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Middle East

A face in the crowd, a cry from the heart

'Maryam', a 24-year-old Tehran student, mourns for her country

I cannot put my feeling into words. I can only express my sorrow for my country. The result is unbelievable. It is a blatant lie. And now we have this kid, this stupid child who claims that his re-election is a victory of the people.

How can we withstand this man ruling us for four more years? Of course Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, our supreme leader, supported him in stealing this election. He is the "father" of this kid. I didn't want to vote on Thursday but this election was totally different from previous votes.

And my city, Tehran, these last few weeks, felt like a different place. I know people, entire families, who had not participated in any elections since the revolution but this time our mood and our outlook was transformed.

Opponents of Ahmadinejad used blogs and websites to highlight his lies. We were bombarded with text messages and we followed the news on satellite television although it is forbidden by the law.

I abhor Ahmadinejad and everything he stands for. He is not a true Muslim, he is a cheat and a fraud and an enemy of any kind of true religion. He is not driven by money but he craves only one thing: power. And our spiritual leader endorses him.

Mousavi is no hero either. But I knew there were ways in which he could bring about subtle changes. I also know that in Iran another revolution is something people are terrified of. We've had oppression and war and revolution, we don't want more bloodshed. The best thing for our people is that little by little we achieve change and we reform the entirety of this system.

So I came to the view that with Mousavi, our youth would have more freedom than before. They could express their ideas, wear what they want. Women would be able to gain equal rights and freedoms. Oh my God, I don't want to even think about the possibilities that have now vanished before our eyes.

I gave my vote to Mousavi. I didn't join in wearing green, like so many others. But when I heard about how Ahmadinejad cheated I promised I would wear green in public all the time. Mousavi voters are completely depressed. More than that they are angry and regret that they took part in the election. Some of them cry and shout out, "Where is my vote?"

It is the law in Iran for women to wear hijab. I accept this, because I am Muslim, and I go further, I wear a chador in public because I really feel free in it. People don't see me, they just see a black cloak. People who judge me from my appearance assume I am a fundamentalist conservative, that I am an Ahmadinejad voter and support the repression of the morality police or the stoning of women who commit adultery.

But the truth is, while I am religious and I believe firmly in Islam, I have lost faith in Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the revolution. I have no trust in Ayatollah Khamenei or his offspring Ahmadinejad. The President's supporters are bigots. This country needs a proper political leader not an old cleric or a political child.

On Saturday and yesterday, Mousavi supporters defied the regime in some streets, in Vanak Square, Fatemi Street, they set a bus on fire and they were beaten by the police. It is clear to everyone now that Ahmadinejad has stolen this vote and that he will shut down the young people on the streets. After a few days their anger will be abated.

When I have wiped my tears away, I have something to be happy and proud of. Mousavi may have lost this fraudulent election, but people will not forget him, and what is more they will draw a line between him and what he represents and this government.

What is more, we will never forget this event. People will not give up. They are being crushed into silence, but they won't be silent forever. They have new ways to connect to one another. They, the regime, can block Facebook today but they can't do it forever. Something has changed in this country, people have been cheated but they have seized more freedom. Now we are like caged lions, so taking anything from us will be harder in future.

I will never lose my hope and as long as I live in Iran, I will do my best for it. America must try to negotiate with Iran. President Obama has offered Iran a chance. This election is a setback, but he must not give up. It is just a moment in time, the blink of an eye. Time will expose the liars' lies and history will be its witness."

"Maryam" is not the author's real name