Omid Memarian

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Bush Takes Iran Allegations Seriously
Guardian Unlimited, UK -AP -President Bush said Thursday that ``many questions'' have been raised by allegations of some former American hostages that Iran's president-elect was one ...

Bush says wants answers on Iran leader's past
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush said on Thursday he wanted answers on whether Iranian President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a leader in the 1979 U.S. Embassy siege as some former hostages have said but Iranians have denied

Stepping up the nuclear pressure on Iran- Economist
VOTERS can be full of surprises, even in a theocratically managed semi-democracy like Iran's. The victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a former member of the hardline Revolutionary Guard, in last week's presidential election has deepened the gloom of reform-minded Iranians.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Fascism and Appearance of Poor Movement

Ahmadinejad, a radical Islamist won the presidential race. At first nobody believed. But it’s true. The Former mayor of Tehran won the battle between the legacy and poverty. Many people believed that if Hashemi Rafsanjani comes to the second round will loose the votes. Hashemi never could clear his background that is mixed by many stories about his legendary legacy. There were many stories about his family, corruption, serial killing, supporting the investors instead of poor people and some other issues which were engraved the voters’ mind.
Hashemi hurt by all that came from the past. But Ahmadinejad which used a populist campaign talked about many things such as better life, more jobs, and equality. He used many mottos that were popular at the beginning of the revolution. Mottoes which could mobilize the poor and marginalized people collapse the Pahlavi regime.

In practice many of these mottoes are unusable. For example giving the money of rich people to poor people as one of the mottoes is practically ridiculous. A foreign journalist asked me about the policies that they can do it. “There is no policy for the mottoes that they talk about it during the election period.” I said. Actually they don’t have ant commitment about what they say. Like the other periods, they only try to gather more votes by any ways. As they have talked about the social justice before and now, you can see how the gap between poor and rich class has increased a lot simply. Or the other mottos that they have insisted on at the beginning of the revolution. One of them is to export the revolution to the world. It was as a strategy for the revolutionary government after revolution for more than ten years. They spend much money on this thought but every one who has visited Tehran nowadays can tell you who we are importing everything, from culture to westerns goods.

So, why the Mayor captured the election? First I think that many people hate any religious aristocracy figure which was represented by Hashemi for many years. Hashemi has been in the power for many years and I he could do anything seriously, he would do it. When he failed at the Parliamentary election 6 years ago, he went to the supreme council and it was the highest council in the Islamic revolution. So nothing happened for the normal people. They always hear his name and nothing change in their life. So, when somebody comes and say he is going to change their life they trust him. Especially poor class which has a weak historical memory. They even don’t remember the revolution and all mottoes that they have heard before. I think it is something for soothing. The mayor shows his home at his clip and it is actually so simple and that’s a reason for many people to feel so close to him. And also the mayor is not a cleric. Many people think that all of their afflictions are because of some clerics who can not govern the society well. Beside, many people think that Hashemi is the symbol of Islamic regime so many of them didn’t vote to him. I have heard that many middle class has voted to Ahmadinejad to increase his chance to win. They think that a one handed regime go forward collapse better. As they mention, Khatami postponed the period of collapse. “They can not govern the society. If everything is under their control they will make man mistakes and so they loose their power completely.” They say. However, I don’t believe at this idea. I don’t know how we can loose all our achievement and wait for any changes. Sitting and looking that something is happening is an Iranian style for changes traditionally.
In all, Poor people were outrider at the last Iranian style election. They showed a real populist society that the impact of intellectuals on them is not huge. They can change the direction of any social movement to another ways so there many messages for the intellectuals, academics, and journalist and source groups in all, for the Future. They have shown their power again. Poor movement can destroy the democratic achievements that we had. Poor movement has no consideration about the democracy and the related issues and there are many things to learn about what happened just 3 days ago
There are many points that I am going to talk about it. But perhaps for the next comment.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad;
A Battle between Middle Class and Poor Class

Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad the Tehran Mayor came to the second round for the election. A public fear is creating and inspiring in the society. Middle class, intellectuals and many reformists and even many of mild clerics have joined a movement to persuade people to vote Rafsanjani. The voice of hardliner is heard. The mayor who thinks about the Islamic of Iran instead of Islamic Republic has made a big concern about the future. But many people fear that the populist campaigns of the Mayor attract the attention of poor people which their number has increased a lot during the last years fast.
Beside, Eghbal reformist newspaper banned. A day before that, a fundamental newspaper opened that can be a message for the society.

