent?

There was so much hope, and it was simply crushed. How long will it be before there is enough strength to try again?

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