Iran has an election for the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran on June 8, 2001.  Some are saying that this election should be boycotted.  Some are asking people to vote for Khatami.  Others are asking to vote for Fallahian, either because they want the worst of IRI to happen, to get it closer to its demise, or because they really like to see an Intelligent Ministry top brass on the seat of president in Iran.


Let me first say that asking people to boycott elections can be a meaningful tactic for an organization that has a plan for an alternative to the Islamic Republic.  For example MojAhedin think they are the alternative to IRI for Iran and for them boycotting IRI elections is the way to expedite their coming to power. 


All others I think are kind of naïve to go for this boycott slogan.  Because when one has not created an organization, which can even in words be an alternative to IRI, asking people to boycott, simply means to ignore IRI reality and sit at home and have your tea.  It will not be an active boycott.  Such proponents may think it will show the world that IRI does not have voter turnout.  OK, then what?


In the absence of an organization with an alternative, this is not worth anything and it only weakens the people’s choice more.  I do not see much value in boycott, when the proponents have not even been able to create a minimum organization asking for abolition of religious apartheid and for establishing a democratic and future_oriented republic.


I also think the ones who blame Iranian people for voting for the “reformists” of sixth parliament or for the “reformist” Khatami in presidential elections are mistaken.  I think the Iranian people have done the best in absence of an opposition leadership.  At least they have tried to block the full dictatorship in Iran using the regime’ s own tools of presidential elections and parliament. 


The opposition has not showed any leadership and has not created any organization to criticize people for not supporting it.  If not in Iran, it could have created an organization abroad?  No, opposition has not done any of these, and these are the leadership.  The job of leadership is not just to call the people as stupid or to tell them not to vote for Khatami.  What else should people do when there is no other alternative?  Should they sit at home and drink tea instead and let the worst choices be pushed on them? 


Also asking for situation to get worse is like asking people of Germany to vote for Hitler so that they could see the shortcomings of the Weimar Republic, and in fact some did that in those days and they hurt themselves and the Germany.


I think there is not really much more than what people already know that one can tell people of Iran, when it comes to this election and parliament.  In fact, Iranian people were so successful in their initiative that this time even Khameni and most of the religious right is also going for the people’s choice of last election, namely Khatami.


Iranian people hate the religious apartheid and would love to see a state that is democratic and future_oriented Republic of Iran and with a separation of state and religion.  In fact, whenever Iranians have had a choice and could afford, they have picked such countries to immigrate to.  But there is no alternative party even calling for it, to expect people to support it.


And this is what one expects of the ones who talk about what Iranians should do in this election.  In fact, the moment one talks about what people should do in the election, one is seeing a leadership role for oneself and one is not just speaking about what s/he will do on June 8th.


What people expect from intellectuals and opposition is to come up with an alternative political program and an alternative political party that can strive for a referendum to abolish the religious apartheid regime of Iran and to form a democratic and a future_oriented Republic of Iran. 



Sam Ghandchi, Publisher



May 24, 2001






* The above article was first posted on SCI (soc.culture.iranian) Usenet newsgroup on May 24, 2001



Go to Discovery for Unique Gifts