Sunday, June 26, 2005
In a very controversial presidential election, radical hardliner Ahmadinejad became the new president of Iran yesterday. To tell you the truth, I am happy the guy won. Let me tell you why.
First, AJ (his name is too long!!) won because of 3 reasons. One, the economic situation in Iran is dreadful. Unemployment is so high and AJ's focus on economics and his humble lifestyle (as compared to the millionaire Rafsanjani) resonated with poor rural voters. Two, the youth of Iran and the middle class are living in complete apathy towards the political situation there and it appears that the turnout was much lower in urban areas. Three, the mullahs illegally used the revolutionary guards and their feared militias to secure an AJ victory.
Now, ever since the youth of Iran brought Khatami to power, apathy started to contaminate the political veins of those youth who are the only ones capable of bringing the regime down. The youth were busy enjoying the few freedoms that Khatami brought (nail polish, pop music, lax dress codes, etc) and they were busy searching for jobs and getting stoned on mountains around Tehran. The protests of the late 90s seemed to be something of the past. I am hoping that AJ and his radical way of governing will shake the people up again. Even one of Iran's most popular bloggers Hossein Derakhsshan who himself is against radical instant regime change seems to agree with me when he wrote:
One good thing about an Ahmadinejad term could be that it would end the apathy among the youth born after the Iran-Iraq war. They are the best thing that could happen to the regime of Iran, for they have never struggled for their rights and ambitions. They are absolutely satisfied with what the regime provides them with, be it cheesy Iranian pop music, or wheat alcohol.
I know that what I am saying sounds cruel and inhumane. In fact, who am I to say that the Iranian people have to endure the rule of a hardliner so that they might rise up and usher in another people revolution? However, I just cannot help but think that way even though I know that I would have voted for Rafsanjani to avoid an AJ term if I were an Iranian. Let us hope that, as Hossein said above, we'll see this one good thing in Ahmadinejad's Iran.
Update: Iranian exiles tend to agree with my assesment.
Who would blow up a dusty synagogue?
I was walking today in downtown Cairo when I came across an old synagogue that was once used to serve Cairo's vibrant Jewish community. The synagogue looked dusty and tattered by age just like many beautiful things in Egypt. The one thing that really caught my attention was the presence of at least 10 policemen with their cars in front of the building. They set up a cordon so that no one would pass right in front of the synagogue. It just looked like as if the guards were in front of the central bank of Egypt.
Who would want to bomb such an old synagogue that is not frequented on a constant basis?! And who is the idiot who would damage something that belongs to Egypt's history. Well, it didn't take long for an answer to hit my mind: the sky is the limit with terrorists. If someone can convince another person to blow himself up in the middle of a group of Iraqi civilians, then someone else can convince the same kind of person to blow up an old empty Cairo synagogue.