Monday, June 15, 2009

Persian Pride

This is the current scene in downtown Tehran as what appears to be hundreds of thousands, the daily dish is saying millions of proud Persians take to the streets to protest the result of Friday's bogey election. This is in spite of Iran's interior ministry ruling that the planned demonstration was illegal. The rally is being adressed by Mousavi in his first public appearance since the election as well as former president Khatami and reformist cleric Ayatollah Saanei.

This is extremely exciting stuff. I'm sitting here trying to type this but I can't sit still. I spent a month in Tehran in 2004 doing research for my thesis which was about the student protests of 1999 and 2003. I love Iran. I think its a wonderful country with a dynamic and vibrant people. I know how badly young Iranians want democracy and many of them are prepared to die for it. How serious is this ? Has a fuse been lit or will the demos die down. Right now its impossible to say. However, one of the problems with the 99 and 03 protests was infiltration. The government had many loyalist or people who owed the regime something informing of the student leaders. This was a major factor in the collapse of the student movement. However what we are seeing now appears less organised and more sporadic which may prove more difficult for the government to control. Something that is less predictable is always more difficult to manipulate. We have seen many times in history how a tiny spark can set a whole nation off. It certainly looks that way as so many thousands of different backgrounds, gender and age group continue to pour on to the streets with a level of boldness that nobody could have foreseen. I will continue to watch the fate of the great Persian nation unfold with optimistic anticipation. I will try to do two or three post a day as events unfold.

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