During the Iranian election campaigns, it was noticed by political analysts that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ran a populist campaign with many similarities to President Barack Obama’s 2008 message of “change”.
Obama painted himself as the ecosexual, ” Washington outsider” a man of color raised by a single mother with humble beginnings. Obama emphasized that he was the American Dream and someone who rose above the food stamps and racial obscurity to become successful. He gave back to his “people” by giving up a lucrative career in law to becom a “community organizer”. This was Obama’s meme and Americans bought it hook, line and sinker.
In the politically dramatic country such as Iran, who could blame Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for not capitalizing on Obama’s brilliant campaign strategy. If “change” worked once, it should work again and Obama believes that “change” is possible in Iran:
Friday, June 12, 2009
Obama says change is possible in IranPresident Barack Obama said Iran’s “robust debate” leading up to Friday’s presidential elections is evidence that change is possible, and expressed optimism that U.S. diplomatic efforts could get a boost no matter who wins.
“We are excited to see what appears to be a robust debate taking place in Iran,” Obama said at the White House, as Iranians packed polling stations to choose between keeping hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or electing a reformist who favors greater freedoms. Ahmadinejad’s main rival is reformist Mir Hossein Mousavi, who served as prime minister in the 1980s and has become the surprise hero of a powerful youth-driven movement in the fiery, monthlong campaign.
“We think there’s the possibility of change,” Obama told reporters, answering an impromptu question about the significance of the elections.
“Ultimately the election is for the Iranians to decide,” he said. “But … you’re seeing people looking at new possibilities. And whoever ends up winning the election in Iran, the fact that there’s been a robust debate hopefully will help advance our ability to engage them in new ways.”
The State Department was also speaking optimistically about Iran’s election.
“It’s a very positive sign that the people of Iran want their voices and their votes to be heard and counted,” said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. “Like many inside and outside Iran we are going to wait and see what the results are.”
The results are in!!!! Ahmadinejad won. Well they think but he has been declared the winner of the election. Like Barack Obama, he won by a landslide. “Change” is indeed coming to Iran. You may ask why do I constantly emphasize the word “change” with quotation marks. “Change” has changed for me since Obama hijacked the word during his campaign. Change can be a good thing. We all need fresh ideologies and political dialogue that is engaging. However Obama’s use of the word “change” was merely an empty campaign slogan- a catch word. Real change was never intended and I am certain that “change” will be just as empty and unacheived in Iran.
Another similarity shared by the American and Iranian elections was the impact of the results upon women. The scene of women voting in Iran was proof that they are a vital participants in the electorate. There were women who supported Ahmadinejad’s candidacy but more , especially those who desired to advance the rights of women in Iran supported the incumbent Ahmadinejad’s opponent Mir Hossein Mousavi.
Feminist Daily News Wire
June 11, 2009
Women to Play Major Role in Iran Election
Women’s rights have emerged as an important issue in Iran’s presidential race to be held Friday. Women make up half of the Iranian electorate and candidates have been courting their votes. While incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has the support of some women, many are excited by the campaign of his strongest challenger, reformist Mir Hossein Mousavi.
Mousavi’s wife, Zhara Rahnavard, has played an uncommonly visible role in the campaign. She is respected by many as Iran’s first high-ranking female university professor and for her work as an artist, according to BBC. President Ahmadinejad attacked her integrity during a televised debate last Wednesday, accusing her of university violations including not taking an entrance exam before entering a graduate program. Rahnavard responded by threatening to sue Ahmadinejad for defamation. “Those who made up this case against me wanted to say it is a crime for women to study, to get two graduate degrees, to become an intellectual or an artist,” Rahnavard stated at a press conference Sunday.
The majority of Iranians support more rights for women, according to a 2007 Gallup poll. About nine out of ten respondents believed that women should have the same legal rights as men, and three out of four thought women should be able to have a job outside the home and to hold positions in the cabinet and national council. It is uncertain how much the next president could advance women’s rights, however, as most government decisions are ultimately made by the conservative religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds the title Supreme Leader.
I have not yet heard word of what President Obama has to say about the election results. It is clear that women have lost again. Already we have awaken to news of riots in Tehran over the election results. It is no secret that I do not have much faith in Obama or his administration. I was hoping that Mir Hossein Mousavi would prevail in order to bring change to Iran and not “change”. Maybe I am just being politically pessimistic but it seems so much like the results in America and Iran will also soon be an expert at the game of “Sorry”
Autographed Letter Signed,