An open letter to Ahmadinejad – My green vote was not your black name

A poet and journalist, Naeimeh Doustdar was one of the millions of people who took part in the violent protests in Tehran in 2009. She was imprisoned shortly thereafter and stayed in the infamous Evin prison. Before the trial, she was able to leave Iran. Today, she is a guest writer in Malmö. Here we publish her open letter to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

June 10 2013 Text: Naeimeh Doustdar

Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of the tenth government of the Islamic Republic!

The day after the election day of 2009, when they announced your name as the winner of the election, we betook ourselves to Ministry of the Interior through alleys in which people were standing, whispering to each other, horrified. The street was closed and no car moved. A few motorcyclists rode back and forth a short distance. They were holding flags of Iran and Hezbollah of Lebanon, shouting. One of them turned to me, while I was staring at this untimely victory celebration, and called me a “whore!”

Then and there the path of disappointment began. Long days, shoulder to shoulder with old and young men and women, we traversed the city’s hot streets to fight disappointment; but your victory was the beginning of a fall that led to a cold winter.

Prostration of young bodies that were sacrificed for your victory was not the only price that the government of Iran paid for you; during this four-year fall, millions of Iranians, along with hundreds of political prisoners sentenced to torture and death, were sentenced to endure the hard days of external threat, possibility of war, economic pressure and mental insecurity. Millions of Iranians were imprisoned in your adventurous policies, hasty decisions, and clumsy crises, while large groups of political activists, journalists, and even ordinary citizens were displaced in the world in search of security or in efforts for a better life. Suitcases of immigrants were put down in countries where you had already destroyed the reputation and dignity of the Iranians. They built houses on the graves of their honor.

The days of your presidency were the days of the governance of crisis; days of price instability, valuelessness of national currency and capital, close-down of factories and domestic production, isolation of civil actors, suppression of students and workers, governance of lies, and prevalence of infidelity; the days when trust became uncommon and the market of superstition and hypocrisy flourished.

However, I, as a citizen who highly suffered huge disappointment among people and the difficulty of social and political life, do not put the blame only on you. I believe that, although you took on the fate of the nation by cheating, you rise in the social atmosphere of Iran was not so strange. Perhaps if there were not our despotic mind, if we were not far from the values of human rights, freedom and democracy, there were not so many contradictions and controversies rising from our soil, or at least, extremist minorities found fewer opportunities to impose tyranny and violence on a passive and inactive majority. You were perhaps the natural reaction of the soil to a seed that we ourselves had planted.

From this point of view, your being, despite all the hardship, bitterness and failures, was a blessing for my land; people’s everyday struggle with the demon of dictatorship that was sometimes nourished with the mental and national capital of people, while there were no weapons and support for their resistance was not a small task. Those were the days when we realized how we are trapped in dictatorial thoughts, how much we can tolerate different ideas and new patterns of life, how much we can support human rights, and where we can reach an agreement with others on the boundaries of freedom.

Alas that tyranny will not end with the countdown of the end of your presidency.