Saturday, June 20, 2009

Showdown in Iran

Today is do-or-die day in Iran. If the defiance continues. If Mousavi shows up, despite the regime's threats to exile him. More excerpts from Andrew Sullivan's blog of yesterday:

A reader writes:
Like so many of your readers, we have skin in the game. In February we were getting a tour of Tehran, driving up Valiasr street drinking fresh pomegranate juice and listening to Meatloaf's "Bat out of Hell" album (!) with three of my husband's nephews, getting a tour of the city from their point of view.
When I think of our beautiful, brilliant nephews out in the streets - and their parents have told us that is where they have been all week - it breaks my heart. I hope they get the lives they want, and I fear seeing their mothers if they don't get through this. I worry about the boys in Ahvaz and Shiraz as well.

We believe that there is indeed an Obama effect in play here.

From an anonymous blogger in Iran: “I will participate in the demonstrations tomorrow. Maybe they will turn violent. Maybe I will be one of the people who is going to get killed. I’m listening to all my favorite music. I even want to dance to a few songs. I always wanted to have very narrow eyebrows. Yes, maybe I will go to the salon before I go tomorrow! There are a few great movie scenes that I also have to see. I should drop by the library, too. It’s worth to read the poems of Forough and Shamloo again. All family pictures have to be reviewed, too. I have to call my friends as well to say goodbye. All I have are two bookshelves which I told my family who should receive them. I’m two units away from getting my bachelors degree but who cares about that. My mind is very chaotic. I wrote these random sentences for the next generation so they know we were not just emotional and under peer pressure. So they know that we did everything we could to create a better future for them. So they know that our ancestors surrendered to Arabs and Mongols but did not surrender to despotism. This note is dedicated to tomorrow’s children…” - an Iranian blogger, with more courage than most of us will ever know.
[Re-posted for obvious reasons.]

TWEETS directly from Iran:
confirmed - Mousavi - SATURDAY is a big day for fighting fascism
Only 10 hours left until the Iranian people finally disobey their dictator. History is watching. Let's make it proud.
Now, all my life hurts [Google translation]
Reformist and activist bloggers arrested / they are my friends I am worrying for them very much
and also that the reformist leaders in jail are being pressured to give false confessions

Roger Cohen, who has been in Iran during these events, writes today in the New York Times:

Two Irans now confront each other across it [the line in the sand drawn by Khamenei yesterday in his prayer speech]. One of the achievements of the 1979 revolution has been that it brought education to many more Iranians. I spoke the other day to a doctor. She was wearing a surgical mask as she marched. She works at a state oil company clinic. She was 20 in 1979 and she marched then, too.

“People are far more educated and cultivated now,” she told me. “They know the stakes. This is deep. Moussavi will go to the end for our freedom.”

Iran has sought independence and some form of democracy for over a century. It now has the former but this election has clarified, for an overwhelmingly young population, the Islamic Republic’s utter denial of the latter.

The feeling in the crowd seems to be: today or never, all together and heave!

A man holds his mobile phone up to me: footage of a man with his head blown off last Monday. A man, 28, whispers: “The government will use more violence, but some of us have to make the sacrifice.”

Another whisper: “Where are you from?” When I say the United States, he says: “Please give our regards to freedom.”

Which brings me to President Barack Obama, who said in his inaugural speech: “Those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

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