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The Pay Wall debate

22.06.09

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"Robert Fisk’s World: In Tehran, fantasy and reality make uneasy bedfellows"

22.06.09

 Através de uma sugestão de João Galamba deixado no Jugular.

 

"So let's take a look at those Iranian elections. A fraud, we believe. And I have the darkest doubts about those election figures which gave Mousavi a paltry 33.75 per cent of the vote. Indeed, I and a few Iranian friends calculated that if the government's polling-night statistics were correct, the Iranian election committee would have had to have counted five million votes in just two hours. But our coverage of this poll has been deeply flawed. Most visiting Western journalists stay in hotels in the wealthy, north Tehran suburbs, where tens of thousands of Mousavi supporters live, where it's easy to find educated translators who love Mousavi, where interviewees speak fluent English and readily denounce the spiritual and cultural and social stagnation of Iran's – let us speak frankly – semi-dictatorship.

But few news organisations have the facilities or the time or the money to travel around this 659,278 square-mile country – seven times the size of Britain – and interview even the tiniest fraction of its 71 million people. When I visited the slums of south Tehran on Friday, for example, I found that the number of Ahmadinejad supporters grew as Mousavi's support dribbled away. And I wondered whether, across the huge cities and vast deserts of Iran, a similar phenomenon might be discovered. A Channel 4 television crew, to its great credit, went down to Isfahan and the villages around that beautiful city and came back with a suspicion – unprovable, of course, anecdotal, but real – that Ahmadinejad just might have won the election.

This is also my suspicion: that Ahmadinejad might have scraped in, but not with the huge majority he was awarded. For with their usual, clumsy, autocratic behaviour, the clerics behind the Islamic Republic may have decreed that only a greater majority for the winner could decisively annihilate the reputation of its secular opponents. Perhaps Ahmadinejad got 51 per cent or 52 per cent and this was preposterously increased to 63 per cent. Perhaps Mousavi picked up 44 per cent or 45 per cent. I don't know. The Iranians will never know, even though the Supreme Leader told us yesterday that the incredible 63 per cent was credible. That is Iran's tragedy."

 

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