Many people here are socked. But I think this is a battle between the poor people and middle class. Between the people are thinking not to be hungry more and have a better life and people who thinks the ways that is advertised by the mayor is show off and doesn’t work and also as he has no commitment to democracy and the democratic institution, civil society, press, it will destroy the outcomes of the past.

Ahmadinejad mention that he is going to get the money of rich people and give to poor people but no one knows that what are the policies to perform this motto?

He has also mentioned that he will finish the control of some powerful families on the oil incomes. Some of these mottoes are attractive for the poor and marginalized people. They wait for rapid changes in their life. Hashemi last day was leaving the playground but it could make many problems and so he has decided to be present.

Very very moving and thrilling situation.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Here is Iran. The MOI is counting the votes. Until now, Mr.Hashemi is at the top and then Mr.karoobi the former head of parliament. There is a difference between the numbers which was informed by MOI and the conservative Guardian Council. The presidency election will go to the second round. The MOI says that Hashemi is the first, Karrobi is the second and Ahmadinejad the only fundamentalist candidate is the third, but the Guardian Council says that Ahmadinejad is the second. Khatami went to Ministry of Interior (MOI) this morning to be sure that everything is ok. It’s not normal that the president go to the MOI after the election.
Moin the reformist candidate is number 5 After Ghalibaf.(Until now)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Iranian Election; the Miracle of Face to Face Media

Two days before the vital and tight presidency race, the fans of Dr.Moin the pro reformist candidate captured many squares in Tehran. They distributed pictures and biography of him and tried to persuade the people to vote. Most of these fans participate in his popular campaign by their moving passion about the democracy and freedom. Only Dr.Moin has mentioned human rights and freedom of speech at his manifest.
A day before yesterday more than ten thousands of the Iranian youth and students with their parents formed the biggest gathering of the reformist's fans. No one of the other candidates has done a similar program like that. People try to keep themselves away from the politic and election as well in the Iranian depoliticized society. But their presence surprised many of political experts. "This is the most popular campaign that I have seen yet." The reporter of La Manifesto told me yesterday.

Now, the time for propaganda is finishing. Less than 10Hours before the election, people are getting more sensitive about what's happening. The candidates have distributed the CD's of their clips which has been shown by state TV. This mechanism is really new in Iran. It is so effective for many families. Especially D.r Moin's clip which was censored partly by the state TV because of some radical sentences that was so moving for him.

I think the Moin's clip and Hashemi Rafsanjani clip have been more valuable that the other candidates. My mother, who is not involve in political issues and change her mind for several, was so sad when she was looking at Saeed Hajarian who was interviewing with Dr Moin at this clip. Dr. Hajarian injured seriously by a conservative terrorist in front of his office 4 years ago. He was dieing, but actually god saved him. He asked some questions. But nobody understood what he is saying and so my mother had to use the subtitle. It was absolutely meaningful. There were some precious messages at this interview.However, the survey shows that the Rafsanjani is at the top, and the second is Ghalibaf the former police chief and the third is Moin. The statistics says the growth of reformist's votes is too much. But the time is limited. But if the people, who have decided to boycott the election, come for vote Mr.Moin stand on the second position and by high percentage possibility, the poll will go to the second round.

The youth are going to send cell phone messages to their friends and relatives and also to call them and persuade them to vote face to face. Reformists think that the small and tiny media can be moving in the coming hours. "The youth and the reformists fans open their tell book and call every body. Each vote will be ten votes or more then..." Says Dr. Jalayee pour the influential reformist. Actually, by face to face communications and use the circle of trust at the families a miracle can be happen.

