Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Iran Tweeting for Democracy

The massacre of Tianammen Square happened twenty years ago this month. On that occasion we saw a peaceful many student led protest for change and democracy slowly quietened then quashed by force. The eyes of the world watched as the army moved in to break that up. The outcome is that China still tries to control just what information the Chinese people do have access to.

Move on to now and instead of Beijing we have Tehran. Instead of the Communist Party cadre on the street we have the Basiji the religious militia. Instead of a few thousand hanging chads from Florida we're looking at millions of lost ballot papers and votes, plus in some pro-Ahmadinjad areas reports of 120% turnouts. The people can't be fooled that much.

Iran thirty years ago threw out the Shah for tyranny and oppression with the Islamic Republic being set up. They famously burnt American flags in and after that revolution, now the new generation of net savvy young people are using largely American based social networking and new media sites to get their message out. The old guard are trying to lock down the old media but the new media is far more flexible. Trying to censure the Internet will never work for this new age. People see it as damage and merely, like the Mongols did with the Great Wall of China, if they are determined enough will find a way to go around.

That is what is happening now. Iran is trying to shut down communication, mobile phone networks are down, texting is no longer available, Internet portals are being blocked. But somehow the word is still getting out. Proxy servers are being set up and phone calls are still being made. Posts and blogs and vlogs are still getting through or around whatever is being thrown up. Yeah the old media is under a reporting ban of strict conditions, but the world's media no longer solely relies on such sources for all its news. So the news still hits the rest of the world (or as much of it as is allowed free speech) about what is going on in Iran, not from the traditional journalists but the citizenry who realise that their time is now.

A new day has dawned in Tehran who news what the Internet will convey to us today. A new awaking is also arising from dormancy in the Islamic Republic.

No comments:

Post a Comment