Rant on the Iranian election protest

I decided to write this blog in hopes of getting over feeling paralyzed with fear to effectively do something that could actually benefit my friends and family in Iran. I am beginning to feel compelled to do what many American folk singers have done in the past. To present a snapshot of what is historically happening. Updates on my progress will hopefully be published on this blog.

If you haven't already heard, the Iranian People - mostly organized by students - are protesting the obviously rigged Iranian election results, re-electing President Ahmadinejad. What is the most surprising, is how crudely they rigged them. It makes one wonder if those in power are really so naive to think that no one would notice. With record numbers turning out to the polls; there was a 63% to 34% percent win for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over his primary opponent, Hussein Moussavi. It shouldn't have been any surprise that the people would respond with massive demonstrations. Much of the demonstration organizing is accomplished using online tools such as YouTube and Twitter.

Note: In an admirable act of altruism, Twitter postponed their scheduled update in fear of disrupting the demonstrations since Iranians have restricted internet access, therefore, might not have the properly updated software to continue to utilize Twitter.

Iranian students impressive use of Twitter, YouTube and e-mail campaigns as tools to organize mass protests; is a model that organizers in the US should take note of. Many of the updates to orchestrate these admirable acts of defiance must be sent only minutes prior to the demonstration or the Iranian government might catch wind of them soon enough to react. Even with time restrictions, the attendance to these events are in the tens of thousands.

Updates on Twitter can be found at Tehran-based persiankiwi and Hussein Moussavi's twitter page. His most recent post: "I am prepared For martyrdom, go on strike if I am arrested."

Martyrdom culture is an interesting thing. The admiration of martyrs ensures that the more innocents whom are killed the larger the protest turn out will be. Therefore, the recent statements by Ali Khomeini for people not to hold demonstrations or they will be dealt with accordingly - next to the numerous deaths, beatings, torture and random searches - is thankfully only encouraging the protesters.

Awaiting Khomeini's statement at Friday prayer - of which students were asked not to attend by Mousavi - a student responded with:

"Saturday will be the biggest march to date probably, despite whatever announcement is made at Friday prayers.

I think something which those living outside Iran need to realize is that people here are not protesting because of a disapproval of the election outcome per say. Almost every individual has had a bad experience at some point with a Basij , a member of the security forces or a government official.

Whether it be a teenage party which they were attending being raided, harassed on the streets because of their clothes, visited by corrupt officials at work, or mistreated in a government office.

People are simply fed up, this is about far more than just the elections."

The important thing to note from this student is that last statement, ". . . this is about far more than just the elections." Iranian student organizers have been waiting for this opportune moment to make a powerful statement heard all around the world. However, they shouldn't have been forced to.

None of this bloodshed would have happened if it wasn't for the 1953 CIA staged coupe to overthrow the first democratically elected leader - both in the Middle-East and in Iran - Mohammed Mossadegh. He could have been the beginning of many reforms and a more democratic state. However, Mossadegh nationalized Iran's oil which upset the western world, whom was calling him a communist to justify their reintroduction of an aristocracy via the Shah.

But, now the revolution is hopefully happening again as many are drawing a direct parallel to the 1979 overthrow of the Shah. BBC correspondent Joe Simpson states:

"The last time I found myself in Valy Asr avenue in Tehran, shouldering my way through a shouting, sweating, half-excited, half-frightened crowd - in order to get television pictures of a fire that was sending up a column of choking black smoke into the sky - it was 1979 and I was 30 years younger."

The entire article is on the BBC Website.

I hope that this might be a break from what famous Iranian political cartoonist, Ardeshir Mahasses, has deemed Iran's "Closed circuit history." Time after time Iranians see one despot off only to be confronted by yet another. Lets hope that the "Times Are A Changing" to a governmental structure that is more decentralized and by the people.

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