Ever since the Persian nation went to polls some days back, the world had been waiting with baited breath for the results to come out. In fact, more than the local candidates, the global leaders seemed to have more at stake, starting from the very top from Mr. Obama to Monsieur Sarkozy. The interest level could be gauged by the direct address made by Obama to the Iranian public (which had been largely blacked out by the national media) exhorting them to vote for a change, which could be simply translated as anybody but the current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
And where the western leaders stopped, the western media came in. Over the past few weeks, almost all the major news channels right from BBC to CNN have been airing special documentaries on the life and politics of Iran. Watching them, it is not hard to miss the subtext to it all, “Ahmadinejad is evil, Mousavi is the savoir. So vote for green”. Over and over again, people were shown the two Irans that live side by side; a modern nation of youths eager to break the shackles and the ancient land of peasants who just want to subsist on government subsidies. Images of young people with spiked and streaked hair, waving the “V” for victory glared at you through the screen. It seemed to be more Idaho than Iran. All through the past few weeks, the channels emphasised how life in Iran had taken a turn for the worse, and how badly Ahmadinejad had failed. It was as if Mousavi had enlisted the help of all these news channels in his battle for Iranian president ship.
But all that fell flat, when the results came out, the bugbear won and won handsomely; Ahmadinejad cornered some 63% of votes versus 34% that of Mousavi. All hopes of a Green Revolution on the lines of the Orange and Purple ones came crashing down to the ground. The verdict is quite unequivocal, even if there have been some irregularities in the process, they can in no manner bridge the immense gap between the victor and the challenger. For good or for worse, Iranians have chosen Ahmadinejad to represent and to lead them.
Yet, the Oracles of change have still not come to terms with the real scenario on ground and are living in a state of denial. Media houses across the western hemisphere are now harping up the street clashes that are taking place in a few cities of Iran, namely Tehran, etc. BBC and CNN reporters are profiling the youth brigade as they pelt stones and projectiles at the police and anti-riot forces. A few hundred or a few thousand of these unruly youngsters are shown as freedom fighters doing a noble thing. If these channels are to be believed, it is another Tiananmen Square in the making.
On the contrary, these journalists seem to be living in a fool’s paradise, a victim of their own propaganda. While vouching for Mousavi and his green revolution, they came to believe in the doctrine that they preached. They weren’t observers in the process but participants betting against Ahmadinejad and only lost. And now they are venting their frustration by trying to belittle his victory, by trying to prove that it was all a sham and how he has cheated a much deserved Mousavi. Americans, Canadians have all expressed their reservations on the outcome of the results.
Sadly, it is a spectacle that keeps repeating over and over again, in the elections in Gaza (won by Hamas), in Venezuela (Chavez) or Bolivia (Morales). The hegemony of the US Empire seems to be withering in a modern world, and the earlier all came to live with it would be better.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the elected president to one of the world’s oldest continuous major civilizations, with historical and urban settlements dating back to 7000 BC. Thus, whether one likes or not, one has to learn to respect the overwhelming verdict of the Iranian populace. Ahmadinejad might not fit into our definition of a modern, secular, democraticist but as long as he is acceptable to his people, he should be to all of us. And I exhort the same to all my media brethren sitting in studios of London, New York and Tel Aviv, the early you will swallow the bitter pill it will be better for you. Learn to live and deal with Ahmadinejad, at least for the next four years (while you continue at his roots). Better luck next time.
A few links of the ‘living in denial’ stories:
- After a Disputed Election, Tehran’s Streets Become a battleground (http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1904577,00.html)
- U.S., Canada challenge Iranian election result; Other nations take wait-and-see approach as country descends into chaos after vote (http://www.freep.com/article/20090614/NEWS07/906140457/U.S.++Canada+challenge+Iranian+election+result+challenge+Iranian+election+result)
- Iran reformists held after street clashes (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8099218.stm)
- Street fights, record turnout mark Iranian election (http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jun/14/turmoil-over-election-results/)