Friday, June 24, 2005

Waiting for Results

Ever since I came back from voting I've been glued to the IRI T.V. stations, waiting for some preliminary announcement about the results. TBut they are airing so many self-glorifying speeches, hyper-nationlist songs and poetry, that you'd think a revolution had just occurred, not an election.

Right now they are interviewing a pair of teenage boys, on of whom is wearing a NY yankees baseball cap of all things, and the one without the hat is saying that one of the motivations for him voting is to show the world and those who want to interfere in our affairs that Iranians will decide their own fate, just like they did when they voted for an Islamic Republic in a national referendum after the revolution. The gum-chewing, Yankee baseball cap boy is nodding enthusiastically at this part about the referendum.

The fact that I grudgingly voted for Rafsanjani and that I have been watching to this non-stop flag waiving "my iran this" and "my iran that" on the TV is making me feel pretty pukey, but it is really interesting to see the Iranians at the various polling stations all over iran and around the world. They are going to all the provinces, so you get to hear all the great local accents and languages and really see the diversity of the Iranian population. They even made a point of showing and interviewing some conspicuously sunni iranians in line to vote, I couldn't really pinpoint the accent but I think they were Baluch. And now they have moved on to the province of Western Azarbaijan where they are talking to a priest in Oromieh . The Azari music is really nice, especially since I can't understand all the nationalist self-celebration (except of course the part where they are saying "iran, iran", the chorus in every song they've played no matter what the local language).

The other cool thing is that they are covering the international polling stations set up to serve iranian ex-pats. In the U.S. alone there are 35 polling places, but who knew that there would be 5 stations in Malaysia, for example. So far, I've seen interviews and scenes from polls in Germany, Turkey, Malaysia, India, UK, Pakistan, and some other places which seemed European but I'm not sure.

I asked at my polling station today what their stats were from the first round. The man in charge told me that Rafsanjani had been first, Moeen second, and Ahmadinejhad third. I have my own theories on why the results turned out as such in this particular area, but I'll spare you.

Meanwhile I am still waiting to hear anything, even speculation, about the outcome of the elections. Z8un is reporting some disturbing news about her personal interactions with lots of unlikely people who were intent on voting for Ahmadinejhad. They seemed to have seen a few interviews with him and have become convinced that he is a good man against whom those in power have conducted a smear campaign. They were impressed, for example, that he refuses to take a salary for his job as a mayor (he still teaches at the university and lives off that), that he lives in a modest home, and acts in a humble way.

Frankly, and as I was insinuating yesterday, I was starting to fall for it as well. But even if i were as sure of Ahmadinejhad being an honest man as i am that Rafsanjani is a dishonest one, I don't think my vote would have changed.

This is the sad and ugly reality of the maddening choices you have to make as an Iranian today.