Saturday, June 20, 2009

on the unfolding revolution in Iran

Sixteen days ago I was commenting on the twentieth anniversary of Tienanmen Square. I said that "[T]he world will change again, but when?"

Turns out, last Friday was the answer. The people of Iran were shocked that their government would so blatantly overturn their will for the election of president. If leaked results from the Interior Minitry are to believed, then
Mr Mousavi had won 19.1 million votes while Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won only 5.7 million.

The two other candidates, reformist Mehdi Karoubi and hardliner Mohsen Rezai, won 13.4 million and 3.7 million respectively.
A far cry from the landslide 63-30 official results for Ahmadinejad over Mousavi. But the people of Iran, half of whom are my age (30) or younger knew that the official results were a sham.

They have organized using online tools, and have kept the world informed via Twitter, YouTube and listsrvs. The videos and pictures and tweets coming out of the "Islamic Republic" show a brave people facing down thuggish government directed goons who delight in beating to death men and women for merely protesting.

The world watches with its heart in its throat. We pray for the Iranians to have their voices heard, for the police forces to put their batons down, and for the election to be annulled. While we sit comfortably thousands of miles wishing we could help. But we are neither as brave or as able to lend a hand because the government would like nothing more than to claim this organic uprising to be the product of a Western plot.

Like Obama, Mousavi is a vessel that these young Iranians have poured their hopes and dreams into. Now they are going to have to fight for their dreams on the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities, and on the internet. Mousavi and Obama are but men, but the ideas of the revolution of 2009 cannot be beaten away or tear gased out of existence. Governing through fear only lasts so long. The people of Iran overthrew a government 30 years ago, we just might be watching them do it again.

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