The iron fist of Iran's regime allows no chance for opposition candidates to run in the presidential election, but in the virtual realm, a new graphic novel character is the champion of a free and fair election.
Hundreds of hopeful Iranians have registered as candidates to replace President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as in the forthcoming election on June 14, 2013. The conservative Council of Guardians will now appoint the shortlist of candidates who will actually run.
Zahra For President
Many still remember the massive protest movement that erupted after the election in 2009. The activist website United4Iran and the serial web comic Zahra's Paradise have launched the virtual campaign Zahra For President 2013 to expose Iran's corrupt political system through satire.
Zahra is the hero of the graphic novel whose 19-year-old son, Mehdi, disappeared after participating in demonstrations against Iran’s 2009 election outcome. Her campaign develops in weekly illustrated panels on the website Vote4Zahra.org.
Here is the virtual campaign message:
In 2009, Zahra and her family, along with millions of Iranians took to the streets to demand fair and free elections. Despite a brutal crackdown, the promise of an Iranian spring—democracy, dignity, and justice—is far from extinguished. Today, Zahra is running for President, the promise of a new day. Join her. Let’s win back our Iran.
The Right to a Free and Fair Election
People from around the world, including Iran, have uploaded their photos on the Facebook page for Zahra's Paradise.
Some have posted photos with a simple but difficult to achieve slogan: “I have the right to a free and fair elections.”
Zahra Does Not Forget Bloggers
Zahra mentions that security forces have jailed and tortured bloggers, journalists and their families.
Zahra's campaign reminds us of a sad truth. Four years ago millions of Iranians believed in change, voted for real candidates, and some even sacrificed their lives. Now, a cartoon character appears to be the most appealing candidate for some.