Thursday, July 9, 2009


Do you know what this is?

It's a screenshot from this Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Web site (it's blocked most of the time, so the link may not work) in Iran. It's a collection of photos taken from the news and elsewhere of protests in the streets of Iran, and its asking Iranians who know any of the protesters to identify them.

Something about that is just absolutely terrifying to me. I've seen the video of Neda dying in the street, pictures of bloody protesters, the sounds of protesters shouting "Allahu Akbar!" from the rooftops, and it's all pretty powerful and moving. But the concept of a government using the Web as a tool to call on citizens to denounce their friends and neighbors – guilty of standing up for their belief in fairness and democracy – gives me this weird, chilled feeling. Imagine you're a student in Tehran and you read about this site and you nervously click on it... and you see your face and realize that the thugs who "police" the streets are looking for you specifically, and anyone you ever knew could potentially turn you in and give those thugs your name and address... Ugh. It just creeps me out.

Also, if you haven't seen this, please check out the best reporting on Iran so far. Unfortunately, the mainstream media haven't done this story and it had to come from "fake" news, but it gives the best picture yet of who the Iranian people really are and should go a long way to killing the stereotypes.