Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"It's Now All of Iran!"

There's a great post on Juan Cole's Informed Comment, that is well worth reading.

We don't have Mousavi supporters, it's now all of Iran...

That they came to Azadi, a place where thirty years ago the Revolution pivoted towards victory was fitting, for as much as the election campaign had been about who best represented the revolutionary values of Iran, Islam, and the late Imam, the push and pull of the past few days between opposition and Ahmadinejad forces has been a struggle to lay claim to authenticity. Authenticity that lies in the imagined and lived past, places, and practices of the Islamic Republic. It is as if whomever can get to the important places and rituals first and stay there, hang onto them, will win. So at night, beginning at 9 pm, we hear shouts of "Allah Akbar!" from the rooftops, just like in the fall and winter of 1978-1979. We have marches to sacred spots like Azadi and appeals by all sides to the memory of Khomeini...

In the crowd there are families, young and old. One cannot help but notice the large presence of women of all ages. The typical daily life of the capital is out here together, the homes, sidewalks and boulevards abandoned for this shared space. There is word that the crowd is millions strong; we know that it stretches eastwards to Imam Hussein Square. It is an incredible occasion---by comparison the state-organized 200,000 strong anniversary march that takes place every February starts from around Ferdowsi Square, several kilometers closer in to Azadi.


There are new signs as well. Written in English, "Where is My Vote?" (I can't help myself, the idea for an Al Gore-Mir Hossein Mousavi buddy film pops into my mind, "Dude, Where is My Vote?"). Another: 2 x 2 = 24 million, a play on the bogus economic measures touted by Ahmadinejad during the debates, now updated to reflect the equally dubious election results.


As I have noted before, what is remarkable about the Mousavi and opposition marches is the orderly disorder. These are not rallies or events in the manner that we are accustomed to in the United States. There are no official Mousavi volunteers guiding the crowd to the designated rallying points, college interns filled with coffee and day-old pizza. The movement is self-directed. Mousavi had asked his supporters to march but to march respectfully, to not give any excuse for violence. The crowd is abiding. Along the nearly kilometer length of a basiji base, the cry goes up: Shoar nagoo! Don't shout slogans! Hands are up held up instead. It is quiet. Here and there a voice, unable to restrain itself, begins to scream "Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar!" He is met instantly with hisses and whistles---saket! saket! quiet! quiet!---and the voice falls silent again.

Todd Gitlin, over on TPMCafe calls the post "Reading Gatsby in Teheran"

There's some other significant news coming out, notably, McClatchy's "Iran's senior ayatollah slams election, confirming split", which Think Progress's Wonk Room also covers, in "Montazeri: ‘In This Day And Age, One Cannot Hide The Truth From The People’"

Andrew Sullivan has a bevy of good info on his site.

Robert Baer, the former CIA Operative, has "Khamenei on the Ropes?"

And, the United States is, in one small way, giving its' support, by way of the State Department wheeling-and-dealing with Twitter, to delay it's scheduled maintenance shutdown, so as the Iranian's could maintain communication;
Twitter maintained service during Iranian elections after US State Dept request ...Twitter, the social networking website, postponed a scheduled maintenance shutdown after a US State Department request that it keep publishing during the Iran election protests

State Department to Twitter: No Fail Whale for Iran

Lastly, Salon has "What they saw at the Green Revolution - A photographic record of the Iranian election and its aftermath, through Monday's bloody street protests", with the accompanying slideshow.

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