Posted by: Juweon | June 15, 2009

#iranelection

Have you ever had a moment or an event that you experienced/witnessed/observed that just belittled all of your worries, goals, desires and needs?

I had this moment tonight while on, of all places, Twitter… the site I had ridiculed for so long for being “useless, distracting and obsessive.”  I have started to use Twitter since my campaign for the Best Job in the World heated up, but I hadn’t experienced Twitter’s full potential for movements like the one we are seeing in Iran RIGHT NOW.

I’m amazed at Twitter’s ability to serve as this new revolutionary medium of news delivery but for the Iranian people, using the tools of the internet like blogs and social networking sites to vent their frustrations of an oppressive regime and to communicate to the outside world the true conditions of Iran, without the tint of the state-run media, is nothing new.

As I kept hitting the “refresh” button on the topic #iranelection for two hours on my laptop, I got literally hundreds of links to pictures, videos, on-the-scene tweets and up to the minute status updates on the current developments in Iran.  I was simply BLOWN AWAY and it made everything significant in my life all so minuscule.  The hundreds of thousands, no, now reports are saying millions of Iranians, are RISING UP and saying NO MORE!

The Streets of Tehran - Photo Courtesy of blr85 on Twitter

The Streets of Tehran - Photo Courtesy of blr85 on Twitter

The people are risking everything they have, including their lives, to face off against metal rod swinging armed policemen on motorcycles and plain-clothed police officers that ambush peaceful protesters with bats and machetes and paramilitary commandos rampaging through their homes and dormitories.  The latest from Tehran, the military now has orders to use live rounds on the protesters.  (Here’s a first person account of the conditions in Tehran)

Irans Motorcycle Hooligan Cops - AP Photo

Iran's Motorcycle "Hooligan" Cops - AP Photo

Protester shields riot policeman #newiran #iranelection (via ... on Twitpic

But out of the chaos, anger, violence and division, you saw humanism… such as this young protester protecting the very same policeman who was swinging his baton at the heads of protestors just like him moments earlier.  And as this video shows, this was not a one time thing as another police officer is shown mercy from the crowd, despite their brutal and inhumane treatment of unarmed civilians.

As Martin Luther King Jr. showed the world and as Ghandi did before him, peaceful resistance with full conviction that is going to bring about change, but having conviction for the right cause also means having compassion for those standing on the wrong side.

Seeing this major event unfold, halfway around the world really made me think.  Those people on the streets of Tehran are out there making a difference, they are igniting something big that I believe will have a significant impact not only in Iran but also around the world.  They might have been forced to act when their right to vote and have a say in their government was blatantly disrespected and trampled on, but the fact still remains… they are making an impact.  What kind of  an impact can I make?  What kind of changes would I be able to bring?  We are all guilty of thinking ‘just me, alone, is insignificant, powerless…’ but imagine how different Tehran would be right now if those Iranians in the street thought that way too.

How can I add meaning to my life?  The question that I have been motivated to think about all because of a thing called a “trending topic” on a website called Twitter…

Just in case you didn’t know the backdrop:

Iran recently had their presidential election where the incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the victor in a landslide, but Ahmadinejad had underestimated the supporters of his opposition and their ability to mobilize.  The “official” count had Ahmadinejad winning with 62.5% of the vote, but there are rumors of a leaked count from the interior ministry circulating on the Internet that Mr. Holocaust Denier (Ahmadinejad) actually came in THIRD PLACE!?!?!  Here’s the article.

There’s without a doubt, some fudged up numbers and these guys did a statistical analysis of the latest results in comparison to election results in Iran that date back to 1985. And you know what? Something definitely doesn’t add up.

As the Telegraph article above told you, even the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, after declaring Ahmadinejad as the victor, retreated his steps after the people took to the streets, and has called for an investigation into the charges of election fraud.

Now, Iran had been one of it’s most delicate and troublesome foreign policy issue for the US for a very long time so what’s the US stance on this whole situation in Iran, more specifically, what is the Obama camp thinking of doing right now?  Here’s an interesting take on the subject by The Washington Independent.

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Responses

  1. That’s a great moment when the light goes on. I had a similar epiphany when that plane went down in the Hudson River earlier this year. Amazing what’s happening in Iran. I hope it makes a difference — and if it does, won’t it be ironic that after all the invasions and bombs and sabre-rattling maybe Twitter was all we really needed to bring about change in the Middle East?


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