Apathy of 9-Esfand was for What?
Various forces of Iranian political spectrum have written about the people not participating in the voting of city councils, and depending on their ideology have supported, or admonished this action of the Iranian people, and they all have thought the apathy was about disappointment of Iranian people with the performance of government "reformists".
On one hand, the supporters of this boycott have claimed that people are fed up with the record of the IRI "reformists" and are going for an alternative outside of IRI "reformists". Some of them think it means that people want the so-called "Third Force" and will go for those reformists, who have been outside the government. Others have concluded that people want forces that have never been for any kind of reformism, and thus will want a force like mojAhedin which has advocated armed struggle. And some even think this means people want to go back to the pre-IRI era of monarchy, whether through peaceful civil disobedience or by armed struggle.
On the other hand, those who encouraged people to vote in the city council, and are opponents of the Iranian people's lack of participation in 9-Esfand Council Elections, also think the people's action was the boycott of government reformists, although they think this was an error by the people, and they believe this error puts the IRI at the mercy of hardliners. They conclude that people will lose more in the state organs and this will weaken the people position in Iran. In other words, they think that people's vote was opposing the government "reformists", and they simply think supporting of the government "reformists" is the right thing to do. If you scratch them more, they are even afraid that this may cause an early overthrow of IRI, and forces they do not like, such as monarchists or mojAhedin or some US-supported coup may end up to take power in Iran.
What is the reality of the situation?
I think the 9-Esfand was the statement of Iranian people's *apathy*, but not just for the government "reformists". It was the apathy of the people with all the political forces of Iran. It was simply a vote of lack of confidence in all the political forces of Iran. It was like 15-khordad of 1342, when people got tired of all the opposition, and some went and worked in the system in the following enghelAbe sefid, and others left organizations like Nehzate Azadi and Jebhe and founded the armed guerilla groups. But please note the *difference* that that this time the apathy is *not* about *how* (i.e. the method of eliminating the regime), but it *is* about *what* (i.e. the content of the proposed alternative for this regime). Let me explain.
All the political forces of Iran are offering the same old stuff, they had been offering for ages, and people remember those from the time of 1979 Revolution. and frankly not only people do not care for all those "solutions", but people see some of those paths, as responsible for the miseries of the last quarter century in Iran. For example, those who still raise the flag of Shariati at Aghajari's demonstrations, did not know that people see Shariati as more responsible for the creation of IRI, than even Khomeini himself. Nobody had read Khomeini's resAlehs in those years, but they had read Shariati's Islamist solution for Iran, and as far as Iranians today are concerned, they do not care for Shariati's question of Islam-e Safavi or Alavi? Not a bit. People do not even care if Christianity is right or Islam or Communism.
People do not care if communism of the cherikhA is right or communism of some other groups. They have seen these paths responsible for creation of IRI and hostage-taking and all the miseries they have gone thru. Do they want to go back to monarchy? Surely not and they showed it by not showing up in the 17-Dey demonstrations called by the monarchists just a few months ago.
So what is happening to Iranian people and what do they want?
I think people are appalled by all the political forces in Iran and the political forces are going to have a hard time to win the trust of people. And as I noted, contrary to 15 Khordad of 1342, the apathy this time is about *what* rather than about *how*. It is about *what* meaning that it *is* about not wanting Islamism or Leftism or Monarchy, and it is *not* about *how* meaning as to whether wanting a peaceful or armed method for change. In other words, if one wants to change Iran to another version of Shariati_advocated state, peacefully or by armed struggle, people simply do not want it, and are appalled by it.
The problem is that the Iranian political and intellectual forces, after over 24 years since 1979, are basically going to the people with the same old bags, that they had a quarter of century ago, and they want the people to care for their offering. This is the reason of apathy. As long as there are more demonstrations wanting to push the old solutions, and raising Shariati pictures, they will fail over and over in Iran, people will distance themselves from it, whether presented by revolutionaries or reformists. The issue is the content that people do not want. Iranian people do not want Islam e Alavai or Safavi or whatever "true" Islamic state. They do not want a Soviet style communism or Chinese-style or even a "true" communist state. They do not want a monarchy. They want a secular republic.
When are our intellectuals going to have something new for people. While it seems like Iranian people want to see Bush as a savior of Iran, the reality is not that they want GW Bush's platform or an US invasion of Iran, but their stand is more the expression that people do not want to support the old ways, that are advocated by various Iranian political forces. Apathy is simply the way people of Iran feel with the current politicians of Iran, no matter where these politicians and political groups lie in the political spectrum.
It is not only the IRI that is stuck with obsolete programs, it is the reformists of government or those outside the government, it is the Jebhe Melli, it is the leftists, it is the Shariatists of inside and outside of government, it is the monarchists, it is the mojAhdein. All plans and platforms that have failed over and over again in Iran and elsewhere, and these forces keep advocating the same old failed plans religiously, instead of thinking of new solutions for new and old problems.
I hope this apathy of Iranian people can wake up the Iranian political forces, before people start to look for solutions outside of the Iranian political circles. The Iranian political forces have had over 20 years and their problem was not just that they are not united. The problem is that they are still repeating the same old stuff they were saying 25 years ago, and think people were wrong to misunderstand them. Almost all the progressive forces of Iran supported Dr. Shariati and they still do when the real foundation of this IRI was none other than Dr. Shariati's doctrine. When are we going to wake up and see it? Here is what I wrote on Shariati issue before:
Wishing for a Futurist, Secular, Federal, and Democratic Republic in Iran.
Sam Ghandchi, Publisher/Editor
March 17, 2003