Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Rafsanjani

I left Iran in 1998, one year after Khatami was elected president in Iran. Leaving my homeland broke my heart and changed my life dramatically. For two years I followed the political events very closely through internet, radio, television and phone calls until the emotional toll was too much to bear.

So, I have been in the dark for almost 5 years. The last thing I can remember is that the youth’s ideals were ready to blossom with Khatami’s presidency. We were dreaming of honest and sincere politicians who believed in democracy and equality, while we developed a hatred for the double-faced oil-gosling tycoons who had sucked the life out of the country for 20 years.

How naïve was our time, it seems!

I am not so sure what happened. Now I open my eyes once again and see this year’s presidency campaign. It started like a joke, but it stunned me once I realized it is more like a nightmare come true! For the new generation of youth, 10 years younger than those from Khatami’s campaign era, Rafsanjani seems to be the hero! Not to rely on one’s poor and biased memory from 5 years ago, I decided to see what the world has to say about him.

“In 1989, Rafsanjani was elected president, receiving some 95% of the vote. He was reelected in 1993 with two thirds of the vote but was barred from seeking a third term in the 1997 elections. In 2000 he was narrowly elected to parliament, but he soon resigned his seat.” (encyclopedia.com)

“In the complicated factional politics of Iran, he is categorized as a pragmatic conservative, someone who backs private enterprise and is in theory willing to engage with the West, but he is a conservative in terms of domestic social policy.” BBC NEWS

“Rafsanjani, who is described as “a little better than the rest” by many in Iran, has been criticized by human-rights activists for allegedly ignoring the killing of dissidents in Europe.” (TIME Canada)

“Today, Rafsanjani is one of the wealthiest people in Iran. He's an astute (some say corrupt) businessman who made his fortune through important connections. Two years ago, Forbes magazine published an article, "Millionaire Mullahs," that examined the way Rafsanjani and his relatives benefited from the 1979 revolution that brought Khomeini to power. Through the government's privatization program, the Rafsanjanis became rich from their stakes in pistachio exports, copper mining, construction and other businesses.” (SFGate.com)

"For a man who has spent nearly a decade out of the spotlight, he still knows how to make an entrance... As he settles into a gilt-trimmed chair, he says he may do a campaign commercial with the Iranian director of the recent film The Lizard, a huge hit that poked rare fun at the righteous clerics who form Iran’s ruling class. “It’s an idea,” Rafsanjani says. “There is no script yet.” He laughs when told that his son Mehdi has already jokingly come up with a title for the spot: “The Lizard II.” " (TIME Canada)

“He's not a reformer -- at least not in the area of social or cultural traditions -- but he's what Rutgers Professor Hooshang Amirahmadi calls an economic liberalizer who at least understands that Iran's population is clamoring for more openness. There's a tremendous gap between a very conservative government, and very, very liberal people, and that has led to a tremendous decrease of legitimacy of the governing elite, says Amirahmadi.” (SFGate.com)

Perhaps it’s too complicated for me to understand why after 8 years of fantasizing and dreaming of democracy and human rights, Iran is back where it was 16 years ago, when Rafsanjani was the liberator and the knight in shining armor.

Whatever the future brings, I have always believed the people of Iran very well know what is best for their country.

1 Comments:

At 10:55 AM, Blogger Jackal said...

We should have known at the time, but Khatami's love had blinded us.

I remember the friday morning that me and Ali Basirian went to sharif's mosque to cast the ballot for Khatami.

I remember seeing you and your friend 'Niloufar' in Vali-Asr square after a rally in Tehran University (as far as I can recall). We were so full of hope...

 

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