Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Iranian presidential elections - from the blogs

Tomorrow sees the culmination of Iran's presidential campaigns. Millions of Iranians will go to their polling stations and vote. Millions won't. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians in the diaspora will vote too.

The BBC does have a review of a documentary about Iranian teens and their lives, Mousavi and women's rights, a background to the election, questions about Ahmadinejad and how much support he still has, on the campaign trail (although it describes Ahmadinejad's supporters as salt-of-the-earth types and Mousavi's as internet nerds), the economy and rural communities versus debauched urbanites. New York Times has a video about the election. POMED is doing a good job keeping track of the election news in the Western press (more, more and more).

The opinion from a lot of Iranian English-language blogs has been there people should vote...

If even for one day, for one hour, for one minute over the past four years you have worried about a possible attack on Iran, if you have felt shame about things that have happened in Iran, about the way Iran has been represented to the world, or for words that were said by someone else but whose weight you have carried, consider participating in the elections and showing that you care. (source: From Berkley)

For many, this election is more than a renewal of allegiance. It's something with a real, tangible outcome. Maybe not the end of the Islamic Republic, but certainly an opportunity for a shift in power. And that's why the different factions are competing so fiercely and will stop at nothing to win.

Tehran has painted itself green. Mousavi voters are showing their support. And the support for Ahmadinejad from the trendy young people who've suffered so much (for fashion) under his presidency, boggles the mind.

Mousavi and Karroubi are not the ideal reformist candidates. They may have been able to pass the Guardian Council, but both have history.

Mousavi's political transformation from the President at the time of the 1988 massacres of political prisoners to becoming the hope and aspirations for a more open society is impressive. Azarmehr reminds us who Mousavi's (current) supporters were back then. Even giving Mousavi the benefit of the doubt, maybe he was weak, isolated, unable to interfere... he's still surrounded himself in his campaign with some disreputable thugs.

Blogs seem to be doing a better job than larger media outlets to give some insight into what's happening in Iran and also Iranian opinions on the election.

The daily news updates on the Iranian election campaigns from Iran Tracker have been really useful, especially for giving a flavour to the press coverage inside Iran.

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