Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Kamenei

Welcome, “walk on my eyes”: Iran

“Walk on my eyes” or (Qadamet ro cheschm) is an expression of politeness in Iran to welcome someone home.  The Swiss journalist Serge Michel and the photographer Paolo Woods have been covering Iran, on and off, since 1998, every time the Iranian government felt the urge to be kept alive in world public eyes.  Serge and Paolo were asked to leave, a few weeks after the latest election in June 2009.  They witnessed the upheavals during and after the Iranian Presidential election.

Serge and Paolo realized that the Iranians are fundamentally a happy people, well comfortable in their environment and their culture.  They had the idea of “Happy Iran” as title.  Serge did some historical search and discovered that the Iranians or Persians (as the Syrians ans Lebanese) were not warriors, but merchants, artisans, traders, mariners, poets, and peasants: They hired war mercenaries during the successive Persian Empires. Warrior empires such as the Moguls, Afghans, Macedonians, Romans, Turks, and central Asian people conquered Iran since antiquity and ended up meshing with the Iranian culture and blend nicely within Iran.

This article is the first installment in reviewing the book and I will focus on the eye-witness accounts of the journalists prior, during, and after the election process.

It would be useful for a gross brush of the conditions In Iran before the June 2009 election.

The opposition candidate, Hussein Moussavi, had for allies the urban upper and middle classes, the bazar merchants, and the urban clerics or mullahs:  The urban mullahs wanted to weaken the Rahbar (Supreme Guide) Kamenei in order to regain lost power and re-dip freely in the treasury.  President Ahmadinejad had for allies the countryside, the poor clerics in the countryside, the bassidjis (Revolution Guards), and the majority of the lower middle class (the patriots aghast with western powers’ pressures) residing in the poorer quarters in urban centers.  It is to be noted that urban centers dwellers are as populous as countryside people in Iran.  The army had no interest supporting the opposition since Iran was embarking on self-sufficiency in manufacturing the military hardware:  The army was in no mood of renegotiating the defense budget.

Teheran June 3, 2009 (A week before election):  I listened to the televised debate Moussavi/Ahmadinejad with friends.  Over 50 million Iranians must have been watching this first in 30 years. Ahmadi exhibited an illegible document proving the wife of Moussavi got her teaching job at the university by fraud; he challenged Moussavi to declare the sources of his campaign funds (Ahmadi could draw from the government treasury).  Moussavi replied: “Your foreign policies are humiliating the dignity of the Iranians.  You are an exhibitionist, superstitious, and extremist President.”

In front of the TV station on Vali-Asr street, hundreds of Ahmadi’s supporters are chanting and beating their chests as during Ashura. They have converged from the poorer southern parts of Teheran.  The richer classes are concentrated in the northern parts.

Shiraz June 5:  Moussavi’s supporters, wearing green attire, are driving in private cars, in a long caravan for miles, waving green posters and honking all the way; a first in Iran in the last 30 years.  I am interviewing a Pasdar (revolutionary guard); as we passed a shop selling western DVD movies the Pasdar said: “As the election is over, these kinds of shops will be closed.”

Teheran, June 8: A night manifestation by Moussavi’s supporters at Palestine Square.  They are chanting “Death to the little dictator”.  They are university students of Amir Abad:  In 1999, the bassidjis killed several students and a week-long of riots ensued.  The march ends at 4 am.

Teheran June 9:  Big gathering of Moussavi’s supporters at the Vali-Asr Square.  Everything is in color green: T-shirts, baseball caps, veils, flags, and ribbons.  Ahmadi had recently distributed potatoes to the needy quarters in Teheran.  The masses of Moussavi are chanting “Potato government.  I don’t want” and “Ahmadi bye-bye.”  It was a march of two hours.

Teheran June 10:  The election campaign is to end at midnight, but Moussavi’s supporters are enjoying a victory carnival.  Sound tracks are blasting and people are dancing in the streets.  A couple of female teenagers are chanting: “A week, two weeks that Ahmadi had not taken a shower.”

Teheran 12:  Election Day.  Moussavi’s supporters are joyous and confident in victory.  Long files on voting booths in the northern parts of Teheran.  In the evening, F calls me crying: “I am in Moussavi headquarter. The bassidjis attacked us with sticks and destroyed our computers.  They arrested the managers.  The police has sealed our center. It is a State coup.”  The bassidjis have clamped down on the Moussavi daily on Zartocht Street.  Columns of military trucks are celebrating.  Moussavi had declared at 11 pm: “The minister of the Interior told me that I won the election”

Teheran June 13:  The forces of order are massively present in front of the ministry of the Interior where the voting polls are counted.  The forces had disbanded a demonstration in the morning and arrested 20 people. A violent combat is taking place on Vanak Square and tear gas are used.  People burn newspaper sheets to counter the effects of tear gas. The night is witnessing pockets of resistance; buses are burned and grandmothers are burning waste bins on the streets.  A friend tells me a joke: “Ahmadi split his hair in two parts:  the right part for male lice and the left for the female counterparts.”

Teheran June 14:  Ahmadi delivers his victory speech at Vali-Asr Square; he lambasted his opponents as detritus and bad losers; hooligans after football games.

Teheran June 15: Maybe two million are marching from Enkilab (Revolution) Square toward Azadi (Liberty) Square.  Balconies are empty: everybody descended to the streets chanting: “Who voted for this monkey?”; “Yo, atomic athlete, you must be tired, Go home.”

Teheran June 16:  A young girl enters the fast food establishment and changes her green veil to a black one.  She told me: “I managed to escape the bassidjis”  After she ate her roasted chicken she paid with a 5,000 toumans  ($4) bill; the bill had a poem scribbled in a green ink: “The detritus is you; the passion is me.  Cruelty is you; impetuouss is me.  Iran is mine.”  Ahmadi’s manifestation took place at 3 pm and the Moussavi demonstration at 5 pm at the Vanak Place.

