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18 June 2009 @ 10:31 pm
Slightly febrile thoughts  
I have a cold and am underslept due to waking up with my houseguest at 5am. This, in addition to the integral complexity of the situation, means it is hard to get my head around the situation in Iran.

The thing that is obvious and undeniable is that the people of Iran are as tired of and furious with their current government as they were in 1979. The best commentators agree that the religious/secular regime is almost certain to change in some way now, regardless of the immediate outcome of the recount and protests. Too many senior politicians and clerics have joined the protest to pretend that this is a student movement that can be stopped with a handful of killings on a university campus.

And this makes perfect sense; people want their rights and the rule of law in their country respected just as much if they are Muslims in a mostly police state as if they are Americans, Australians, or Britons. To believe otherwise (or to suggest as one loon in The Times did that such a stance is proof of the Neocon agenda) is simply to deny the nature of human beings. We are social creatures who want our societies to function as fairly as possible, even if that fairness seems radically different between one culture and another.

This, to me, seems to be the key behind the passion of the protests and the breadth of society represented by the protestors.

A lot of the lj commentary on the election reads the 'win' by Ahmadinejad as a blatant stealing of the election. If the reports from the Opposition are to be believed, there is definitely voting fraud, as the level of consistency in the margins across the country is not mathematically likely. However, pre-election polling by The Washington Times predicted a decisive win by Ahmadinejad, and it does seem possible that the incumbent government may well have won legitimately, but not trusted the people to deliver their desired results and have doctored them accordingly.

So while the protest movement may have begun with just disgruntled Mousavi supporters, the voices of Iranians such as Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri have been raised because they are appalled at the flagrant breach of law apparently committed by their government. Everyday Iranians have joined the movement because their government broke faith with them and decided that what it did was right, regardless of the law.

Just like Americans, Australians and Britons.

As to what will happen, no one seems willing to make a prediction, and that certainly includes me. Mousavi is not the democratising hero that parts of the Western media and some commentators are painting him as. While I rarely agree with the Ahmadinejad government, they are telling the truth when they say that he is not a white knight. He was Khomeni's Prime Minister after the Revolution and a major figure in the Iranian hostage crisis and the Marine killings in 1983. Since then he has clearly walked a long political path that has taken him away from his rigorous belief in the Khomeni reforms, even their weaker form now seen under Ayatollah Ali Khameni. But anyone who would see an election win by his party as the birth of Western-style democracy in Iran is probably dreaming, and at least overstating the case.

Tomorrow, next week, could bring anything, from the status quo being reinforced with guns, to a simple change of election winners, to an overthrow of the religious government.

Perhaps it is a good sign that Iranians of the status of Montazeri have joined the protest. Yet today's news says that at least 200 known reformists have been arrested, including 78-year-old Ebrahim Yazdi, the leader of Iran's 50-year-old Freedom Movement. The foreign media is being thrown out, which never bodes well. I did not think it was possible thought I would ever be grateful for Twitter, but I am.

I know that this is very, very wrong. But every time I hear Khameni referred to as the Supreme Leader, I think of Daleks.

And does anyone speak Farsi? I am anxious to know if Ahmadinejad has, as I thought, a soft Ah as its first syllable, or an Arabic-style Achh.

lee: Fleursnegurochka_lee on June 18th, 2009 01:30 pm (UTC)
*nods along* :)

As per the last question, I do not speak Farsi at all, but heard a bilingual commentator on NPR this morning use the soft Ah sound, which was actually the first time I'd heard that; American newsies and politicians like to harden the ACK as much as possible (which makes me assume it's incorrect, heh, but that it's the only way the coaches were able to get many of them to be able to say it at all, *headdesk*) But, maybe it is in fact correct...
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 18th, 2009 01:36 pm (UTC)
I am anxious. It is like watching Tiananmen again, except I am still in the hopeful stage. I just want people to be reasonably happy and no one being killed or threatened, they can go on lumping me in with the Great Satan if it makes them happy.

