Forever Under Construction

Sir, wait your turn!

Posted in Elections, Iran by homeyra on May 29, 2009

The previous Iranian presidential election coincided with my discovery of the internet. I already used a PC for most of my work but not much the internet. Reading local publications and watching movies were enough for my spare time. The net seemed a messy place; I didn’t know where to start. The slow and erratic dial up connection didn’t make it any easier.

The 2005 election was one of my motives to go through the internet to figure out what was going on. There were many sites related to the elections, and I started to discover young Iranian bloggers who had made of Iran the third most blogging nation of that time.

Today, with the presidential elections in two weeks, the Iranian net is full of articles and posts by bloggers from all side of the spectrum discussing or sharing their evaluation of the candidates.

To have a taste of what is going on check Pedestrian (who doesn’t want a first lady), Naj and Shahrzad who has translated the opinion of each candidate’s supporters. You can also browse doxdo (a feed reader of English blogs by Iranians). There is more activity in blogs written in Persian. I have just translated what a facetuous Mandana has to say:

Sir, Wait your turn!
When I read the news that while applicants were kept behind the door Mr. Karoubi was allowed in to register for the presidential elections, and others were able to enter and register only after he was done, this came to my mind:
Isn’t there supposed to be an order to register to the presidential election? I mean they show up, they line up, and then register when it’s their turn, right? Or one can also register by appointment? Can anyone have an appointment? Are these pretentious big heads who are going to run our country serious on such an elementary issue as respecting others? I mean will they wait like everyone else for their turn or use the privilege card to shortcut?
I will only vote for the one who waits his turn like all others, even if it is Ahmadi-Nejad

I am a little disheartened. I think Obama’s election has disheartened me with the whole idea of democracy. If in the most powerful and democratic country of the world, a candidate can campaign telling one thing and do the opposite, what could we expect in our country besieged by all sides, and with so many problems?

Anyway, I will vote and I will do so for the fate and the faith of/in the Iranian youth.


Other places to look:
The Foreign Policy Factor in Iran’s Presidential Race by Farideh Farhi
Just Foreign Policy
Informed Comment: Global Affairs
Shadowed Forest of World Politics
Tehran bureau


24 Responses

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  1. 99 said, on May 29, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Yep, Homie-banoo, that’s the reason to vote, for the kids. It would be nice if we could be certain enough to vote for the one who will really do right by them, but if we can’t do that, can’t know that for certain, we should vote for the candidate they want. They were crazy to get Obama, and so I voted for him. I knew I was going to be disappointed by him, but I didn’t know HOW disappointed I’d be, or how fast. It amazes me that so many people, kids, still are hypnotized by his shiny campaign. And, yeah, sometimes I think democracy is really, really stupid. The only good form of government is Benevolent Monarchy. When the monarch is not benevolent, the people have to rise up and pluck him or her from the thrown and put another one up there, or it is just as subject to decay and evil as all the rest.

  2. 99 said, on May 29, 2009 at 8:51 am

    Oh, sheesh, T-H-R-O-N-E. It’s way past my bedtime! 😛

  3. homeyra said, on May 29, 2009 at 9:07 am

    Now check the Japanese democracy:
    “after months of parliamentary debates and the opposition of at least 50 percent of the Japanese public, Fukuda rammed the anti-terror bill through parliament. After the bill was voted down by opposition in the Upper House plenary session on January 12, the government resubmitted it later that same day to the Lower House, where the ruling conservative party holds the majority, and turned a bill into a law. Thus, they overturned a veto in the Upper House.”
    There is always a way to trump what the people want!

    Sweet dreams 🙂

  4. Pedestrian said, on May 29, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Thanks Homeyra Jan for voting :*
    Many people in my family are “boycotting” as usual and I don’t even get what that is. A “boycott” only makes sense IF you have the POWER to do so.

    I really don’t want my words to smell of hope-shit, and this comment has nothing to do with these elections specifically. But I really think that in general, it is much harder to instill change in “the most powerful and democratic country of the world” than in smaller places with more complex, convoluted histories, but with less complexity in the power structures.

  5. Pedestrian said, on May 29, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    I know I’m uneducated to say this, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately: “Who said a democracy is a good thing?”

