Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Suburban Mom's Political Fix: Iranians Protesting Election Results

The events which are unfolding in the wake of the disputed Iranian presidential election are being documented by a multitude of web sites, from streams of tweets from Twitter, videos from YouTube and stories from news organizations which are struggling to adhere to the recent Iranian crackdowns on the media's transmission of video from the streets. It is, in a word, stunning.

I've been watching coverage of the five days' worth of election protests on cable news, on video feeds from news web sites and have read stories from newspapers, as well as tweets from Iran. Several things about this historic struggle to grab hold of democracy -- and a vote tally that actually bears a resemblance to an accurate count of the ballots -- struck me:

Silent Protest

Imagine people walking through the streets -- thousands and thousand of them -- there to protest an election they believe has been taken from them. And they walk in silence, holding their hands up in the peace sign, trying not to raise the ire of government riot police with whom some protesters have violently clashed over recent days. The video below captured the silent protest:

Years Ending in "9"

While reading a column in the Boston Globe by Jeff Jacoby today -- which compared the reaction of President Obama to the unrest in Iran, to President George H. W. Bush's muted response to the democratic protests in China 20 years ago ("In reacting to the recent Iranian election and to the protests that erupted after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the runaway victor, the Obama White House seems to be taking a page from the elder Bush's 1989 playbook.") -- I found it oddly intriguing that the Chinese uprising was in 1989 and the previous unrest in Iran occurred in 1979.

"The Revolution Had Begun."

The Boston Globe has on its web site a dispatch from Tehran from a participant of one of the large protests. It's riveting reading:

". . . [T]he crowd did not consist of young men, but housewives, seniors, businessmen wearing suits, even children. There was blood on many of them. They were walking downhill towards the Interior Ministry, determined and in force. The wave that had taken over Iran and partied in the streets into the morning for the last few weeks was now an army on the move. As I stood in place trying to figure out what I was seeing, I noticed shopkeepers shutting down and joining the flock. People were also chanting on the sidelines, 'down with the dictator,' referring to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, while the crowd chanted 'join us proud Iranians, join us, join us.' The crowd was growing by the moment."

The Daily Show Goes to Iran

Further blurring the lines between news, entertainment and journalism, Comedy Central's The Daily Show is sending the same guy who cut the New York Times to shreds last week, to Iran in a series of reports called, "Access of Evil."

Jon Stewart had a brutal take on how CNN has been covering the breaking news in Iran, given the restrictions placed on American journalists by the Iranian government. Mocking their reliance on "unverified material," Stewart also skewered the Iranian government's election tallying techniques.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Irandecision 2009 - CNN's Unverified Material
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJason Jones in Iran

Image credit: Getty images via the Huffington Post.

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