Iranians behavior in front of the ballot box is so strange and uncountable. Most of the time, the surveys put us at the wrong way. So judgment about the result is extremely hard.

But I am sure, if people come for vote, the victory will be so close to reformists and after them Mr. Rafsanjani who is trying to draw a reformist picture of himself as well.

We have to wait. A hard and deadly waiting that we have ever had.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Please Vote, There is no way!
Small Media will move the people; SMS, face to face talks, calling the relatives.

Twelve thousands of people attended at the Dr.Moin campaign yesterday. “It is the most popular campaign that I have ever seen in Iran during the last days.” a reporter from Italy said. Many of reformists were there too. I saw Scott Peterson the Christian Science Monitor’s staff journalist who was talking with youth. I talked with some of the other journalists. They were surprised by the passion of people, youth and old.

Here it’s a risk for most of the candidates to invite people at a sports ground. They can not mobilize more than a few hundreds. I was wondering by the presence of the huge number of people.

Moin and his fans today came to more than 20 squares of Tehran and tried to persuade people to vote for Dr.Moin face to face. Many of journalist, academics and intellectuals support Moin. Two days ago the state TV showed the Moin’s clip. It was so effective. In this film he asked some question of people. “Even the supreme leader must act by considering the constitutional law.” Reza Khatami one of the Moin strongest supporters said. . It’s so radical in the Iranian context to criticize leader directly or indirectly.

The day before yesterday Christian Amanpour interview with Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani. Most of the foreign journalists believe that he will win the poll. I think the gap between Dr.Moin and Hashemi is extremely lower than the gap between these two candidates and the conservatives candidates such as Ghalibal. Christian Amanpour in some of interview reflects her interests but not the reality. She is so famous but I wonder how she ignore a part of reality and show a picture that she like it. Perhaps, It is because of her nostalgia about Iran.

Anyway, I think people must come to vote. There is no way. This is our piece from democracy. Consider that the result of election has a direct effect on our life. For us, it will appear very soon. But for the others will appear too.

So please go for voting. I am going to ask the Iranian out of Iran to call their family in the country and persuade them to vote. The face to face and phone to phone media can be strong during the last hours to starting the tight race of election. Small Media such ad SMS, face to face dialogue, and also calling the relatives and friends to vote are the ways that can move people for vote. We are so close to keep the society and our life away from the fundamentalist which are representative of only 15 % of the citizens. W.e have to choose as soon as possible; to be a responsible citizen about our destiny or a irresponsible one who is apathy.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Two days before election; Waiting for an Iranian Miracle

The formal surveys show that Hashemi Rafsanjani is the first chance for the Friday presidency race with 28%. The second is Ghalibaf with 18% and the third is Dr.Moin with 14%. However, most of the time, because of many factors these kind of surveys don’t work. I think in big cities the chance of Hashemi is not too much. However in provinces many people don’t know Dr.Moin and Ghalibaf. At this time, a miracle can change the numbers and percentages and honestly, I don’t fell about appearing any miracle.
For the reformists, the gap between Hashemi and Dr. Moin is smaller that the gap between these two candidates with Ghalibaf of the other conservative candidates. Many of journalists and intellectuals tried to mention the danger of one handed government by conservatives. They mentioned that as Dr.Moin can not win the election, it is better not to look at the political play black and white. “Hashemi is more tolerated than all the other conservatives and so we have more sphere for breathing during his period.” They believe.
Two days before election, nobody can anticipate how many people vote and to whom. Because sometimes in Iran, at the 90 minute some astonish able events happen.

Sean Penn warms to journalist role in Iran
"If the number of candidates is a proof of democracy, we are ... better than the Americans in this regard," newspapers quoted Rafsanjani as telling Penn.

