Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Leading human rights activist shot in Burundi's capital

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Migrant Crisis: The Blame Game

Read more

THE DEBATE

Kerry Middle East Tour

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Greek shares plunge as trading resumes in Athens

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Gulf countries need proof and guarantees'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'The deadly French-English border'

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Experimental Ebola vaccine could stop virus in West Africa

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

#CecilTheLion : Hunter Becomes The Hunted

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Erdogan’s gamble: Turkey launches offensives on PKK and Islamic State Group (part 2)

Read more

Asia-pacific

'I vote, therefore I am': Iran's vote boycott debate

© Photo: Facebook screengrab

Text by Bahar MAKOOI

Latest update : 2013-06-12

As Iranians prepare to pick a new president in elections on Friday, members of the opposition green movement are rallying on the web and urging young people to resist the temptation to boycott the poll.

The overt excitement that preceded Iran’s 2009 presidential election is nowhere to be seen as the clock quickly ticks down to this year’s poll on June 14.

The streets of Tehran are calm, while universities, where members of the opposition green movement often rallied in the wake of the contested vote four years ago, have been pre-emptively shut.

THE OBSERVERS IN FARSI

FRANCE 24's citizen-jounalist network The Observers has launched a Farsi-language version of its wesbite.

Some of the repressed enthusiasm has leaked into the Internet, in particular social networks like Facebook.

According to Mohammad-Reza Yazdanpanah, an Iranian journalist close to political reformers, young people are weary of expressing themselves out in the open.

“The hard-line ideology of Said Jalili has scared them into silence,” Yazdanpanah said in reference to the conservative candidate who is unofficially backed by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and considered the poll’s frontrunner.

The web has thus become the site of a lively debate over the merits of boycotting or participating in the election, with the green movement urging young people to cast a ballot.

The “I vote” campaign

The exchanges on the web are nevertheless full of subtle references that are likely to be lost on most observers.

Many young people who supported reformer candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi’s green movement in the 2009 election have replaced their profile pictures on social media websites with the words “I vote” over a green background.

The campaign, which journalist Negar Mortazavi claims started in Canada among political exiles, is in response to widespread fears of vote fraud and calls to boycott the election.

Many in the “I vote” camp have also added a vertical purple stripe to their logo (see below), in reference to the campaign colours of moderate-conservative candidate Hassan Rowhani. He has become the candidate of the green movement ever since Mohammad-Reza Aref, a former vice president, dropped out of the race to avoid splitting reform-minded votes.

The logo has quickly been appropriated by many, including those calling for a boycott.

The image below was slightly changed by one Facebook user to inform friends: “I [DO NOT] vote”

Using a similar font, another user expressed herself the following way: “I vote [THEREFORE I AM]” recalling the famous phrase by French philosopher René Descartes.

"F*ck it; let's vote again," another Facebook user wrote in green, suggesting his ballot would go to Rowhani.

On a more pessimistic note, another user posted the widely-used mantra of the 2009 protests: “Where is my vote?”, followed with the phrase “Where is my vote II coming soon” underneath.

Date created : 2013-06-12

  • IRAN

    Iranian women seek larger political role ahead of vote

    Read more

  • IRAN

    Reformist Aref drops out of Iran presidential race

    Read more

  • Iran

    Iran's Ahmadinejad in helicopter accident

    Read more

COMMENT(S)