    Almost EVERYBODY (people I read) acknowledges that mass manipulation has to exist in a democratic system where the ruling class needs votes every four years, change can never be rooted exactly b/c the offices need to be refurnished every four years, a democracy is NOT about reaching consensus or agreement, but whatever a manipulated majority wants, …………. I don’t know. But the benevolent monarch thing is also a bit risky.

  6. homeyra said, on May 29, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    Darling, you inspire me to vote 🙂
    It is true that there are a lot of simple “do-able” things to do over here, so hopefully we will have some improvement, even if it’s not spectacular.
    I also agree with your second point. What happens around makes you wonder what means democracy in today’s world when as you rightly point out the majority is manipulated and mis-informed by behaviorists and other pundits.
    What would be the so great danger if all the effort and money was put on education instead of infotainment?

  7. boogiwoogi said, on May 29, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    A big mistake in understanding democracy is what Pedestrian said. Many people think democracy means changing. Another mistake in understanding democracy is that there are two kinds of democracy. Democracy in vote and democracy in decision. In nearly all the democrat countries there is only democracy in vote. After the decision maker chosen there is something like dictatorship. I haven’t seen any example in democracy in decision (which is in definition the real democracy) which means people’s opinions are gathered for the decisions.

  8. 99 said, on May 30, 2009 at 1:55 am

    Democracy, nowadays, is a euphemism for “fascism”. Don’t pay attention to what it’s called. Of course, benevolent monarchy is risky! That’s why the people have to agree to oust the monarch when not benevolent… or it just won’t work. A benevolent monarch cannot form an army or police that would fire on or oppress citizens, for instance, without everyone in the country dropping what they are doing, swarming the seat of government and tearing the monarch limb from limb. Messy. Difficult. But that is the only “system” that could stay immune. One good smart person in charge, and the whole population immediately and permanently ready to rip them to shreds if they so much as start to go corrupt or oppressive.

    Or. Everyone gets serious about enlightenment and drops all this killing and wheeling and dealing and blathering about current events. That would work too.

    Don’t mind me. I’ve just blown my mind out on the extent of evil in the world.

  9. homeyra said, on May 30, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    I was just listening to Max Keiser. He talks very blatantly about “corporate occupation” and how democracies are headed toward what he calls the neo-feudalism under the neo-monarch! He also talks about the recent financial crisis and bailouts as a “controlled demolition”! A sort of market terrorism. (this reminds me of AA’s cartoon).

  10. Shahrzad said, on June 3, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Thank you for linking me dear Homeyra. 🙂 Your entry was so good for me personally, bcs i didnt know many of blogs you mentioned. I didn’t know about Mandana’s blog and i liked the post she wrote. Also i liked the post by Pedestrian. It was interesting reading their opinions on Iran’s election.
    Keep up the good work.. 😉

  11. Shahrzad said, on June 3, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Pedestrian, “I know I’m uneducated to say this, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately: “Who said a democracy is a good thing?””

    Great point! Just something i’ve been thinking lately.
    Democracy means a government run by the people of the country. But it seems to me so ideal or so fictional to come true. Especially when i see most countries who claim/pretend to be “democratic” (pertaining to democratic principles of equal rights and privileges) are not really ruled that way..
    I shall write about it soon..

  12. homeyra said, on June 3, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Thanks to you Shahrzad for your great post and your visit 🙂
    I think we could all accept imperfect democracy. But un-democratic democracy is a bit too much!
    PS: Great idea to have your own poll about the elections.

  13. honestpoet said, on June 10, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    In California they have democracy in decision making, and special interest groups simply manipulate the people there to get them to vote in the referendums as they want. But who’s fault is it if the people let themselves be manipulated by fear or hate? They say people get the government they deserve.

    No system is perfect, but the problem with a benevolent monarchy is the succession of power. Even if you were able to find a person who could rule without being corrupted by power, no one lives forever. Who gets the throne next? The monarch’s son? And who decides in the first place who would be a good monarch? It’s a stupid pipe dream. Democracy is the best thing going on the planet so far, but there needs to be protection from corporate influence. Here in America things went wrong back in the late 1800’s when corporations were granted 14th-amendment personhood and then, in a case shortly after, the protections that personhood affords (like the right to privacy). (It has since come out that the Supreme Court who made those decisions was most likely bribed by the corporations involved.) If corporations had to be transparent, with their bookkeeping, their operations (like where they dump toxic waste, when they discover that something they’re selling us is toxic, what they’ve lobbied for and whom they’ve lobbied, etc.) they would be able to do a lot less harm.

