Unless you don’t have access to the internet (which seems to be the new ‘living under a rock’, although I am very aware I am one of the privileged few in the world who can say this), you have at least heard about the protests in Iran over their disputed elections on Friday.
First, I want to say my heart goes out to every person in the crowd and their family. To risk your life means these people are fighting for something that truly means something and that truly matters. It’s not merely a celebration (or even revengeful) vandalism (please see Los Angeles the same day, which made me cringe in embarrassment). Even with this preface, I am not convinced Mousavi is the rightful winner of the election. Not to say I am convinced Ahmadinejad is the winner either. From everything I’ve gathered, it would indicate that the votes were not properly accounted for, and thus no one really knows who is the candidate with the most popular votes (unless it was an obvious landslide, in which case a few in the government probably do know, but I doubt this).
It is for this reason that I have been following the news out of Iran, and the reason I feel it’s important to stay informed as these events transpire. I’ve heard teachers and other adults talk about watching the first televised revolutions in the Former Soviet Block, and in Iran, and now I will be able to say I was a tiny, miniscule part of the first internet-broadcast global social uprising. I am hesitant to call it a revolution because most of these people are not protesting against their system (see chart), but fighting to legitimize and strengthen the democratic part of the system. As Clay Shriky said, “The guy we’re rallying around, Mousavi, is no liberal reformer. But the principle of freedom of speech and fair elections and the desire for reform trump that.” But the fact that this type of activism is occurring in Iran is a hopeful sign of their value in democracy and their voice.
The Iranian government’s blantant exercise to quiet the voices of the public in this election was succinctly summarized in TIME Magazine’s article Five Reasons to Suspect Iran’s Election Results. Some indicators of fraud include having no independent voting supervision (which is normal with Iranian elections), reports of voter suppression, the abnormally quick rate of return (within an hour of polls closing) and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei deeming Ahmadinijad the winner after less than a day when laws dictate a three day grace period for candidates to request any investigations, the suspicious vote totals in certain areas, all regions closely matched the national results. The Internal Ministry going back against their (early) word to recount the votes, votes that were said to not be close, but a landslide, is another reason to question the legitimacy of this election. Since the same people who created the likely fraud will be the ones to investigate, I’m not sure I put too much credibility into it, but it’s a step.
1. Do not publicize proxy IPs over Twitter.
2. The only two legitimate hashtags being used by bloggers in Iran are #iranelection and #gr88.
3. Keep your bullshit filter up! Security forces are now setting up Twitter accounts to spread disinformation by posing as Iranian protesters. Please don’t retweet impetuously; try to confirm information with reliable sources before retweeting.
4. Help cover Iranian bloggers. Change your Twitter settings so that your location is TEHRAN and your time zone is GMT +3.30. Security forces are hunting for bloggers using location and timezone searches. If we all become ‘Iranians,’ it becomes impossible to find them.
5. Don’t blow their cover. If you discover a genuine source, please don’t publicize their name or their location.
6. If you don’t know what you’re doing, stay out of this game.
7. Do spread the (legitimate) word. It works! When the bloggers asked for Twitter maintenance to be postponed using the #nomaintenance tag, it had the desired effect. As long as we spread good information, provide moral support to the protesters, and take our lead from legitimate bloggers, we can make a constructive contribution.
Iran’s Military Coup by Reza Aslan (Daily Beast)
Tim O’Brien (Twitter – tweeting articles and other links concerning the Iran election)
One Hoopy Frood‘s two posts so far.
NYTimes Iran Page
NYTimes two slideshows (photos)
Boston Globe’s Big Picture’s two</a posts so far (photos)
Mousavi1388’s Flickr (photos)
The internet is littered with information. I turned on my computer to watch Merlin, and ended up reading and catching up on Iran’s news from the few hours I was away. Then this post was written.
صلح باخودتان ممکن است باشد