Photo caption: This picture was taken couple of days before election day and the man is swiping the woman’s slogan and broke it loose out of one of her hands. I was in a cab and took the picture as he swiped her slogan, notice her smirk.
This picture was taken at the day Mousavi’s supporters gathered to form a human chain from Tajrish (North Tehran) to Rah Ahan (South Tehran) along Vali Asr (previously Pahlavi) street. I think it is about 40 miles? It wasn’t like a human chain north-south, it was more like people at every intersection forming human chains and there were many of them and traffic was halted throughout Tehran.
Also notice the green scarves which no one would ever get caught dead wearing them! Don’t forget the green is the green-blooded Seyed’s green and not some other kind of green ;-)
The fifth debate was between Karoubi and Mousavi.
This debate was between 2 reformists and both candidates were very cordial to each other. Since they didn’t want to debate one another Mousavi stressed the word “lie” several times that has been told to people, “sheer lies” he said. He then showed his charts showing 24% inflation and other charts discrediting Ahmadi’s claims and charts.
After a while, that moron of a moderator with his dumb ass look informed Mousavi (fearfully) that he is talking about a candidate who is not present and due to debate rules if you keep talking about him that candidate has the right to respond on his own. Mousavi ignored and when the moderator warned him a second time he jumped at him screaming why are you defending him and the moderator cowered back like a scared turtle that hey I’m only warning you, the rest is up to you.
The defining moment of this debate was the single question Karoubi had for Mousavi, one question the entire debate and he waited until the end to ask it. He said we all like Mousavi but I want to ask him if “they” come and close the university and beat the students, are you going to stay around and voice your objection? Mousavi smiled and tried to brush the question and Karoubi said, no sir I ask again I want to know “hasti? Mimooni?” will you stay and fight? Finally Mousavi said yes he’ll stay and fight and that question and answer became the fate of this movement about whether or not Mousavi is staying. Time will tell.
The slogan of “doroogh mamnooeh” (no lying) were printed and used widely the following days. I gave this debate a tie but since Ahmadi scored a 19 minute last word after the debates, I gave this one to Ahmadi too. Morons!
The sixth debate was between Rezaei and Ahmadi. This one started when these two conservative candidates were cajoling to each other at first. Rezaei saying he doesn’t want to attack like other candidates and Ahmadi saying he’ll respond to attacks from the “other candidates” in the time allotted to him by the debate rules.
Towards the end Ahmadi was so full of his performance in the debates that he even gave some of his time away and asked Rezaei to explain how he has any experience in running the country.
Rezaei started by once again referencing his subject of section 144 of the constitution. Surprisingly he was more clear this time and added the subject of separating the powers of Federal and State Govts and gave an example of this Govt goes to a remote town to tell its people how to dig a simple water irrigation (joob) which I thought was very appropriate.
Rezaei also went on to have charts of his own objecting to how Ahmadi had manipulated the numbers to which Ahmadi had to agree with and explain his charts in the earlier debates had some ‘fine prints’ in them to some extent.
One problem with Rezaei’s charts was that he was holding the charts half-hazardly and shyingly, like a shy 5th grader reciting a poem in front of the whole class, so much so that our dumb ass moderator had to step in and say Mr. Rezaei hold it up! but to no avail, Rezaei’s charts were never held up properly for the cameras and people.
Rezaei had couple of good points (like Karoubi’s question to Mousavi of will you stay and fight) with deeper meaning and became more important after the election. Rezaei said he is against the culture of creating poor and giving handouts. This is beneath our people.
His second point was as much as he wishes Ahmadi’s Govt success because he represents the Islamic Republic, he can not help but have this worry and criticism of him about thinking he is the one who has done everything alone and must be rewarded for it.
He used the example that many of the things Ahmadi is boasting were started in previous regimes and furthermore he is not even using the nokhbeha (educated youth) as much as he should. To which Ahmadi responded his ministers are the best! To which Rezaei responded, I’m not talking about your ministers, I’m talking about the legions of college graduates which your Govt has not found them employment, one reason being the culture of hand-outs that you’re so fond of.
Oh and one more important item Rezaei brought up was to respond to one of Ahmadi’s charts and claims about production growth under his Govt. He said these are diluted results because the production Ahmadi is referring to is the only choice people have in selecting products. For example Govt forces people living in rural areas to buy Iranian made hot water heaters and count them towards an increase in production while some of these hot water heaters are lemons and junk which forces people to buy more and thus yet another increase in “production”. Ahmadi did not respond to this criticism and moved on to another issue.
Despite his initial stated intention of staying above the fray, Rezaei could not help but to end up ridiculing Ahmadi because he wouldn’t quit being a jackass and throwing accusations around.
I gave this debate a tie with slight edge to Rezaei because he stood his ground and did not give in and made some good points.
The last part of the debates was Ahmadi’s 19 minute rebuttal which he used to squarely wash Mousavi off his plate. Another mistake by Mousavi and Karoubi was not to use the 70 and 90 seconds that were allotted to them as welll. Even though this was only few seconds it was enough for a politician to make use of.
Which politician do you know who can not use 90 seconds? Mousavi and Karoubi like other Iranians have a lot of naaz (they are spoiled). Come on guys, there is a lot you could’ve said in those precious closing seconds, come off your high horses, but nooooo it is beneath them!
Anyway, debates came to conclusion and overall I thought Ahmadi won them technically but embarrassed himself and lost on the issues. There were so many jokes, so many, about the things he had said in the debates. Text messages carrying jokes were buzzing those days.
After each debate I’d talk to my family and friends and highlight what I saw based on my American observation of having watched several presidential TV debates. I felt towards the end they understood me. At the end of Ahmadi’s debates they’d say; nakheir (nope) doesn’t look his roo (arrogance) has been any lowered. I tried to explain to them these debates are no place to be “nice”.
I am not suggesting people had the same interpretations as me. In fact, later I found quite the opposite that people were looking for different things and many thought Ahmadi had come on too strong, this even among his own supporters who’d give this point to their opponents. Since this was the first open debates and people’s first experience, it is probably safe to say that it only strengthened each candidate’s position among their own supporters.
I don’t think these debates swayed people around, not much anyway, but it certainly galvanized the campaigns and brought people to streets asking for more. As a result of these debates people’s expectations were increased. The flood gates were open and a big part of regime’s culture of no; don’t do this, don’t do that, no to this and no to that, was broken.
To be continued …
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