    No system is perfect, but I’ll take imperfect democracy over dictatorship any day. A monarch is just a dictator who was born to the job. At least we get to throw the jackasses out of office if they don’t perform. And systems can evolve, especially if we hold the people involved accountable. I actually am not that disappointed in Obama. No, he hasn’t been able to keep all his promises, yet. He’s constrained by a system that resists change, and he’s inherited huge problems from his deluded, inept, malevolent predecessor. But at least he’s willing (and able) to dialog rather than spouting cowboy nonsense like “Bring it.”

  14. homeyra said, on June 10, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    I think we human have the capacity to turn the most harmless thing into something dreadful, it is true that technically one system might be superior in some aspect to the other, but we can almost turn them all against their original purpose.
    It is a little what we are witnessing today when in the name of “Freedom and Democracy” we can kill and incarcerate in very dubious circumstances.
    The question for me, as you pointed out, is “Why people let themselves be manipulated by fear or hate?”
    Why democracies haven’t invested on education, truthful media, etc.
    I think of a great series of lectures posted at PULSE. I think you might enjoy them Honestpoet.
    Here is the link.

  15. honestpoet said, on June 10, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Thanks for those! It’s a lot to take in…I watched the first twenty minutes of the first one and will bookmark them so I can enjoy them as time allows. The man is definitely a kindred spirit…one who seems open-minded and willing to find the middle (true) way between false dichotomies. I’ve wearied of Dawkins and Hitchens myself, though they were a necessary antidote for me while I was living down in the Bible Belt, where people resist science as if it were the devil’s work.

    Living where we are now, far in the north of the country in a progressive state that values science and leaves religion to be a personal choice, as it should be, the question of religious affiliation never comes up, and I find myself free to explore a rewarding, private, idiosyncratic spirituality (as all should be!).

    We actually have a pretty good educational system here (it varies by state, and we chose the state we’re in now largely because of the quality of the public schools). As far as truthful media, it’s there, too (NPR on the radio, Democracy Now and other online venues), though the mainstream media leaves a lot to be desired (it’s much more about advertising revenue and ratings than truth). But it’s up to each individual to seek the truth, not to park themselves in front of the TV and expect to get a good idea of it. Fear and pettiness sells.

    One aspect of our democracy that has seriously decayed since its inception is the idea of personal responsibility. Rights and responsibilities go hand in hand, but here people talk all about rights with nary a mention of the attendant responsibilities. The right to health care, but not the responsibility to make healthful choices; the right to reproductive freedom, but not the responsibility to practice birth control or to be a good parent; the right to freedom of speech, but not the responsibility to practice self-control in one’s expression. Etc. Our founders could not have imagined how far our culture would sink with the freedoms we’ve been granted. Still, each generation is a new opportunity to develop better ideas, new roads to a more positive future, and though there’s plenty of reason to wring one’s hands and give up hope, I see it as the lazy alternative. Better to imagine a way to the future and then work toward it. My children, at least, are being raised with the idea that they owe the world something, rather than the reverse.

  16. 99 said, on June 11, 2009 at 12:26 am

    I’m beginning to think my sarcasm gets clean past people.

    I said benevolent monarchy is the best ONLY if the monarch can be killed when he/she isn’t benevolent, ONLY if the whole population would stay vigilant to keep the monarch and the succession of monarchs dead if they weren’t benevolent.

    In other words: There is no good government without the people staying engaged with it perpetually. Not on tv. Not just in the voting booth. But day-to-day. Forever.


  17. Pedestrian said, on June 11, 2009 at 4:02 am

    99, from the beginning of this election season, I’ve been thinking about that constantly: “There is no good government without the people staying engaged with it perpetually”. How do we do that? If we were able to do it, how do we ensure that people’s personal arrogance/ignorance/greed doesn’t interfere with this judgment? How do we keep the population vigilant? What sort of a model do we start building on?

    I think about that everyday, the more this election seems like a dead-end to me. This whole democracy thing is too utilitarian for my liking. Even if the populations weren’t so heavily doped and manipulated, in the end, the MAJORITY wins. It’s not about justice or truth or what is RIGHT. But a game of numbers. An evil 51% will always beat out the 49% even if the latter group is the one with truth on her side.

