My father didn't vote in the elections, because he has never been involved in the politics of the Islamic Republic and never hopes to show support for the system of the Islamic Republic. This was the rhetoric used by Ayatollah Khamenei in his address to the nation and the world in yesterday's Friday prayers. He said that since 40 million people, or 85% of the elligible popuation, voted, they must feel confident in the system and free to participate.
Theoretically, my father is correct. It's better not to buy into the system.
But to Mr. Khamenei, I wish I could ask this: If the 40 million votes show support for the system, what to the millions of protesters show?
Last night on our way to the airport, anti-protest guards were already lining the streets and pulling people over in anticipation of today's protest. Although the Supreme Leader forbade the protests by calling them illegal and promising consequences, I know they will continue as planned.
Everyone seems to think that blood has to be spilled in order to change anything. Although the protests are properly peaceful, the Basij police are not.
A relative of my mother's who is a doctor told me that although she supported Moussavi, his outright win may have allowed the IRR to coast along with no pressure for another 30, 60, 100 years. This way, the pressure that has been building on university campuses for the past year can be channelled to possibly create change. It seems clear, since Ayatollah Khamenei scheduled a rather unprecedented Friday prayer in which he sought to appease the public by chastising Ahmadinejad (although supporting him fully as the legitimate president), that he sees the continuance of the regime at stake.
Blood has been spilled, and I am sure more will be spilled today. The question is how big a change it will make.