US swings behind UN's ElBaradei, takes aim at Iran Reuters

Women protest: An organized civil movement

Women activists protested in front of the Tehran University last day. About 2000 women and men who were separated by a ring o police from the other people who were joining them, asked for changes in the constitutional law. A woman rights is Human rights was one of the motto they mentioned. I think Iranian women movement is going to a direct way to achieve their request. They have organized in their own organizations with specific missions and also the skills for changing the society. That’s why the conservatives concern about them. They who that these kind of campaigns can strongly criticize the laws and by laws which are totally paternalistic.
This is a show of civil society changes during the last years. Perhaps you can understand why the fundamentalists are against a independent civil society and social movement. I have written an article about the concern of civil society in the coming future that has published at Shargh newspaper last Wednesday.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The legacy of Khatami

“What is the legacy of President Khatami during the last two periods of presidency?” a foreign journalist asked me today. Normally it is not easy to answer this question. Perhaps it’s better to stay far from this period and then talk about the political and social outcomes. But summing up the result I can mention some points. The most important thing is to change the sacred face of the political system to an ordinary situation. Now, the high ranks officials and clerics are much more touchable than they were before.
Khatami never complained against people who criticized him. He knew that he was starting a new way in the relation between people and the officials. You can not imagine how the thought of normal people about the political system was.
And the 2nd is the self confidence that inspired between youth and women at this period. Nearly 60% of the Iranian populations are under the 29. And women are approximately half of the Iran. Before the period of president Khatami, they were hopeless to play a major role in the society. Now we have at least 400 women NGOs and also nearly 2500 youth NGOs or social groups. There are many things in this field about empowering the civil society and specially youth and women.
The national pride has increased during the two period of presidency too. Khatami tried to draw a positive picture if the Iranians which was extremely blurred. In this period the meaning of power became touchable and many realities appeared about the identity of people who are governing. Many things are clear now about the quality of covering here.
The legacy of Khatami is to uncover the face of political power and so it can not go back. It’s a irreversible process. But what we have done to stabilize these achievements? What is our role? To support the democratic process of to leave it alone whenever these is an obstacle
Do you like to continue? So perhaps talk about it more soon. Ok?

Iranian Writers Awarded Hellman/Hammett GrantsReuters AlertNet, UK - Jun 6, 2005... Human Rights Watch announced today that it has awarded Hellman/Hammett grants to the following Iranian writers: Taqi Rahmani, Omid Memarian, Alireza Jabari ...

Monday, June 06, 2005

The impact of the Internet Users on the Election

What is the impact of internet users on the upcoming election? That’s a question of some journalists who are interested of the effects of ICT on the political events such as presidency election. I am going to mention some points on this issue.
1- Most of the internet users belong to middle and upper cultural class. The significant surveys show that we can categorize the Iranian society to 3 major groups. The Satisfied and very satisfied about the regime functions are 35.2%. The unsatisfied and very unsatisfied about the functions and efficiency of the political system are 42.8%. And the others are belonging to the people who have not a perceptible
and varying opinion or don’t mention it clearly(22%). Most of the 42% are people who are educated; represent the middle class such as students, academics, intellectuals, and teachers and so on. The internet users mostly fit in this category. During the last years ago, we had 4 elections. The satisfied people have participated more than 3.7 but the unsatisfied people only 1.7. What does it mean? It means as the people are educated and has a high political awareness; their tendency to participate at any election is so low. A part of internet users who are sensitive about the political actions, are fit in this group. However, some blogs have been so active in the election sphere, but regularly it is not too much.

2- The access to internet in the whole country is not widespread. It means many people do not have access to the open information society and all that distributed in it. At the same time, the networks are not formed and are not active between the users. The power of networks here has not touched strongly. Because lack of social capital in the real society we have the same phenomenon in the virtual society that makes creating the network so hard. It means lack of confidence and inspiring the suspicious atmosphere has been an obstacle against the impact of networks.

3- According to the last statistics, there are 6 million internet users in Iran. But the huge number of this number is not people who are interested in politic. Many of youth as the big part of the users, use the pc only for chat.

