Pro-Democracy protesters are killed in Iran

I want to post something thoughtful about the situation playing out in Iran right now, but I’m having trouble finding the right words. Reading the updates on Juan Cole’s site this evening, I’m even more convinced that the election has been stolen, and my heart goes out to the young men and women there who are risking their lives by taking to the streets. Today, I’ve just read, a dozen student protesters were killed… Last night I wondered if this would play out like the Orange Revolution of the Ukraine, or like the revolt 20 years ago by pro-democracy students in Tiananmen Square. I guess now we know the answer. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the clerics now in power aren’t going to step aside peacefully. But, it may just be a matter of time, as the demographics are lined up agaisn them. The following clip is from UK paper, the Telegraph:

…In an instant, these television pictures from Tehran delivered a stark reminder that Iran is not a backward country of medieval fanatics, but a modern nation with 70 million people, two thirds of whom are under 30 and have the same interests and aspirations as their Western counterparts…

And, here, if you haven’t seen it yet, is Obama’s statement:

I wish I could do more to help. And I wish I’d done more to fight for democracy here in our country over the past eight years.

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  1. Posted June 16, 2009 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    The New York Times: Defiance Grows as Iran’s Leader Sets Vote Review

  2. West Cross
    Posted June 16, 2009 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    There is some hopeful news the Supreme Leader (who really runs the country) has authorized a recount. There is a good chance it won’t come out any better but it’s really rare for them to even acknowledge something like this.
    As tempting as it is to say we need to be more involved, Obama is playing it right. We have a bad history of butting into Iran’s business and if people get the idea that we are involved with these protests they will loose a lot of support. Best to give support verbally and stress the need for a good legal process.
    Amazing to see real homegrown democracy in action, hopefully it turns out well. It’s not right to give Obama too much credit but I don’t think it’s completely coincidence that we are seeing stuff like this in the middle east now. Who would have thought that talking with people like adults would have better results than ignoring them until they agree with us?

  3. Curt Waugh
    Posted June 16, 2009 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    The election was a complete sham. The recount is a sham. There is nothing remotely democratic about anything going on there right now. If change is made, it will be made in blood, not ballots. What’s happening there right now is horrible, but this awakening might just push things in the right direction.

    My thoughts and hopes are with the people of Iran. With hope, their bravery will be rewarded. Solidarity.

    For excellent, real-time coverage, visit Andrew Sullivan’s blog. He has become the defacto aggregator for this story, with a full slew of eye-witness accounts, tweets and video:

  4. Kevin
    Posted June 16, 2009 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Iran is awesome. The world will really be a better place if they can ever get rid of the totalitarian regime that was forced upon them. Persian is the fourth most common language on the internet and the <40-year-olds are just amazing and totally ready for modernity. I am worried we will let them down again, and you know damn well why that is: change the last letter of Iran to a “q”. Russia recognizes the sham election results–what a shock.

  5. Posted June 16, 2009 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Has anyone considered that Amadhenijad might have actually won? Just because people protest doesn’t make them right.

    I’m just skeptical, that’s all. And no, I don’t need a lecture on all the specifics because I’ve read them all.

    It’s not for us to decide a foreign power’s election and to assume that all non-white governments have corrupt elections when they result in electing people we don’t like is a little much.

  6. Casper
    Posted June 16, 2009 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Look at the data on Juan Cole’s site. According to the official counts, Ahmadinejad was winning regions that he didn’t have a shot of winning. The polling data does not match the “official” count.

  7. Posted June 16, 2009 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    While I am skeptical as to the results, I am also skeptical as to the claims of the western media, given how anti-Iran our reporting is and our cultural habit of not respecting the rights and sensibilities of other people to choose their own leaders.

  8. The Big Mac Attacker
    Posted June 16, 2009 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Dear “Dude”,
    How fast can you count? Pretty fast? Maybe you should have been sent to Iran to help them “count” those millions of hand written ballots within the first 24 hrs. of the election. then all of us anti-iranian muckrakers wouldn’t be doubting the results so much, because it would have been in your capable speedy hands. There is no way all of those votes would have been counted that quick and results released so fast. It is an obvious sham. What I find sad is that here in the good old USA, when this happened 8 years ago, Americans just laid down and took it. When W. ripped off the election. I don’t remember anyone smashing, burning, or overturning anything. Sad…in the “home” of democracy & freedom, we just let someone walk away with the presidency, and we let our right, just & true high court cement it. Maybe if we had the heart of the Iranian people, the world would be a different place today.

  9. EOS
    Posted June 16, 2009 at 2:22 pm | Permalink


    “It’s not for us to decide a foreign power’s election and to assume that all non-white governments have corrupt elections when they result in electing people we don’t like is a little much.”

    Hate to spoil yet another racist theory of yours, but Iranians are “white”. They are of the Indo-European racial group – not even Semite.

  10. Posted June 16, 2009 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    That’s a lot coming from you. I meant “white” in the perjorative sense. As in Ameri-centric assholes like yourself.

  11. Posted June 16, 2009 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Mr Mac.

    I merely said that I was skeptical. The possibility does exist that Mr. Amadenijad won. I have no proof to the contrary besides a few reports from CNN and NPR. Given how biased the American media appears to be when it comes to reporting on Iran, it seems to me to be entirely reasonable to view the claims with some level of skepticism.

    Plus, many around me have indicated that the election must be rigged since people are protesting. This does not seem logical to me. While I do not doubt that there is a great divide between political camps in Iraq, one side screaming does not prove that something actually happened. It merely means that one side believes something happened.

    I do not doubt that there is the possibility that the election is rigged. I am merely skeptical given that I have only been able to hear the side of the story that is amenable to the American media.

  12. Posted June 16, 2009 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I have to add that I am in no way condoning the actions of the Iranian police and military against the demonstrators.

  13. kjc
    Posted June 16, 2009 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Just goes to show that skepticism can be as kneejerk and unreflective as naivete.

  14. Posted June 16, 2009 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I don’t doubt that there are suspicious elements nor that Mr. Mousavi has extensive support among young people in Tehran. However, I don’t think that the power of a conservative, relatively poor rural majority can be disregarded. Looking at the numbers, Tehrans population is very small compared to the rest of the country, and the number of people who voted in Tehran is even smaller.

    My point is, that European governments and the American governments do not decide Iran’s election outcomes. That is entirely an interior affair of Iran. We may cry foul because it did not turn out the way we want, but in the end, it is not up to us. Amadenijad is a complete asshole, in my own humble opinion, however. He and EoS would get along rather well.

    I am merely skeptical when I am told things from American news sources regarding the middle east, that’s all.

  15. Meta
    Posted June 16, 2009 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Tweeting the Revolution:

  16. Robert
    Posted June 17, 2009 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    What is the evidence that suggests the election was stolen?

  17. Posted June 21, 2009 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Some incredible new footage from Iran.

    And, Robert, if you still don’t know, follow a few of the links. I think the documentation is pretty good.

  18. Posted June 22, 2009 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Robert, if you’re still not sure that it was fixed, check out Juan Cole’s post today. It really doesn’t seem as though there’s any question.

  19. Posted June 22, 2009 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    I’m convinced that funny stuff went on, but not convinced that anyone outside of the cities (the majority) supports Mousavi or reform in general. My feeling is that even if the election were not fixed, Ahmadenijad would win.

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