And yes, I had always assumed the soft sound was right, but have now heard the hard from so many reporters on the scene that I am thinking I could be wrong. I wish I had stayed in touch with some of my old Persian friends!
Casaella_irene on June 18th, 2009 01:35 pm (UTC)
My father speaks Farsi, but I can't get at him right now. For absolutely no reason, I think it might by 'Ah'.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 18th, 2009 01:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you. And your post yesterday had my heart in my mouth. Alas, my brain was full of snot and so I could not tell you this.
Cheryl Dysondysonrules on June 18th, 2009 02:20 pm (UTC)
I love your brain. Just sayin'. *huggles*

blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 18th, 2009 02:21 pm (UTC)
You're just laughing at me about the Dalek thing, aren't you? I know ;-)
Cheryl Dysondysonrules on June 18th, 2009 02:28 pm (UTC)
I would never laugh at you! (very much) *grin*

Actually, this is the most thoughtful and intelligent post I've read on this. I've jumped on the Twitter bandwagon, of course, even though I have to wonder if it makes a damn bit of difference. Even though they have been "the enemy" so many times, I just can't help but think of the families of the slain students. Regardless of what everyone believes, at the heart of it, their families still love them and are most likely heartbroken at their loss.

There are no good political systems, really. I mean, look at this fucked-up country. Half the people I know are out of a job and in danger of losing their homes.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 18th, 2009 02:36 pm (UTC)
I think the Twitter ID change could help, and at least cannot hurt.

And I'm old enough to remember when the Islamic Revolution was the good option, sort of ... You're aboslutely right, it comes down to these people being people, who are loved by their families and who deserve their lives.

You can laugh, my hat choices alone deserve it ;-)
Cheryl Dysondysonrules on June 18th, 2009 02:39 pm (UTC)
That's what I was thinking, although I chose to live in Arak rather than Tehran because I like the sound of it. *is shallow*

You have a point about the hats.

Catscatsintheattic on June 18th, 2009 03:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you for posting about this. I trust your posts to be thought through and well informed, which makes them a very informative read.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 18th, 2009 03:30 pm (UTC)
Alas, all the information I can find here does here is point out that the situation is terribly confused and confusing, aside from the certainty that protesters have been killed and are being oppressed.
Catscatsintheattic on June 18th, 2009 03:42 pm (UTC)
Yes, but comming from you, I trust the information, because I trust you to research well.
Leochileochi on June 18th, 2009 03:51 pm (UTC)
Apparently the Ah in the first syllable is spoken very softly:

The girl says Ahmadinedjad at 0:47; I'm sorry the German translater is so loud one can hardly listen to the original.

E McGeemelusinahp on June 18th, 2009 05:49 pm (UTC)
Fantastic post on the subject. Thank you so much.
Shivshiv5468 on June 18th, 2009 05:59 pm (UTC)
What, you mean the situation is complex and can't be simply resolved to someone being evil and someone being all white-hatted.

Well I never!

At least the BBC are being a bit sane on the issue.
lilian_cho: Aziraphale also worshiped bookslilian_cho on June 18th, 2009 06:28 pm (UTC)
If it's not a soft Ah, wouldn't it be "Akhmad"?

With S. Asian names & Middle Eastern names, I've always pronounced it the way they're spelled.
(Except for "v," which is more like a "w")

This is why Irish names are so confusing to me!
Bubba: Black Hatabsynthedrinker on June 18th, 2009 07:36 pm (UTC)
As a Farsi speaker i can tell you that it is a soft "ah". Thank you for your thoughtful & clear-sighted views on a precarious and sometimes confusing situation.
Amazing Little Ecosystemwinterthunder on June 19th, 2009 12:13 am (UTC)
I don't know if you read <a href = "www.juancole.com> Juan Cole's blog </a>, but he's had a really good running commentary on the Iranian situation. The second posting is currently an analysis of that poll.
Meredythmeredyth_13 on June 19th, 2009 01:04 am (UTC)
Thank you - for such a clear and informed summation of what the hell's going on. I am loathe to take the mainstream media at any value of its word, so have been reserving judgement/emotional commitment at this point.

I'm becoming a tad disturbed by some of the calls for westerners to 'mask' their twitter information to show it as being from Iran. I know people tend to feel frustrated and unable to help but to my mind, ignorant and emotional fake messaging really isn't a way to help.