4- At the newspaper I work, behind the social desk there are about 8 journalists. But only 2 of them check the political websites or other similar blogs. They use internet for their job daily sometimes more than two hours, but they are not familiar with this atmosphere. So, you can look at the whole society.

5- However, as every body else, I never ignore the role of the internet and ICT phenomenon like weblogs on the awareness of the youth society and also for the widespread middle class. I ma going to tell that we can study this issues as some new phenomenon but not like some thing which can change the destiny of the election. It has its own effect beside the other factors. A journalist from Canada one day told me that the Iranian exaggerates about the phenomena they face with. I asked her, what you mean. “I was talking with a blogger and he was talking in a way about the election, that I thought that the destiny of the election is on the hand of bloggers in Iran. But after a few days, when I talked to some people, I understood that he has exaggerated.” She said to me. I am no going to judge about what she said. But let me tell you that’s a part of reality. Anyway, I agree with some friends of mine that the bloggers have created the social power. It makes no difference that how much it is, the important thing is that the power is increasingly rapidly….I am so hopeful about the future of the phenomena I talked about. What about you

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Genetically Changes of the Candidates

“How can we achieve more votes?” that’s the question of the Iranian candidates for the upcoming presidency election. “Which ways are the golden ones?” I think this is what some of the candidates consider it. We can look at the streets and on the walls of our city especially by conservative’s candidates. People shock by some of the methods they use for their propaganda. These methods have many controversial meaning at the Iranian context. The conservatives have turned their ideas in some issues like life style. During the last years they have been so radical about the people’s privacy. They didn’t respect the people’s choice for their living.
These radical changes in the conservative’s mind, only a few days before the election, is really ridiculous. For example, some of the conservative’s candidates such as Ghalibaf, the former commander of police in the country, use colored the teenager faces photos on their billboards. At the same time police arrest the young people who have the mentioned style. He also uses the title of “Reformist Fundamentalist”. Does it make sense? In guess the coming days we hear more strange things by the candidates. However it’s not genetically but shows how the artificial and unreal values are useless in world today.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A Suggestion: A Weblog for Akbar Ganji

In our meeting With Akbar Ganji we suggested him to establish a blog. Because, there are many people who want to know more about his ideas that is mostly forbidden to print. I also showed him many offline pages of the Iranian bloggers who were involve at in a campaign for releasing him. Ganji was surprised. "I could not believe how they are effective." He said. He asked me the print of some pages. But I had no facility to print. He also read my comment and Khorsidkhanoom and farangopolis and some other comments of the bloggers. "I have heard that Ebrahim Nabavi has written something about me. Can I read it?" I had not it. But somebody accept to prepare. I asked him to give a message to the bloggers and he said he will write something for the bloggers in the coming days. "Please follow it.”He said to me. I told him that there are many bloggers who can help him to tart blogging and he said he is so interested to start. And made a joke with us." Then I have to keep myself from you," We all laughed.

61 percent of poeple have not decided to vote yet!

A survey has been announced by an independent researcher group about the upcoming election. 31 percent of people has mentioend that they have decided to vote to a specific candidate. But more than 61 percent don't know what to do or vote to whom.
I have prepared a report of the press conference of the researchers group for the shargh newspaper tomorrow.
"Who will capture the presidency office?" They have asked the poeple. About sixty percent of people have said that as they predict, Hashemi is the winner. By now, Ghalibaf is the second and pro-reformist candidate Dr. Moin is the third. The survey shows the growth of the each candidated in the statistics too. Between all the candidates Moin's votes growth has been more than the others. The growth of his votes at the surveys shows a 98% growths. hashemi has a -4%growths....

Iran candidates challenge taboos as campaign heats up
TEHRAN (AFP) - Two high-profile candidates for
News News Photos Images Web' --Iran's presidency raised the stakes in their campaigns, both evoking the taboo topic of relations with the United States and one challenging the status of the Islamic republic's supreme leader