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Saturday, June 18, 2005

To the polls

The Iranians are going to the polls. It's a sham democracy, really, as only candidates vetted by the Mullahs have been allowed to run. The Guardian's weblog looks at the options and asks the key question: "do you boycott the election or vote for a reformer who would probably struggle to drive through change?"
With no free press, bloggers are our only real way of gaining the Iranian perspective, rather than Western journalists flown into Tehran for a few days.
Hossein Derakhshan, an Iranian living in Canada, but currently back in Iran, comments on the many failings of the Western press while reporting the momentous election.
Iranian theocracy will fall one day. Hopefully soon. But what would replace it?


Blogger Iqbal Khaldun said...

Obviously that's impossible to predict with any certainty. Still, there are many positive signs, perhaps most notably because Iran has a very young population. That's not to stray away from the obvious negatives (persecution of minorities springs to mind, as do many other things). But I think a good litmus test of a vibrant society is the existence of lively paradoxes. Iran has plenty of those. Historically, it's been a place where ideas and cultures meet and mix. Yet it is better known in the West as a theocracy whose highest religious leader popularised the word fatwa. Yet even under theocratic rule Iran's historical tendencies have been difficult to suppress.

From the Australian perspective, I think there's something we can do apart from press our noses on the glass. If Western powers, principally the US antagonise the nation state of Iran, it's likely to promote the stifling of democracy within Iranian society. There's a real sense of imminent invasion from the US in Iran, and with good reason. In times of insecurity, people are more easily suppressed.

Much as Europe is quietly doing, Australia should be increasing ties with Iran. But not just economic ties, social ties as well. A more objective Middle East policy would also help.

One more thing. Just about every media outlet has neglected to notice an important thing. Unlike most Western nations in which voting is not compulsory, voter turn out in Iran appears to be very high, maybe even higher than ever before. That's an (initially) encouraging sign.

Sunday, June 19, 2005 12:45:00 am  
Anonymous Guy said...

Hopefully not a Bush-installed psuedo-democracy!

Monday, June 20, 2005 8:47:00 am  

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