The opinions expressed here are well-reasoned and insightful -- needless to say they are not the opinions of my employers

24 June 2009

Where is my vote?

Like many people (certainly not all) I've been following the situation in Iran much more closely than the situation in South Carolina/Buenos Aires.

The Iranian government is clearly taking its cues from the Chinese government of 20 years ago. For all of the talk about new media (will the revolution be Twittered?) the degree to which Khamenei will be successful will depend largely on how broad-based the reform movement is -- we know that the "Sea of Green" is deep, how wide is it?

Hopefully we are about to see a significant weakening of the hard-liners in the Iranian government. Sooner would be better than later -- but this could be the beginning of a long process. The regime has the firepower and is clearly ruthless. How much public support
are they sacrificing for short-term control?

All that the new media can do is attempt to counter government propaganda about foreign influence. Many Iranians have positive views of Americans yet are suspicious of the motives of the American government. Can you imagine if the British or the Chinese or the Russian governments had officially endorsed either Obama or McCain last year? Or if they had made public statements supporting one side or the other in the recounts following the 2000 election?

It is ironic that this is all about holding on to a presidency that only carries as much actual power as the Supreme Leader chooses to allow...

I was touched by the video of the death of Neda last week -- it is ironic that we are still arguing over the release of images that present the US in a more critical light -- but the events of today hit home as I read the Twitter updates of Persiankiwi, who has been one of the most prolific reporters from the inside of the protests and marches in the past two weeks. I don't know if the reporter/reporters known as Persiankiwi have shut down for the evening, or if he/she/they have been arrested or worse but these last few updates put a lump in my throat:

  • saw 7/8 militia beating one woman with baton on ground - she had no defense nothing - #Iranelection sure that she is dead
  • ppl run into alleys and militia standing there waiting - from 2 sides they attack ppl in middle of alleys #Iranelection
  • phone line was cut and we lost internet - #Iranelection - getting more difficult to log into net - #Iranelection
  • rumour they are tracking high use of phone lines to find internet users - must move from here now - #Iranelection
  • they catch ppl with mobile - so many killed today - so many injured - Allah Akbar - they take one of us - #Iranelection
  • they pull away the dead into trucks - like factory - no human can do this - we beg Allah for save us - #Iranelection
  • we must go - dont know when we can get internet - they take 1 of us, they will torture and get names - now we must move fast - #Iranelection
  • thank you ppls 4 supporting Sea of Green - pls remember always our martyrs - Allah Akbar - Allah Akbar - Allah Akbar #Iranelection
  • Allah - you are the creator of all and all must return to you - Allah Akbar - #Iranelection Sea of Green

1 comment:

Lockwood said...

Thanks for the update. I've been staying away from the news since Monday when I posted on Neda. As I've commented in my blog, I'm a little shocked at how deeply and emotionally I find myself reacting to events there... I think it's because the news is coming out of the people themselves rather than through so-called "objective" reporters. Somehow, these tweets convey the situation in a way that traditional reporting cannot. Again, thanks.

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