Just NO Chance
The New York Times
By NAZILA FATHI
Published: December 21, 2006
It's encouraging to see that finally some people in Iran got fed up with the Ayatollas and are pressing for change. It is possible that after a while the Palestinians spend with Hamas in Gaza, they may come back to their senses. But given that it took the Iranians 27 years to regain their sanity and they are still half way through, and given how backward the Palos are compared to the Iranians, just no chance I will see this happen in my lifetime.
As protests broke out last week at a prestigious university here, cutting short a speech by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Babak Zamanian could only watch from afar. He was on crutches, having been clubbed by supporters of the president and had his foot run over by a motorcycle during a less publicized student demonstration a few days earlier.
But the significance of the confrontation was easy to grasp, even from a distance, said Mr. Zamanian, a leader of a student political group.
. . .
Mr. Zamanian, the head of public relations of the Islamic Association at Amir Kabir, said that while the situation had not been ideal in the Khatami years, Mr. Ahmadinejad’s antireformist campaign had led students to value their previous freedoms.
. . .
The students also complain about the president’s failure to deliver economic growth and jobs. At last week’s protest, which coincided with a now infamous Holocaust conference held by the Foreign Ministry, students chanted, “Forget the Holocaust — do something for us.”
. . .
Mr. Zamanian said that the protest had not been planned ahead of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s visit, but that students were further enraged when they saw supporters of the president being bused in.
Although the auditorium was almost filled with the president’s supporters by the time any students were let in, the protesters forced their way inside, chanted, “Death to the dictator,” and held banners calling him a “fascist president.” They also held up posters of the president with his picture upside down and set fire to three of them. Many of the students are now in hiding.
. . .
The president was eventually forced to cut his speech short and leave. But angry students stormed his car, kicking it and chanting slogans. His convoy of four cars collided several times as they tried to leave in a rush. Eventually the students were dispersed.
. . .
A few days after the protest, former Amir Kabir students affiliated with the Islamic associations’ coordinating office wrote a letter to Mr. Ahmadinejad. In it, they turned down what they said was his invitation to share their problems with him, because they believed that he wanted to use the occasion to bolster his candidates in the local elections.
The students also wrote that the president had insulted their intelligence by talking to them in the same language he uses in remote villages on his provincial trips.
“You should know that what happened at Polytechnic University was the voice of universities and the real voice of the people,” they wrote. Tehran Polytechnic was the university’s name before the revolution.
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