  18. 99 said, on June 11, 2009 at 6:51 am

    Neighborhoods should have rotating government seats, representatives to bring to city councils. City Councils should be made up of rotating district representatives that are made up of rotating neighborhood representatives. City Councils should send rotating representatives to County Councils which are made up of rotating city council representatives. County Councils send rotating representatives to the State Legislature, which is made up of rotating representatives from County Councils. All councils and legislatures pick administrators [mayors, governors, etc.] after exhaustive reviews of fitness for the jobs, which are reviewed regularly. State legislatures send representatives to the Federal Legislature, which is made up of rotating state legislators, which is also in charge of picking federal administrators [president, vice-president, cabinet, etc.] after exhaustive reviews of fitness for the jobs.

    No political parties. No campaigns. Each body picks its representatives from an ever-changing pool of local talent, and each representative is directly responsible to their own neighborhood, city, county, state, on up to country. Ethics boards with strict oversight of representatives’ finances and stiff penalties for taking money or favors for votes.

    Judiciaries at each level picked by representatives after exhaustive reviews of fitness for the job. Supreme Courts picked by their constituent judiciary bodies. Federal Supreme Court picked by State Supreme Court justices.

    Staff at all levels directly accountable to representatives, with severe penalties for taking money or gifts for favors to contractors. Job security depends completely on fitness for the position and adherence to the management of representatives.

    Something like that… where the people rising are always put in a position to be there by their neighbors, and to rise through the ranks by people who have been put in their positions by their neighbors. It would keep the most competent people for the work in the jobs.

    Constitution that guarantees individual rights is mandatory.

    The US is a democratic constitutional republic, NOT a democracy, because, as you say, 51% would always tyrannize the other 49% if there were no constitutional guarantees. Our system has been gamed by fascists buying our government representatives. There can be NO corporate personhood, and companies and businesses have no more influence than neighborhoods.

    That way dim bulbs don’t get put in to do the bidding of whoever backs them for office with enough money. There’s no money. Your neighbors know if you’re a dim bulb and they don’t want you running things. Even if they might want to pick the rich guy on the block, thinking he’s got to be the smartest, the people on the City Council are going to recognize him for what he is and he’s out just as soon as he can be replaced.

    Everyone is entitled to leaves from their jobs for their governmental responsibilities, just like for jury duty or military duty.

    That way cops also realize they are directly responsible to the local citizenry and can’t be swayed into busting heads for fascists.

    If no one in the neighborhood will be the neighborhood representative, I suppose one could be hired out of a pool of volunteers to take open slots, and those neighborhoods just don’t get people sent up through the ranks.

    This approach sort of takes the best from tribal societies and uses it to patch up the messes we’ve made since departing from that model.

    I’d also like to see the UN become a body that has real clout, and that could work out if everyone everywhere were sending their neighbors up through the ranks. It might inspire neighborhoods to make sure their kids got top notch educations, to think that they could end up running the show someday…………

  19. honestpoet said, on June 11, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Now that sounds like a plan.

    And yes, sarcasm is poor communication on a computer screen, since it’s not accompanied by tone of voice or body language/facial expression.

  20. homeyra said, on June 11, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Wow, indeed what a plan! With all these people rotating!
    Now we have a constitution for our moon colony:)

  21. honestpoet said, on June 11, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    My son is intent on acquiring an island somewhere to start his own country. I’ll submit this to him as a proposed governmental structure.

    Except that he really has his heart set on a benevolent monarchy. With him as the monarch, of course.

  22. 99 said, on June 11, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    The population of his island would probably have qualms about killing him when he became tyrannical, though, so…. 😛

    • honestpoet said, on June 12, 2009 at 1:48 pm

      Especially since he’s also going to be the author of the language spoken there. He’s a linguist at heart, so that’s the whole idea, really. In addition to the omnipresent childish urge to power, which is at the heart of all dictatorships (yes, every dictator ever, I’m calling you childish).

  23. Pedestrian said, on June 11, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    We’ve had two revolutions in Iran with very unexpected consequences. So I can never be too optimistic about them …
    But I can’t get my head around it. The only way to change this monstrous world is a HUGE, gargantuan wave. Infinitesimal steps won’t go anywhere.
    Of course, if we could buy an island, that would be great too! But that too would mean we’d be starting with a clean slate …

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