Archive for June 19th, 2009
Please read the Field’s Iran: A 1930s Level Crossroads for the International Left, it has many insights for those in the West, tempted to support the status quo in Iran:
“Any government that blames events in the physical world (such as street protests) on words in the virtual world (in this case, the Internet) has lost its grip on reality. Any attempt to hold non-corporate speech as somehow responsible for the deeds of millions begins the slippery slope to fascism. And the response by the Iranian regime, as seen in that press release, is akin to trying to attack a beehive with a shotgun: you’ll surely kill a few bees, but, man, are you going to get stung, and the bees will thrive anyway.
I personally find the defense of the Ahmadinejad-Khameini regime from some self-marginalized corners of the left to be as embarrassing as it is despicable. It is the sort of thing that can and will likely end friendships and old alliances (simultaneously opening new ones) and, objectively speaking, it should. The reason I don’t single any of these misguided individuals out as examples is not to invent “straw men,” but is, rather, a fraternal gesture. I hold out hope that – just as in the 1930s – as events prove the Iranian regime to be unworthy of any support or defense or apology from the authentic left that many of those stuck in such Cold War thinking will come to rethink it. The moment is now.”
It is fair to say that I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet concerning the use of modern media (sound, video, streaming technologies and the web).
I think all political and related meetings should be recorded for sound at the very least, preferably a video, and both mediums made freely available across the web.
That way discussions held in one place can have an audience of 10,000s+, not merely 30-60 people sitting in a room nodding their heads in approval.
If you believe in an idea or concept strongly then it should be put across to as many people as possible and an effort made to engage them in the process of debating it.
The exchange of views should not be hidden away from public debate, nor confined to a geophysical location but made global, and without the constraint of time or physicality.
So imagine, I was please to see the WPI make good use of YouTube in the form of a daily briefing. Splendid idea.
Hearing Iranians discussing the ever changing situation in Iran is both helpful and instructive. You can disagree with their analysis, but at least they are trying to put it over in a digestible, coherent fashion and connect to people.
“Hands Off the People of Iran is pleased to have launched its first blog that will keep track of the ongoing struggles in Iran. At this time we are receiving videos, pictures and news almost by the minute.”
According to reports, text messaging and other means of communication were switched off in Iran soon after the results of the Iranian election were announced, supposedly to limit the opposition’s ability to organise.
That didn’t work, and whilst there have been measures taken by the State to stifle the exchange of news and information about the protests, they have not fully worked either. It is an on-going battle between the State to maintain control and ordinary Iranians to resist those restrictions.
The traffic from Iran seemingly has been reduced but can’t be fully switched off, as Tech World reports:
“Labovitz says that Iran’s inability so far to shut down Web communications shows the difficulty that modern governments face in trying to censor information in the age of camera phones, YouTube and low-bandwidth mass communications systems such as Twitter. He says that Iran likely does not have the same kinds of sophisticated censorship tools as China, thus making it more difficult for them to quiet dissent without shutting down their entire network.
“This is a fascinating age, as countries are trying to walk the line between economic development and maintaining specific social and political policies,” he says. “Even so, you never know what will happen. I don’t know if this situation in Iran is indeed at a tipping point.”
For the past week Iran has been rocked by protests sparked by what Iranian reformists and several Middle Eastern reporters and analysts believe to be widespread fraud committed during last week’s Iranian presidential election that saw controversial incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad allegedly win 63% of the vote. Despite the government’s attempts to censor cut down on its citizens’ bandwidth and access to the Internet, several Iranian dissidents are still communicating on a frequent basis via websites such as Facebook and Twitter. “