Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bullets And Batons Outdid Twitter In Iran

I'm mourning, but not Michael Jackson or Farrah Fawcett. I'm mourning the death of the democratic opportunity in Iran, just as I mourned the death of the democratic opportunity in China after June 4, 1989. And just as then, the good guys didn't win, the bullets were more powerful than brittle humans made out of flesh and bones, and there was no real leadership to help them out.

And for those of you who thought twitter and Facebook could do it, well it was a nice thought. Here is a snippet from today's New York Times:

While protesters were aided at first by technology — primarily the Internet and text messaging — the government deployed its control of state television and news outlets to sweep away competing narratives.

“It is still possible that the information age will crack authoritarian structures in Iran,” wrote Jon B. Alterman, director of the Middle East program for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “But it is far more likely that the government will be able to use that technology to secure its own rule.”
Iranian Leaders Gaining the Edge Over Protesters (New York Times June 27, 2009)
Trita Parsi and Reza Aslan sums up the events in an article for Foreign Policy magazine called The End of the Beginning - What will be the legacy of the Green Revolution?
In many ways, the Ahmadinejad government has succeeded in transforming what was a mass movement into dispersed pockets of unrest. Whatever is now left of this mass movement is now leaderless, unorganized -- and under the risk of being hijacked by groups outside Iran in pursuit of their own political agendas.
Although successful at first, the discipline has clearly broken down. This should be no surprise -- the movement is by now in effect leaderless. A source close to Mousavi says that the first and second circle of people around Mousavi have all been arrested or put under house arrest. Mousavi himself has limited ability to communicate with his team and his followers. The lack of leadership is visible on the streets, where demonstrators exhibit unparalleled will and courage, but lack direction and guidance.
Hans Sandberg

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