By Fariba Amini, United States
We had so much hope; we had so much invested in this election, an election that most Iranians believed would bring about a new face to lead this torn country of Iran to a better future; but alas, it all went down with a coup. Last Friday, like most Iranian Americans, I went to cast my vote and I voted for Mir Hossein Musavi even though I was skeptical. I told the people at the Iranian Interest Section in Washington, D.C. that I hoped that after 30 years we would see a better future for Iran.
Protesters in Tehran on July 18 - photo by Syma Sayyah
They said Inshallah!
Just prior to the elections, journalist friends of mine emailed from Iran, "this is our last hope, Musavi is not our best choice but in a country where choices are limited and freedom is in short supply, we have to take what we have and he is the one who we think may bring us a ray of hope."
With his message of greater freedom, Musavi was that ray of hope in a country where the supreme leader makes all the decisions for seventy million people.
Yet the hope quickly faded. The next day, as the votes were supposedly being counted, in sham and in shame, I was on Facebook with friends from Iran, chatting with a student as he was besieged at Tehran University. He told me about a coup d'etat taking place. "Our votes," he added, "counted for nothing. Everything was a fraud and now we are surrounded by the security forces; we cannot even get out of our dormitories." I told him, "please be careful and don't go out, we don't want more martyrs." He said in response, "it is too late; today we have to determine the rest of our future, a future that has been taken away from us again." I am not sure what has happened to him since our last conversation.
Ahmadinejad is the point man and a little dictator. The big dictator and the real decision maker is no other than Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. A man who three decades ago was nameless, then found power, abused it, and now refuses to cede any of it, has hijacked the future of Iranians. By refusing to accept the people's vote, he is undermining popular sovereignty. The real culprit is Khamenei, whose fake piety cannot conceal his deceitfulness, and who will certainly go down in history as a malevolent leader.
Last Friday, Iranians massively sent a message to both dictators, that enough is enough. Their vote spoke of freedom, the right to lead normal lives.
Late Saturday, after the votes were "counted" it was clear that the outcome was the result of massive pre-planned fraud. ;People had come by the millions to vote but their votes were stolen from them. To many, these elections were the last chance for peaceful change.
People were bewildered, heartbroken, and then angry. They felt betrayed. In 1953, a foreign led coup orchestrated by the US and Britain took away our hopes; this time a homegrown one has taken away our future.
Life has been harsh for Iranians under Ahmadinejad. They will face four more years of bleakness if his victory is confirmed.
Already dozens of reformists, among them well known journalists, have been arrested and viciously beaten. Their homes searched and their belongings confiscated. A journalist friend of mine emailed me saying: "please do what you can; please write and tell the world what is happening in Iran." This was a day before the security forces in their sophisticated gears began attacking peaceful demonstrators, before the brutalities began, before internet and phone lines were interrupted. Unarmed students were attacked, murdered and their dorms ransacked, all under the watchful eyes of the whole world. It is as if one were watching a horror movie, but this is not a movie anymore. It is real, very real and very tragic.
With this election, and the events that have followed, our hopes and aspirations may have been diminished again. Now we just have to wait, sit still or rise above it, act and take matters into our hands - or maybe wait for an air attack by Israel's Netanyahu.
Today, Iran is more vulnerable than ever before. Today, I cry for my country.
About the author: Fariba Amini, journalist, human rights activist and author of Faces of Successful Iranian Americans published by the US Department of State and a Musavi voter.
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