Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Revolution Will Be Televised

Michael Totten was discussing how important citizen journalism is to understanding the current situation in Iran. He gave a link to this audio report in Farsi with English subtitles.

And then Michael finds something that corroborates the audio report about the nature of the demonstrations.

What I saw today was the most elegant scene I had ever witnessed in my life. The huge number of people were marching hand in hand in full peace. Silence. Silence was everywhere. There was no slogan. No violence. Hands were up in victory sign with green ribbons. People carried placards which read: Silence. Old and young, man and woman of all social groups were marching cheerfully. This was a magnificent show of solidarity. Enghelab Street which is the widest avenue in Tehran was full of people. I was told that the march has begun in Ferdowsi Sq. and the end of the march was now in Imam Hossein Sq. to the further east of Tehran while on the other end people had already gathered in Azadi Sq. The length of this street is about 6 kilometers. The estimate is about 2 million people. On the way, we passed a police department and a militia (Baseej) base. In both places, the doors were closed and we could see fully-armed riot police and militia watching the people from behind the fences. Near Sharif University of Technology where the students had chased away Ahmadinejad a few days ago, Mirhossein Mousavi (the reformist elect president) and Karrubi (the other reformist candidate spoke to people for a few minutes which was received by cries of praise and applause. I felt proud to find myself among such a huge number of passionate people who were showing the most reasonable act of protest. Frankly, I didn’t expect such a political maturity from emotional Iranians who easily get excited.
Very interesting.

Totten has another report I found very interesting.
I asked him how social life in Iran is right now, ie if people are going to work, etc. He said that probably half the stores are closed, but that unemployment is 40% anyway, so its not like protestors have anything better to do. These people are mostly young, unemployed, have poor access to higher education, and no foreseeable future prospects. All they had was their perceived voice in government, and since that has been so blatantly taken away, the situation is ready to explode. He’s also heard that in smaller cities around the country, the protests have become much more violent with a lot of skirmishes between the Basij and protestors.
A lot of young men with nothing to do. Always dangerous. You can put them in armies but that is always dangerous. You could put the kids in schools. But you know - for authoritarian regimes - that is dangerous. You can always try to slow the spread of information by censoring cell phones and the internet. But that is never complete nor totally effective. Here is a video channel from YouTube that is a good place to start. You know when everyone has a television camera it turns out that The Revolution Will Be Televised.

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