Sunday, August 2, 2009

Iran Is No Longer the Same

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Iranian President Ahmadinejad's power is being shaken by the people's
protests and anti-people vilolent actions of the incumbent government

Cartoon ( 2009) © Ujjal Peter D'Costa

Iran had its successful Islamic revolution in 1979 against the then powerful king Shah Reza Pahlvi. Since that time a Shia Muslim mullah (priestly) class is in power forbidding free ideas and free dress code. Women, who were increasingly getting educated and westernized in their ideas, habits and dresses under the king, were forced to toe the line of the Islamic ruling class and follow the Islamic dress code -- that is, fully covering their heads, hands and legs so that men may not see them and get tempted or scandalized.

The Election

On June 12, the nation-wide election brought about a controversy that is dividing Iran to its core. The government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared that the incumbent president won the election overwhelmingly. The opposition candidate, headed by Mir-Hossein Mousavi, an independent and reformist candidate, complained that there was massive pro-Ahmadinejad vote-rigging in the ballot boxes. His appeal to the highest aurthority did not work. The government said that, although there were few problems in some voting stations, ultimately President Ahmadinejad is the real winner.

Spontaneous Protests and Anti-People Violence

People, mostly young and university students, who aspired for changes in the whole system of the country spilled into the streets in thousands immediately after the election results were announced. They demanded that the government investigate the vote rigging and announce the true results. Initially the government did not crack down on the demonstrators. When things were not cooling off at all, the government first warned and then started to violently crack down on the protesters. Many have been killed and thousands were hurt and were taken into custody.

The Power of the Modern Media

The events in Iran proved the power of the modern media easily available to the common men and women. At the initial stage, the big foreign media (TV, radio and newspapers) were allowed to send news and pictures from Iran. When the protests started to become widespread, foreign media personnel were told to pack and go home.

The Iranian government thought that it could stop getting the real news and pictures out of the country to the outside world. But people with their own access to the cell phones, digital cameras, and the Internet, began to send news and pictures out of the country faster than thinkable. Social media websites, like the Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr, played a vital role in getting the real news and photos of Iranian situation. People are still using these media, although highly restricted in their use.

Expatriate Iranians also had an important role in getting news and photos of the situation out through their relatives and friends inside Iran.

Iran Is No More the Same

With the increasing and widespread protests and oppositions, Iran is no longer in the same position as before the election. If the Iranian government does not give an ear to the opposition, the country will definitely divide within itself. Foreign governments, that are against the nuclear arms proliferation of Iran, will find it easier to support, use and abuse the opposition forces. Bookmark and Share