|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
ran, especially its young voters that are interested in the west, has shamed our media and it has shamed we the American voter. Just as Pakistan had shamed us last year. Just as Mexico had shamed us after their own elections. Just as the Indians of Peru are shaming us to this day by putting their lives on the line to defend their homeland against encroachment by oil drillers.
Indeed, we should've taken to the streets eight years ago long before inauguration day 2001. We should've sent Bush a loud, filthy message from the day after election night that we will not stand for having our democracy, our very electoral process, stolen from us.
Not since the 1979 Iranian Revolution have massed protesters gathered in such numbers, or with such overwhelming popularity, through the boulevards of this torrid, despairing city. They jostled and pushed and crowded through narrow lanes to reach the main highway and then found riot police in steel helmets and batons lined on each side. The people ignored them all. And the cops, horribly outnumbered by these tens of thousands, smiled sheepishly and – to our astonishment – nodded their heads towards the men and women demanding freedom. Who would have believed the government had banned this march?
The protesters' bravery was all the more staggering because many had already learned of the savage killing of five Iranians on the campus of Tehran University, done to death – according to students – by pistol-firing Basiji militiamen. When I reached the gates of the college yesterday morning, many students were weeping behind the iron fence of the campus, shouting "massacre" and throwing a black cloth across the mesh. That was when the riot police returned and charged into the university grounds once more.
At times, Mousavi's victory march threatened to crush us amid walls of chanting men and women. They fell into the storm drains and stumbled over broken trees and tried to keep pace with his vehicle, vast streamers of green linen strung out in front of their political leader's car. They sang in unison, over and over, the same words: "Tanks, guns, Basiji, you have no effect now." As the government's helicopters roared overhead, these thousands looked upwards and bayed above the clatter of rotor blades: "Where is my vote?" Clichés come easily during such titanic days, but this was truly a historic moment.
Would it change the arrogance of power which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad demonstrated so rashly just a day earlier, when he loftily invited the opposition – there were reported to be huge crowds protesting on the streets of other Iranian cities yesterday – to be his "friends", while talking ominously of the "red light" through which Mousavi had driven. Ahmadinejad claimed a 66 per cent victory at the polls, giving Mousavi scarcely 33 per cent. No wonder the crowds yesterday were also singing – and I mean actually singing in chorus – "They have stolen our vote and now they are using it against us."