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.


Chris said...

What this makes me think of are the radio transmissions of the Hutu military and interahamwe in Rwanda to slaughter all Tutsis. Imagine hearing a radio broadcast telling your neighbors to take a machete and chop you and your family to pieces. I still don't understand how that propaganda was so successful but this is absolutely a similar situation. Technology can be used in such horrible ways. It does scare the shit out of me.

Jacelle said...

I can't even wrap my head around it. I just watched that Daily Show thing too and it was pretty powerful. Thanks for sharing!

Spenc said...

um horrifying. don't even know what else to say.

lavitadajessica said...

I can't even believe this is happening somewhere in the world. We truly take our freedom for granted in this country. I've protested many times and never felt any fear of retribution by the government. The only thing I feel I can do is pray for the safety of those wonderfully brave souls who are standing up to their government.

I read a book about the last Revolution in Iran, in 1979 called Journey From the Land of No, it is a fabulous read and I highly encourage people to read it, it will give you an insight as to the history of the people of Iran. They are brave and wonderful people who have been through a lot in the last 30 years. I certainly hope that things will be better for them soon.

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