Iran Hopes

A Weblog on Iranian Affairs (Formerly Iran Votes 2005)

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Windsteed's elections diary - Part One

It is long weekend in Iran. It is the sixteenth anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Khomeini. Everywhere is closed for three days. There is nothing but mourning shows on telly. Men in black hitting their head and chest in mourning their Imam. I thought the best thing to do during these holidays was to leave Tehran and travel around a little bit. Since my return to Iran I had not have the chance to leave Tehran. I also wanted to see what people outside Tehran think about the elections.

So I took on the road. Destination: Garmsar, a town in 100 Km south east of Tehran. I had to drive to Jaddeye Khorasan (Khorasan Road). Tehran was still quiet at that time of the morning. Posters of candidates pasted everywhere: on houses, bridges, light-posts. On the way, I drove past the new parliament building in Baharestan square. Wow! It was spectacular, especillay its huge green pyramid. I was told that billions of Rials were spent on this construction. Its budget law was passed during the parliamentary session when the conservatives were in control. Those whose slogan these days is to avoid luxury and lavishness in social and political life.


Pakdasht was the first town that I reached on the way to Garmsar. The first thing that caught my eyes from distance was the thick layer of dust and smug that had settled on the town. Pakdasht is surrounded by factories and brick-klins. It is working-class town and has a high population of Afghan refugees.

I was feeling a bit thirsty, so I thought that I just stop there and pop into a local store, get a soft drink and maybe talk to a local about politics, something that almost every Iranian is interested in and alwasy has an opinon about. The local store I went to was run by a man in his fifties. I greeted him and asked for a bottle of Delster (non-alcoholic beer). As he was getting me the drink, I told him that I wanted to know his opinion about the elections. He first asked me if I were a spy! I assured him that I was not, but only interested in knowing his views. This is what he said:
"What difference will it make? Whoever wins the elections, it will make no difference to people. One goes, another one comes. They are all the same. They only think about their pocket, not the public. None of them knows how people live, how they suffer. They live their luxurious lives. People are in poverty, there is insecurity, but no one seems to care."

I asked him if he knew any of the candidates. He said:
" I know that man, Ghalibaff. He was the chief commander of the police. It was during his time in office when innocent Pakdashti childern were raped and murdered. If he were a competent commander, he could have saved the children, he could have done something to prevent so many children from being killed. But he did not do anything. Now he wants to run the country. God help us all! I know Rafsanjani and Karoubi too. They are Mullahs. That's why some people tend to trust them because they think Mullahs are sacred, are not theives. But I doubt it. I doubt whether Mullahs can really run the country."

Then someone came in and the shop owner stopped talking. I thanked him for the drink and said goodbye. He said: "goodbye, but just make sure that I don't get into trouble because of what I said, I already am in lots of trouble!"

To be continued...


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