Friday, June 19, 2009

Courage



I haven't been posting for a couple days because, well, I have this life. I have friends, family, and a freakin' job. All of this keeps getting in the way of my Internet!

I realize this is overturning the natural order, but I'm all perverse that way.

I've been following the Iranian revolution via the live blogs set up by
Andrew Sullivan of the Atlantic and Nico Pitney at the Huffington Post. I can't seem to find a lot of coverage of the Iran situation on television, what with Rachel Maddow's up-to-the-second coverage of Nude Bicycling Day, Bill O'Reilly bludgeoning "liberal media" (whoever they are) over the Letterman/Palin dustup, and Larry King burbling on about American Idol. So it's either the blogs or nowhere.


How to help now that Google Translate is available in Persian/Farsi. A great guide is here. And please do pass along anything notable you find.

Also: Reader Dan notes that you add a translation bookmark to your browser to translate sites without having to return to Google. (Bookmark the English tab, not the Persian tab, if you want to traslate Farsi sites into English.)

Now that Khameini's proclaimed himself unequivocally for Ahmadinejad, that leaves only the options of revolution or surrender. Some voices from the streets:

Mousavi supporters were out on the streets 'Basiji hunting.' Their resolve is no less than these thugs -- theyre after hunting them down. They use their phones, their childhood friends, their intimate knowledge of their districts and neighbours to plan their attacks -- they're organised and they're supported by their community so they have little fear. They create the havoc they're after, ambush the thugs, use their Cocktail Molotovs, disperse and re-assemble elsewhere and then start again - and the door of every house is open to them as safe harbour -- they're community-connected.

The Basiji's are not. These are not the students in the dorms, they're the street young -- they know the ways better than most thugs - and these young, a surprising number of them girls, are becoming more agile in their ways as each night passes on.






“I will participate in the demonstrations tomorrow. Maybe they will turn violent. Maybe I will be one of the people who is going to get killed. I’m listening to all my favorite music. I even want to dance to a few songs. I always wanted to have very narrow eyebrows. Yes, maybe I will go to the salon before I go tomorrow! There are a few great movie scenes that I also have to see. I should drop by the library, too. It’s worth to read the poems of Forough and Shamloo again. All family pictures have to be reviewed, too. I have to call my friends as well to say goodbye. All I have are two bookshelves which I told my family who should receive them. I’m two units away from getting my bachelors degree but who cares about that. My mind is very chaotic. I wrote these random sentences for the next generation so they know we were not just emotional and under peer pressure. So they know that we did everything we could to create a better future for them. So they know that our ancestors surrendered to Arabs and Mongols but did not surrender to despotism. This note is dedicated to tomorrow’s children…”




Ms. Hilsum explained that one part of [Khameini's] speech that has struck some Western listeners as curious, his harsh attack on the United Kingdom rather than the United States, is, in part, explained by how very influential the BBC’s Persian language television and radio broadcasts are in Iran. Three decades ago that same station was central to broadcasting the Ayatollah Khomeini’s massages into Iran from abroad. The BBC’s influence, combined with the British part in Iran’s history, Ms. Hilsum said, makes it “the only country in the world where people believe America is Britain’s poodle.”



More than all the revolutions that you have mentioned (Velvet, Green, Berlin Wall, Tiananmen, Romanian) Iran reminds me most of one that you have so far skipped: Serbia in 2000. There a brutal but often popular regime had manipulated a number of elections over the course of years. The leader made a living out of bombast and blaming western democracies for oppressing his people. Eventually, he misjudged an election and made a clumsy attempt to cover it up with fraud. Fatally, he made the "mistake" of allowing peaceful demonstrations to take hold. Milosevic lasted two weeks.

Leading the populace to believe that its opinion matters is extraordinarily dangerous for a regime that has no intention of listening.






Iran’s Seda o Sima (State TV) internet site was hacked today. The title was changed to state: “When will killing brothers end?” Below is states: “Mr. Ahmadinejad, how long do we have to stand these images? The kids of the people are getting killed day by day. How long do you plan on carrying out this carnage? For the sake of power, you have stepped on the dignity of the nation. What will be next after you have killed and scarred the kids of this land?”


What we see here is astounding courage in the face of oppression. I watch with admiration and awe.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Ralf the Dog said...

I wonder about the religious aspect. Will other fundamentalist Islamic nations let Iran fail? Will the next leadership be more hostile and repressive than the last?

This is a time of great opportunity. Unfortunately this is a time of opportunity for both sides. I can see a Taliban like régime taking over (not at first). We could also have a free and open democracy that hates America even more than the last. Any new régime will have less experience, thus less restraint in international relations.

If the revolution fails things will become more repressive. If it is successful it might become more repressive.

10:27 PM  
OpenID idiotgrrl said...

Yes. It's 1968 in Iran right now, and the old-time leadership is dangerously at bay. They fear another civil war, and if they crack down the way China did in 1989, they're likely to provoke one.

7:23 AM  
Blogger Ralf the Dog said...

Random thought before I power down for the night.

Iran has funded and provided many of the people for much of the mischief in the Middle East. The Iranian Police have shown a very annoying (From the perspective of those in power) lack of enthusiasm for beating up and killing their friends, family and countrymen.

Iran has been recruiting enforcers from outside. I am assuming many of these people are coming from Iraq Afghanistan and Pakistan. With any luck this will help the US get out of some bad wars.

It is far beyond sad the pain suffering and loss of life taking place in Iran. I hope this leads to more freedom of choice and a better quality of life for people in the region. I hope the changes last.

10:49 PM  

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