Teheran June 17:  Moussavi’s manifestation is marching from Haft-e Tir to the university.  The timing of the march is set 30 minutes after the portable phones are disconnected and the gathering place is known by word of mouth.  It seems that the Iranians rekindled old-time communication habits after the government began shutting down phone lines. A banner inscribed a poem by Hamid Mossadegh: “denounce the dishonests. Rekindle oriental solidarity.  If I get up and you get up, everyone will get up.”

Teheran June 18:  Moussavi is acclaimed as a rock star at the Ferdowsi Place.

Teheran June 19, a Friday:  Kamenei deliver a speech at the mosque.  Everyone already know what is the message and that England will be the target.  Ahmadi leaves in a 4*4 and briefly waves: a thunderous acclaim greets him.

For a month, the “green movement” never missed an occasion or an event to gather on mass.  In Iran, every week has major events to celebrate or to remember: religious dates, anniversaries of martyrs, Jerusalem Day… During Ashura, Moussavi’s supporters chanted “Mir-Hossein” instead of “Ya Hussein.”  Every night, chanting emanate from rooftops “Death to the dictator” and “Allah Akbar”.  For the anniversary of the revolution in Feb. 2010, the TV was asked not to show sections of demonstrations against the Shah: they reminded the people of the current furors.

Adonis49 opinion:  Ahmadi won the election.  The small margin was not appreciated by the Rahbar Kamenei.  The crackdown on the Moussavi’s “green movement” at the eve of the result counting and the following weeks was mainly a preemptive show of force meaning: “We have won.  Do not count on us to negotiating sharing power”.  More precisely, the Rahbar Khamenei was sending the strong message: “You, mullahs and Ayatollahs of urban centers in Teheran, Shiraz, Mashhad, Tabriz, and Isfahan, you go to hell.  I am the Supreme Guide and I won’t be sharing power.””

“Beyond, beyong Obama”: Bi-weekly report (#27); (July 21, 2009)

 

            Do you recall the slogan “Beyond Haifa, and then beyond, beyond Haifa”?  This most effective warning of Hassan Nasr Allah was intended to Israel if it contemplated a full fledge war on Lebanon in July 2006; Hezbollah missiles did hit Haifa and beyond, beyond Haifa.

            Sayyed Hassan revamped this slogan and extended it beyond the limited borders of the Near East region.  To the Arab and Moslem masses he proclaimed that the successive US Administrations will never pressure Israel to abide by the UN resolutions and behave as one of the normal States; Sayyed Hassan warned that our problems will worsen “beyond, beyond Obama”. 

            The speech was for the people to get over the propaganda of the State leaders that would want us to believe that the US is ready to bring a resolution any time soon.  Sayyed Hassan lambasted the Arab and a few other Moslem States who are constantly ready to oblige the dictates of the US Administrations and extend hands to Israel without any practical returns. As if 60 years of experimenting with Israel pre-emptive wars need further dialogue to comprehend the Zionist ideology.  The Secretary General of Hezbollah clearly proclaimed that Israel has become a mercenary State for the interest of the US in the region (since 1960); he was adamant that he never asked for any political guarantees for retaining the military potentials neither from Lebanese leaders nor from foreign powers.

 

            Sayyed Hassan is willing to extend the prime minister designate Saad Hariri all the time he needs to form a unity government.  This is simple rhetoric to cool it down. Everybody else is demanding Hariri to get on with his job and have a government running by the end of July. I warned in  my previous bi-weekly report (#26) that the more Hariri lingers the readier is Israel to start another wave of assassination to destabilize Lebanon. What do I know?  I can review the events in the last three years and extrapolate the consequences.  It is no secret that Israel has started heating the south borders by trying to antagonize the UNIFEL with the Lebanese citizens waiting for the UN report and decision in August with respect of extending the mandate of the UN forces with a few alterations.  August is going to be a hot month unless a Lebanese unity government is running before then.

 

            Pakistan military incursions into the Taliban type Swat region are no longer in the media.  The US is already proclaiming military defeat in Afghanistan.  India is urged to relieve pressures on Pakistan so that it can focus its forces to resolving its internal serious problems.  Political solutions in Afghanistan are already contemplated.

 

            Iran election was no fraud.  Late Ayatollah Komeini demanded that election of the President and the supreme leader be done by popular vote and the procedure and process are very detailed and controlled that prevent any kinds of technical frauds on the scale the media would like us to believe.  The duration of the counting of 7 hours was the same as the election in 2005 since it didn’t involve parliamentary or municipal voting members.  There were in total 61,000 voting centers, 47,000 in fixed locations and 14,000 moving centers so that each center welcomed 500 voters.

            The duo Ahmadinajad and Kamenei were investing resources in the rural areas and bypassing the clerical cast. Besides the Capital Teheran that has 13 millions citizens, 17 other urban cities of over half a million each contain about 13 milions.  The remaining 45 milions dwell in towns of less than 100,000.  Ahmadinajad focused his economical aids on the rural areas and alienated the clergy cast by not using it as intermediary in the financial distribution.

            The demonstrators were not the pro-reformists attributed to the other candidates but the supporters of the clergy cast fearing a crackdown on its privileges.  The duo Ahmadinajad and Kamenie sent the strong signal to the clergy to make room for reforms. The Iranian clergy cast thought of riding the wave of the western media and uncovered its schemes.  Iran is poised for reforms; its top priorities are internal; the external pressures are “beyond Obama” but they are the least scary or worrisome to the regime.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

May 2020
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