Where’s my vote Iran?
Updated: The strange thing about big historical events, the really big stories, is that they creep up on you in increments.
They bubble away in your head as you flash a glance at the news or take a longer than usual look at the international headlines.
Like little pop-up icons in our collective consciousness, bits and pieces of news on an issue begin to coalesce and we begin to take notice.
Then it reaches its crescendo and everything changes: the wall goes down, Suharto is gone, Milosevic is ousted and Obama is elected.
In the rather pedestrian surroundings of Federation Square in Melbourne today I couldn’t help but feel that whatever happens in the next couple of days, weeks or months in Iran, we’re living one of those times right now.
Melbourne has become the home for the Where Is My Vote expatriate Iranian protest movement that is spreading world wide with a protest held in Federation Square today.
Similar protests have been are being organised in Paris, London, Berlin, Geneva, Chicago and just about any large city on earth with an Iranian community.
The message coming through from these protestors and more clearly on the streets in Iran through the world media is that this isn’t going away anytime soon, this is big.
According to Iranian sources about 65% of Iranians in Australia eligible to vote in the presidential election voted.
But today’s largely silent protest in Melbourne was to reflect the silence that many felt resonated in the ballot box after they voted.
Many people I spoke to did not vote because they felt that the Ayatollah’s preordaining of Ahmadinejad as the preferred candidate meant there was no point.
Rally organiser Mohammed, 29, is a process engineer from Flemington. Despite being an Australian citizen and being in the country for more than two years he is circumspect about why he left Iran, “personal reasons”, he says.
He went on:
“Where Is My Vote campaign started on Saturday and its there to reflect what people in Iran are saying, which is where is my vote? What we are trying to do is what they are trying to do and just make their voice be heard. We are trying to make the international community take notice of what’s going on in the news in Iran. We don’t want them to support anyone, just look at what’s happening and come to their own conclusions . . . In fact so far the reaction has been pretty peaceful. What we believe has happened is fraud.
Kohyar Kiazad, 27, has lived in Australia for 18 years but felt compelled to attend.
“It’s about sending a message to the Iranian people that we support what you do.”
I asked Kohyar whether he voted in the election:
“No. Because the result was obvious, the supreme leader said before the election that Ahmadinejad was the best candidate so he was always going to win. I guess I can’t ask ‘where’s my vote”’.
Mahin Shirazi, 26, has a father working in a human rights organisation that has been shut down in Tehran:
“I’m scared for my dad because he’s on the committee of defending human rights in Iran. They’ve cancelled their two meetings, so I’m worried for my dad.’’
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