Iran erupts

Giving people the illusion of democracy is always a dangerous thing. It turns out they come to expect their voice to be heard.

Ahmadinejad declared himself the victor in yesterday’s Iranian elections, and the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (who gets to decide which things are ‘islamic’ and which are not, and therefore actually runs things) gave his nod. Pre-election polling showed that the challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi, would win by a wide margin, as much as 2-to-1 in some estimates.

Tehran-riots-001
The Iranian people are justifiably upset, and have taken to the streets in riot and protest.

If I were Ahmadinejad, I would be terrified right now. He has the guns and the media, but the people seem to have found their voice.

The illusion of democracy is a dangerous thing.

updated 6/14, 1:23 am

21 thoughts on “Iran erupts

  1. aly hawkins

    I am completely obsessed with what’s going on over there. I’m too young to remember the Iranian Revolution, but this is starting to look an awful lot like the images I’ve seen from 30 years ago—but in reverse. Trying not to get my hopes up, but it’s hard not to believe that something substantial and lasting is happening.

  2. sharolyn

    Two things occurred to me after watching a News Hour segment on PBS (not that they are the most important things):

    -The democracy consists of people putting slips of paper into Tupperware containers. There is no fool-proof method to voting, but it seemed awfully primitive to end up legit. I’m not suggesting a major political scheme in the works, but what would keep (I wonder) one guy from whistling, shifty-eyed, as he threw a container of votes for his party’s rival in the dumpster when no one was looking? Or for the official “counter” to forget a zero? Or…

    -The way Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s supporters revered him would never happen quite the way I saw in America. People here are enthused, excited, hopeful, etc., but we don’t put our hands over our hearts when we see our favorite candidate, smile and longingly close our eyelids as if s/he were deity. Those are some loyal followers.

  3. michael Post author

    BBC Analysis:

    Many Iranians came out on to their roofs to shout “down with the dictator”.

    It has become a challenge not just of an election result, not just to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei himself.

    That means it is, in effect, a challenge to the whole basis of the Islamic Republic.

    the full article

  4. michael Post author

    The state department asked Twitter to hold off on a scheduled maintenance downtime so that users in Tehran could keep using the site for updates, sending videos and pictures to outside news organizations.

    The mainstream media is unable to report the story, but Twitter is. There’s more than one revolution happening here.

  5. michael Post author

    The EU is speaking out against the election results and ensuing crackdown on protest.

    I think the US silence on the issue is a prudent move. Any official indication from the President that we oppose the election results can only bolster Ahmadinejad’s position. In this conflict, we’re the ally nobody wants!

    I wonder if the cost of that silence will be strained relations with the new government, should the protests succeed.

  6. aly hawkins

    Originally Posted By michaelI think the US silence on the issue is a prudent move. Any official indication from the President that we oppose the election results can only bolster Ahmadinejad’s position. In this conflict, we’re the ally nobody wants!

    I, too, think that discretion is the better part of valor in this case. Now if only those idiots in the House would rub two or more brain cells together to reach the same conclusion.

    Side note: Andrew Sullivan‘s coverage over the last week has been outstanding. I follow him anyway, but he has outdone himself during this crisis/uprising/revolution/thingy. His read on Ahmadinejad’s trip to Russia is that it will come back to bite him in the ass, seen by some Iranians as inviting foreign meddling, a la Carter and the Shah. Moussavi, in contrast, has not asked for support from any outside governments. I don’t know, but it seems at least plausible.

  7. michael Post author

    Sophia’s B-day party tomorrow.

    You should swing by after the protest, and then hang for Hotel Cafe with Stick and June. I’m playing with Jen & Abby at 9.

    Not to trivialize world changing political happenings and all, but let’s bring it back to what really matters to me: princess parties and open bottles of wine!

  8. ben miller

    i’m going to echo aly’s “obsession” with what’s going on Iran now… fascinating, inspiring, challenging, and beautiful… have been brought to tears several times reading stories, thoughts, prayers from the streets and homes of those in Iran… thanks for keeping up with this…

  9. aly hawkins

    Oh, man. Hard to describe today. We (Ash, my bro and me) were three of only a handful of non-Iranians in a crowd of maybe 1500. We made hand-lettered signs. (Ash & Tim’s together quoted Thomas Jefferson: “When the people fear the government, there is tyranny . . . When the government fears the people, there is liberty.” Mine said, “Thou shalt never be a bystander. Solidarity.”) When people saw our signs, they thanked us for coming. A lot. Some older women cried and hugged us. We were applauded at one point. It was humbling and embarrassing—I mean, we were there to support them, not the other way around. The endless stream of cars at Wilshire and Veteran honked their horns and flashed the almighty and universal V.

    All the while, we knew that terrible things were happening to people trying to demonstrate in a similar way in Tehran, Shiraz, Esfahan and other places. But we were safe and thankful on our street corner in L.A., waving our signs and doing our feeble best to join in the Farsi chants.

    I think there is some video on YouTube. I’ll try to track down my bro’s pics.

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