Monday, June 22, 2009

phew, for a minute there i lost myself

Today's soundrack:
"Karma Police" by Radiohead
"Testify" by Rage Against the Machine
"All Along the Watchtower" by Jimi Hendrix

This is what you'll get when you mess with us:

This is footage from Sunday, June 21st, showing a protest successfully forcing the Basij to back off in defeat.

Not all protests are successful, however. The rally that was planned to honour the memory of Neda was blocked and scattered by the Basij and riot police for the main reason that can public mourning is an incredibly powerful force for change in Iran. For a primer as to the importance of mourning rituals in Iran, see Robin Wright's article in Time. One of the Ayatollahs has called for 3 days of public mourning for the murdered protesters beginning June 24th. However, according to Iranbaan, as reported by Sullivan, there are reports of upwards of 2000 riot police and paramilitaries camped out in Lelah Park, a clear positioning to allow for the effective quashing of any and all protests and public mournings.

In response to the continued aggression and brutality of the regime, Iranians are preparing for a national strike in an attempt to cripple the government (such as it is). This, combined with the unconfirmed report that 40 out of the 86 leading clerics on the Guardian Council have called for the nullification of the election results, could do much to advance the protesters cause in the coming week.

If you haven't written a letter through Amnesty International, contacted your foreign minister, or taken to the streets in protest, please consider doing so. The protesters need to know they're not alone. At the moment, according to "Iran expert Jason Rezaian, who just left Iran, says that given the media blackout protesters 'feel like they're in this alone'" (Sullivan's Twitter Round-Up, Day 10).

The hour is getting late.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

if you tolerate this, then your children will be next

Today's soundtrack:
"If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next" by Manic Street Preachers
"Knockin' On Heaven's Door" by Bob Dylan
"Shed a Little Light" by James Taylor
"2+2=5 (The Lukewarm)" by Radiohead
"Justicia, Tierra y Libertad" by Maná
"Sunday Bloody Sunday" by U2

This is video - a short video - that has been posted to the live blogs I've been following. It's of a young girl named Neda who was standing by the roadside in Tehran, watching the protests with her father. She wasn't protesting herself. She was just standing there and bearing witness. She was shot through the heart by a Basij for watching the protest. The voice you hear is her father, who had been standing beside her.

Graphic is an inadequate word to describe this video of the last moments of Neda's life.

A Huffpo reader sent in the transcript. This is what Neda's father said:

"Neda, don't be afraid. Neda, don't be afraid. (There is yelling and screaming.) Neda, stay with me. Neda stay with me!"

Andrew Sullivan, whose blog on the Atlantic I've been following, posted this email that he received explaining the video:

"At 19:05 June 20th Place: Karekar Ave., at the corner crossing Khosravi St. and Salehi st. A young woman who was standing aside with her father watching the protests was shot by a basij member hiding on the rooftop of a civilian house. He had clear shot at the girl and could not miss her. However, he aimed straight her heart.

I am a doctor, so I rushed to try to save her. But the impact of the gunshot was so fierce that the bullet had blasted inside the victim's chest, and she died in less than 2 minutes. The protests were going on about 1 kilometers away in the main street and some of the protesting crowd were running from tear gass used among them, towards Salehi St.

The film is shot by my friend who was standing beside me. Please let the world know."

Bear witness:

amnesty international canada: Send a letter to the Government of Iran (such as it is) and please consider donating to keep the Urgent Action Network viable. Let the Iranian Government know that the world is watching.

Consider writing to your own governments asking them to open their embassies in Tehran, Iran, to help the wounded (if the wounded protesters go to hospitals, they are arrested). If your country's embassy has already opened its doors, thank them. Note: There are reports of the Basij blocking the entrances to the embassies. At the moment, the Canadian Embassy is not accepting wounded protesters. Email the Canadian Embassy in Tehran at and Lawrence Cannon, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, at to help change that. Ask them - politely - to open the embassy to accept wounded Iranians whose only crime is protesting for their rights.

Get out and show your support for the Iranian community in your city, courtesy of those helpful folks at Anonymous. The Spaniard and I hit the Calgary rally the other day (photos by Amir-Reza) and I was left speechless by the passion and the hope within the Persian community.

At the very least follow the work being done by Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan and Huffpo's Nico Pitney.

Also, check out fellow Raveler and revolutionary Burrow's blog for some fascinating insights into Iran, both before the protests and now. She has links up for how to make your computer into a proxy for the folks in Iran, as well as solid commentary on the events themselves.

Monday, June 15, 2009

tonight, in iran

Today's soundtrack:
"Rise Up With Fists!!" by Jenny Lewis and the Twins

I've been following the coverage of the Iranian elections somewhat religiously since my internet was gloriously restored to me the other day. I don't know why exactly this particular revolt strikes a cord with me. I'm not Persian. I have no friends that are Persian. I don't know anybody in Iran. So it's clearly not the fact that this is happening particularly in Iran that has my interest. It's that were the situations reversed and I were in a country where the elections were stolen, I'd be doing the same thing as the thousands of Iranians students who have taken to the streets in protest.

The coverage on Huffpo was difficult to watch - especially the beating of women in the streets -, but it wasn't until the coverage of the police attacks on the universities that I felt my guts tying themselves into knots. Rubber bullets and riot police tearing through the dorms in search of any students, because students (as we all know) are the real shit disturbers. Faculty have resigned in protest of the elections and the students have taken to the streets. Thousands are marching... but over a hundred have been arrested.

Once they're arrested, they enter a no-man's land as far as the media is concerned. We don't really know what happens there. We can imagine, sure. The disappearances in Argentina aren't so far out of the collective memory of the world. However, thanks to a Canadian journalist who was "mistakenly" arrested, I now have a clearer picture of just what those protesting students face:

Inside a concrete room to my left, I could see more than 50 others being made to stand in uncomfortable positions – on their toes with their hands pressed behind their heads. Some were covered in blood, and police with batons patrolled the rows, tapping some detainees on the shoulders with their sticks. There was no screaming, just the sound of boots pacing on the concrete floor.

Tonight, while I lay in my bed beside Miguel, there are hundreds of protesters in Iran who are being tortured merely for marching for their human rights. You try sleeping soundly.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

did i mention?

Today's soundtrack:
Whatever what playing at the party last night.

Well, it's done and I've passed. Now I'm trying to recover from a rather miserable hangover, organize our move, prepare an abstract, and figure out just what my stomach wants to eat today. It's the last item that I think will give me the most trouble today.