Sorry it has taken so long to post. Things have been slowing down at ADAPP since arrests of Azerbaijanis have come to a near halt. Despite what you read on Twitter, Tabriz, Urmia, Ardabil, Zanjan and other Azerbaijani cities remain quiet in the post-election period.
From my understanding, the majority of the demonstrations have been localized in Tehran, with random demonstrations in other cities of Iran with predominantly Persian populations. This is strictly my perspective, but I believe that Ahmadinejad has more popular support in Iran than Western media will have you believe. He has expanded social welfare programs for Iran’s poor and continues to do so. In the 1979 revolution, the ordinary people rose to protest the shah’s economic policies, which marginalized the poorer classes; this key element is lacking today. This, coupled with Ahmadinejad’s refusal to back down from American threats, have left certain groups of people in Iran to strongly support the man. I’m not saying that the elections were not fraudulent (only time will show the true results); I’m just saying that a popular uprising is not likely and it is my understanding that the minority regions of Iran understand this and so they are not getting involved.
I must, however, contend that the current protests and demonstrations have been youth-driven (which compromise the majority of the population in Iran) for expansion of social freedoms. Although, I believe that it will take more than this to spark a a change in the Islamic regime. It seems that the regime is here to stay for now.
For the past couple of weeks, an Azerbaijani activist who works for ADAPP came from Toronto to help us out here in Vancouver. I can’t tell you enough how much I learned from him. Along with being forced to practice my Azerbaijani Turkish, I learned more about the politics and issues about our cause. I taught him how to use the flip cam, which was given to us by Advocacy Project. He will spending his time filming and editing videos from the activists in Toronto and posting it to ADAPP’s youtube site.
I also wanted to bring to your attention this week some items that I thought further explain a few of the problems with minorities in Iran:
Iran, Regionalism, Ethnicity and Democracy – This is an excellent article on the movement. It explains the myth of foreign influence in Azerbaijan and puts to rest fears of secession.
The Azerbaijani Question in Iran – Gives a history of the root of Azerbaijani demands in Iran.
Iran’s anti-arab racism: Explains the situation and racism faced by Ahwazi Arabs of Iran’s south, although it is rather anti-American.
In the next couple of weeks, I shall be bringing you interviews from some of the activists and advocates involved in the Azerbaijani linguistic and civil rights movement.
Posted By Farzin Farzad
Posted Aug 4th, 2009