Thursday, June 18, 2009


Tune in to videos from Iran: “My friends have been shot!”

by Larry Geller

You’ll have to tune in to alternative media for on-the-ground coverage of the revolt against Iran’s repressive government—for that’s what the current election protest seems to be about.

Much of the coverage is close to real time. It’s raw, direct, and powerful. It’s from cellphone and video cameras just like the ones we own and use. We can identify with the photographers, they’re like us.

Check out in particular this site, supported by the Pirate Bay file-sharing folks, and intended to keep communications channels open even as the Iranian government clamps down on protesters’ access to the Internet. It’s titled “Anonymous Iran.” See this page for videos.

Of course, the videos are going to be disturbing. They are uncensored and real. These are not sanitized Associated Press stories, nor are they filtered to avoid spoiling anyone’s morning coffee.

The US government has interfered to keep Internet channels open:

US State Dept Asks Twitter to Delay Shutdown Due to Iran Protests

The US State Department has admitted it contacted the social networking service Twitter to urge it to delay a planned upgrade that would have cut daytime service to Iranians who are disputing their election. Meanwhile, the video website YouTube has said it has relaxed its usual restrictions on violent videos to allow the images from Iran to reach the rest of the world. [Democracy Now headlines, 6/18/2009]

Some of the news will appear, filtered and sanitized, in the next day’s papers. They can’t help it. They have no room to bring it all to you, they don’t like showing people killed, and they can’t get the stories anyway, journalists are being excluded from the protest scenes, though some operate secretly and at great risk. This is where citizen journalism steps in, and I have yet to see a better example of this growing experiment.

I also wonder if our press hesitates to remind Americans that when our elections of 2000 and 2004 were stolen, they did such a pathetic job of covering the stories, and that we, as sheep citizens, simply accepted the outcome. The vote in 2008 was also problematic but since Democrat Barack Obama won with a considerable margin, there was no appetite to check whether his margin should have been much larger still.

The Iranians, in their own way, and with an unfortunate loss of life and injuries, are showing that they really can’t accept that part of the American way of life, anyway.

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