politics, Society

The Revolution Will be Tweeted.

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.

If you’re on Twitter and want to do your small part, here’s some advice from Marj (via The Stimulist, originally from http://reinikainen.co.uk/ which has been suspended).

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.

Links
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

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