Tehran In The Past 10 Hours
Payvand.com - The election fever was amazing in Iran. In the debates Ahmadinejad proved his cheap and vulgar ways. Instead of focusing on his record as a mature statesman and an incumbent he started to defame some of the political pillars who have served this country in the last 30 years. A true form of spitting in one's own face. He was so heavily defeated in the debate with Mr. Rezai a former war hero and a right winger with a plan, that I imagined many should have lost trust in him. The morning after the debate with Mousavi I checked with 2 older taxi drivers and they said he made a fool out of himself by his attacks. So I felt even our masses had picked up the man's lack of dignity.
On Wed night I was stuck in huge election fever traffic jams across Tehran. I arrived home at 2am. On freeways I would say cars with Mousavi signs outnumbered Ahmadinejad supporter cars by 6-7 to 1. In squares and some key street corners where Ahmadinejad supporters were purposely stationed and not moving I saw a maximum ratio of 5-3 for Mousavi vs. Ahmadinejad supporters.
Then came the day before the election (Thursday). All people had removed their posters and banners from their cars as this was supposed to be the no-campaign cool-off day. I was overwhelmed by our people's respect for the laws and felt so good that after 30 years and many many elections our people's level of maturity has gone up.
On the election day I was truly shocked by the length of queues formed in front of polling stations. Only 4 years ago I voted at noon in a polling station that had me and my wife as the only people voting. This time people voted who had never voted for 30 years. It seemed to me that people wanted Ahmadinejad out of the office and they felt that 4 years ago they assumed the Rafsanjani Ahmadinejad competition was a farce and they said "Of course Rafsanjani will win" and we had our weak turn-outs in Tehran. Now our people knew that by staying home a man would come to become our president with very weak morals, no eloquence, no vision, a man who has chosen his colleagues and ministers from some of the shallowest right wingers we have (Oh well, we do have some strong, consistent and heavy duty right wingers like Dr. Sobhani and Eliass Naderan in the parliament who were his strongest and correct criticizers in the last 4 years), a man who would destroy the budget and planning organization to allow his whims do whatever he pleases in his trips to the provinces. A man who squanders oil money in an unprecedented way. In the last 30 years we never saw billboards on freeways that would openly say "Made in Korea" or "Made in Germany" for such lowly products like Kitchen utensils or aluminum home window frames. In the past 30 years we have never seen a government with such low support for local industry, and the universities.
I looked for polling stations and the 4th site in an old surviving village mosque in NorthWest Tehran seemed OK. The queue was only made of 15 people but by the time we stepped out there were 50-60 people standing in a queue in the mosque's small yard.
Three of my trusted friends were Mousavi election observers in the extreme western Tehran (Olympic Village area) and in Ghazvin Square in the southwest of Tehran. Non of them slept on Friday night as they were counting votes and they told me that the ratio was roughly 70% to 30% in favor of Mousavi. The guy who was the election observer in a regional center in Ghazvin Square and had seen the tallies of 10 boxes as an official said the ratio was 55% to 45% in favor of Mousavi.
On Sat morning as I woke up I see the amazing statistics of 2 to 1 in favor of Ahmadinejad. I dressed in black to go to work. How is that possible? And if possible it is a day of mourning for me anyway. Who is Ahmadinejad? He is only 52 now. He was 48 when elected before. He could boast in his background being the governor of Ardebil, and the mayor of Tehran, plus a Civil Engineering PhD thesis he had earned while being a governor!! The other right wingers at the time, who were much more qualified were Dr. Larijani and Dr. Ghalibaf. So how did this man come to our political life to begin with? Now that we have had Ghalibaf as Tehran mayor for 4 years and we have seen his management ... we can ask... Ahmady Who? Yes that was my reaction last time when he was a candidate. I did not even bother to watch his TV interviews? Who would vote for a dark horse, unknown Tehran mayor? When He got into the 2nd round I was truly shocked. I asked my friends who had voted for him??? One of my trusted friends said he did vote for him and this was because he was told to vote for him but he could not tell me who told him! Later we realized that the Bassij and Sepaah with some tacit approval of the leader had told all their ranks to support him. This is how a true dark horse became Ahmadinejad to begin with. The leader's support, plus lack of serious participation by the masses in the election 4 years ago. In the first few months I enjoyed his outspoken criticism of the west and his courage, but soon I realized that behind this courage is no brains. I also realized as time went on that even the right wing calls him "Mashverat Napazir" meaning a person who does not care about advice and advisers... Ahmadinejad is a man I would take with me as my team-mate to a high-school debate. He is only good in polemics, and is so fast in responding to anything, but with the brain of a high-school student! This was why as time went on I started to feel ashamed of this man being my president.
