The New Iranian Uprising

Thursday, 18th June 2009 at 12:44 UTC 1 comment

A few years ago (or so it seems) I wrote an article looking at the likely contrasting effects of an uprising and an American intervention. Here’s the original post and a refreshed version, both over a year old now, but with a lot to say about the current turmoil. To this I would like to add a few thoughts.

First, its interesting how much the uprising has captured the popular opinion in Tehran, where I think a higher percentage of residents made their way onto the streets than did so in the capitals of either Burma or Tibet. The proportions have been huge. This is perhaps a much needed reminder that, no matter how much the people are repressed, eventually, they’ll just hit the streets anyway.

Second, I do think its worth reiterating that this is not an uprising against the whole of the Iranian regime; Khomeini is not the target, and he is the supreme leader, not the President. But that isn’t to devalue this grass roots intervention. In fact, it is quite largely to say that this is a grass roots uprising, and not the kind of “grass roots uprising” which looks suspiciously congruous with an outside intervention. Its unlikely Washington would get anything from this.

Third, that its tragic the extent to which the battle has moved from the streets to the web, with the police smashing up computers in the universities to stop people making contact with the outside world. But this is just as much of an issue as Bush regime attempts to codify crises control mechanisms for the Americans which would involve taking charge of the internet to restore public order (the EU has discussed similar legislation).

The fact is, the internet currently provides a window of opportunity for people to push back against all their oppressors, through mutual understanding of oppression and through universal reporting not being effectively prevented by those in government. Sadly, this probably won’t last long, and it isn’t in the commercial interests of even the best-willed corporation to keep this going, even though Twitter, as one example, has taken action against Iranian interventions already.

It is my hope and prayer that the solution to this uprising, to this crack in history, is that first and foremost Justice will prevail and that the people of Iran will have altered the dynamic towards something more plural and free thinking. Women may not be about to remove their headscarves, but a lot more might happen to promote a new reality of free-assembly and social change. And with the current underpinnings, its possible that what does happen won’t be just another Enforced Westernisation Program.

Apologies for the fact this post is some 30 hours late in appearing. I shall attempt to post something by lunchtime tomorrow, a guest post on Saturday if one materialises, and then maybe a bonus post on Sunday to make up.


Entry filed under: Activism, Iran, Participation, Politics, Women.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. kaerast  |  Thursday, 18th June 2009 at 17:12 UTC

    I’ve been following the Iran stories primarily from a tech point of view. A few thoughts:

    To smash up the students’ computers is to admit that their filtering doesn’t work. To admit that their filtering isn’t working seems a mistake.

    Twitter still is yet to demonstrate a business model. There is no commercial sense in letting people use it for free, there is even less commercial sense in providing APIs which effectively mean Twitter is a half-built product with other websites and tools being used as clients. The US Government are keen to see it continue though, the Whitehouse contacted Twitter this week to request they re-scheduled the planned outage due to events in Iran.

    The support for the protestors in Iran is truely amazing, but is it somehow linked to the fact the mass media would like a less hard-line president? There have always been European protests in solidarity with events further afield, but are they just being reported better this time? That said, I do know somebody who has just left on a 1000km coach journey to join Iran protests in Paris.


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