June 2009 Archives

Iran's Sea of Green

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The response of the Iranian people to the election last week has been nothing short of extraordinary. And the impact of technology on the coverage of the protests of the election results is undeniable. I've watched the tweets at #iranelection and #gr88 spin by and been amazed.

In Tehran:


In Isfahan:


Andrew Sullivan and his team have done an extraordinary job from the outset in assembling many bits and pieces, straining out the repetitive, and posting them. And they did it again last night. Stayed up all night to assemble this set of tweets and images that start with reaction to Ayatollah Khamenei's speech yesterday and go back to the first comments and protests after the election "results" were announced.

Jeff Tietz wrote about twitter's impact, saying:

But in the middle of a revolution, Twitter's pretty amazing. This obviously isn't news, but in crisis the technology functions like telegraphy in the nineteenth century, the tightness of the dispatch pressing out superfluous information and leaving the immediate and vital. Again obviously, there's zero lag time, except when there are connectivity/censorship issues, which allows for a cool meta narrative: intrepid reporter eluding in various technologically clever ways the government's fat fist. ("I am accessing Twitter from Port: 80 in tehran. you can avoid gov filters from here. spread to others.") Plus, there are pictures and video.

If you find a good reporter (perhaps an actual reporter using Twitter) who writes over a sustained period of time, the totality of his or her messages will be--brace for another obvious realization, arrived at probably several years after everyone else--an encompassing, startlingly granular account of a set of events.

He's asembled a chronology of @persiankiwi's tweets (who I hope and pray is still safe). It is powerful. Anther Iranian twitterer to follow is @Change_for_Iran,

The Twitter coverage combined with the images and short videos sent from a multitude of cellphones are an incredible challenge to government efforts to suppress information and dissent. The Persian/Farsi to English translation added to Google translate, the addition of Persian/Farsi to Facebook's language choices, the rescheduling of critical maintenance by Twitter's upline connection to the Internet to a 1:30 am Iranian time to reduce impact also acknowledge the impact of technology in allowing the world to understand what is happening in Iran when foreign reporters are banned or discouraged from covering the events that are happening. Even the State Department recognized the importance of Twitter's contribution.

Blogs have allowed voices to emerge that might not have been heard otherwise. ShadowSD posted an insightful diary the day after his father, who was there during the election, returned from Iran. Nulwee has posted a couple outstanding diaries on Iranian politics. Translations from Farsi news sites have been enlightening.

Via Andrew Sullivan comes this blog post from Brian's Coffeehouse which points out that this manipulation of election results in Iran has happened before.

This chart about the Iranian power structure has emerged.


Study of it reveals just how powerful the position of Supreme Leader is and how significant the emergency meeting of the Assembly of Experts is. Add to that Grand Ayatollah Montazeri's statement and Khamenei's position becomes more precarious.

Given Ayatollah Khamenei's hard-line response in his speech earlier today and the photos and reports of beatings, bloodshed, death, abduction, violent intimidation from so many sources within Iran, it appears that Iranian voters have a hard road ahead. Let's hope the sea of green does not become come stained with too much red blood.

Matt Taibbi sets the WSJ straight

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Matt Taibbi sets the WSJ straight on disclosure standards and other facts regarding Hank Paulson's role in the recent economic turbulence we've experienced in a rant that must be read. The WSJ probably won't publish it so Matt did it for them.

Nice job, Matt.

Obama's Speech to the Muslim World

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I liked this part the best:

I know there are many -- Muslim and non-Muslim -- who question whether we can forge this new beginning.  Some are eager to stoke the flames of division, and to stand in the way of progress.  Some suggest that it isn't worth the effort -- that we are fated to disagree, and civilizations are doomed to clash. Many more are simply skeptical that real change can occur.  There's so much fear, so much mistrust that has built up over the years.  But if we choose to be bound by the past, we will never move forward.  And I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith, in every country -- you, more than anyone, have the ability to reimagine the world, to remake this world.

All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort -- a sustained effort -- to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings.

It's easier to start wars than to end them.  It's easier to blame others than to look inward.  It's easier to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share.  But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path.  There's one rule that lies at the heart of every religion -- that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.  (Applause.)  This truth transcends nations and peoples -- a belief that isn't new; that isn't black or white or brown; that isn't Christian or Muslim or Jew.  It's a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the hearts of billions around the world.  It's a faith in other people, and it's what brought me here today.

We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written.

The Holy Koran tells us:  "O mankind!  We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another."

The Talmud tells us:  "The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace."

The Holy Bible tells us:  "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."  (Applause.)

The people of the world can live together in peace.  We know that is God's vision.  Now that must be our work here on Earth.

Thank you.  And may God's peace be upon you.

Al Rodgers has many more pictures of Obama's visit to Egypt in this post.

Here's the video of the complete speech.

Link to full transcript of speech.

The Man and The Tanks of Tiananmen Square

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It's been 20 years since the image of the man facing down the tanks in Tiananmen Square were sent round the world. The Lens Blog of the New York Times points out that there were 4 photographers whose images of Tank Man were printed in different areas.


They invited each of the photographers to write about what was happening around them when they were shooting their iconic images. It's fascinating reading.

What was more interesting is what happened next. Another photographer who was there that day but taking his photos from a completely different angle wrote to the Lens blog about a picture that he had that had never been published. So the Lens provided him the platform to publish this new picture and to talk about why it was never published before today.


This youtube clip reinforces just how brave this man was.

Thank you, Tank Man of Tiananmen Square, wherever you are. Stay safe.