My Thoughts on the #IranElection

inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un – We are from God and to God we return

The unrest in Iran has been going on for almost two weeks, and I have posted nothing here for several reasons:

  1. The story is unfolding in internet time, and the updates are coming fast and furious on Twitter. I am geared for academic time and television time, both of which move significantly slower than internet time.
  2. Because of the speed at which things are moving, people with deeper knowledge and/or better resources are better positioned to give real knowledge on the situation. I do not want to add to the noise in the blogosphere or on Twitter.

I am twitter, and you can follow me there or on the sidebar on the left. However, here a list of people you should be following:

  1. Shahrzadmo
  2. PersianKiwi
  3. Elizrael
  4. Kawdess
  5. Meedan
  6. MidEastYouth
  7. Dakster9
  8. AslanMedia
  9. Juan Cole

In addition, Andrew Sullivan has been doing an amazing job on his blog of covering the situation, and Juan Cole is as reliable as always. Richard Cohen has been updating at the Op-Ed section of the NYT, and Gary Sick is providing good analysis as well.

In terms of strategy for Twitter, I’ve heard two things: change your location to Tehran and don’t re-Tweet people’s names. I’ve also heard the opposite, b/c by changing your location, it contributes to noise on the stream and decreases reliability of sourcing. The same for RTs, if you don’t know who the source is, you can be contributing misinformation. It really depends on who you’re following and what their requests are. The goal should be to keep people safe and transmit reliable information.

I support the protestors. I do no support Mousavi. The people’s voice must be heard. A week ago I did not think that these protests would upset the clerical regime, but now with Khamenei being so politically tone deaf, he may actually be precipitating that which he does not want, the end of vilayet-e faqih. Although I am not a close Iran watcher, I am concerned that a sudden breakdown in the regime would be politically problematic because I am not sure who could step into the political vacuum without re-creating the same system, but without clerical support. That’s not a good position.
What I am truly surprised at is how deaf Khamenei is. There is a strong religious resonance to what is happening now, of the will of the people being denied, of the justice unserved, of true leadership subverted. This echoes with the Saqifa, with Siffin, with Kerbala. It may not be explicit, but in a culture that uses religious imagery so openly, the association must be there.
Then, today, Father’s Day in the US, a week after Mother’s Day in Iran, comes Neda. Justice will come. May it come soon.