It is 4:30pm on Saturday. I knew that something was going to happen. My generation was responsible for the revolution 30 years ago. My office is near ValiAsr near the ministry of interior which is responsible for the elections. At around 4:30pm I noted people walking all in one way. I slowly walked to Vali Asr street. I saw the clashes there. One man with a broken nose bone below eyebrows, and many people who were throwing the ValiAsr heavy sidewalk stones towards the anti riot police line. The police marched forward and the people would all run back and then they stopped and walked back towards the police and throw their heavy stones. The people were shouting death to the dictator. Tear gas was used. I decided to walk back. As I was slowly retreating with the crowd one tear gas charge fell next to my feet. All plastic garbage cans were put on fire by the people in the middle of the street. I had never seen or experienced tear gas. I was studying in US when the revolution happened. I did not breath and kept walking. In a few seconds my face was full of sweat and I could not see and I could not breath. I felt I would lose my conscience and fall down. I tried to go inside a building for help but the door was closed. I walked and went into a home with an open door. There were a few others like me too. The lady in the home told us all to persevere. I asked her to let me wash my face. She said no do not do that. Instead she burned a newspaper near my face. I stayed there for a few minutes and walked back to my office.
It is 5:30pm and from my office window I see an ugly face. A country with so much talent, a united people, a leader in our region, a strong non-aligned country torn like this. The anti-riot police attacked and the protestors would retreat and then they would come back in a wave with their death to dictator slogans. After the first row of anti-riot police a 2nd row came 80% in antiriot gear but obviously not as disciplined and trained as the first row. They were mixed with plain-clothes security forces who had sticks in their hand that could best be described as "chomagh". Several buses started to burn in the near-by streets. At around 6:30pm we decided to abandon our cars in the office and simply walk till we get out of the situation. My concern was that after darkness the plain clothes officers could possibly do anything. I walked alone towards "park-savar Beihaghi". I walked about 3 KM. It appeared that the clashes were everywhere that was somehow connected to ValiAsr Ave. We had to use side streets to come home as it was obvious that the clashes were still continuing in key squares and cross roads.
It is around 8pm I see cars with the green ribbons and people showing their fingers in the form of a V and honking and with their lights turned on and flashers blinking.
At home I show the films on my mobile to my surprised family.
I try to check internet... many sites are blocked that were not blocked before. There is no SMS since Friday morning. Connecting to news sites inside and outside the country is so slow I wonder if there is a deliberate load put on internet. I try to watch the TV... the leader's message is being read by the announcer. The leader is rejoicing the huge truly unprecedented turn-out. Yeah... I believe all these people came to elect this shallow man as our president, or no the people came to kick this man out of the office and elect a respectable war time prime minister to bring some dignity to our international image and our politics.
It is 11pm and Mr. Haidari the respectable political analysis TV host is talking to Kuala Lumpur and Beirut and US to see how the huge turn-out has been perceived outside. Nothing... nothing on Vali Asr Ave!!!! Then Ahmadinejad is on the tube with his typical sarcastic and cheap polemics trying to imitate a winner. In US, a professional politician after winning is thankful to his supporters and has soothing words for his opposition and appreciates his rival. Here 30 years after our grand revolution we have to graduate from a respectable politician like Khatami to this low level man who wants to still organize a rally tomorrow afternoon in the Vali Asr Square even though he knows that he lacks the votes in Tehran. I would take this to a city where he had a majority instead of instigating Tehran people to more street fights. The strong polemics man is now going to become the strong clash man. What does he think? Where is he? And I am sorry to say where is the leader who brought this truly worthless president to the limelight 4 years ago and is still supporting him despite this man's lack of respect for anything sacred in our revolution. The saddest part is that one of the popular short messages before the election circling around was on Ahmadinejad 4 years from now on TV saying "Begam?" "Begam?" (Should I say? Should I ask?) Mr. Leader where and when did you get your religious credentials? This is not a joke but a strong warning about a man who breeds on clashes.
Dear leader, tomorrow when this low level recipe of your wants to do his rally in Vali Asr Square people could simply walk on the streets all over Tehran near their homes in peaceful defiance and honking their horns in traffic jams. How many of these anti-riot police can you muster? For a 10 million city. Remember the call of the late Imam when he asked the people not to go home? And today one of the anti-riot police who saw my face and my white beard asked me with full respect to walk away and told me U R not like these (pointing to the people!). He feels that he is fighting the enemies. Tomorrow when this idiotic pseudo politician who despite the shock of all of our intelligentsia enjoys your full, yet truly undeserving support, will talk in Vali Asr Square, all of these Anti-riot police will realize that they are simply fighting the people. And, your man who breeds on tension is seeking tension and violence and he will simply get it. I personally hold you responsible for all this mess.
Here are some key questions and requests from our leader Hazrat Aghaye Khamenei who must act and has acted as the last bastion of strength of our system:
... Payvand News - 06/14/09 ... --