One more addition before I have to get to work: Multiply this video–which is very graphic and disturbing, so viewer beware–many times over, and you’ll have a sense of what is going on and what is at stake:
Edited to add: Iran’s government has made it virtually impossible for foreign media–or any media other than its own, actually–to cover the demonstrations, making it even more important that people who can do what they can to help Iranians get the word out about what’s going on there. Today will be an important day. The government has scheduled a pro-Ahmadinejad rally (which means they bus in loads of people from wherever they can find them) to coincide, more or less, with the opposition ally scheduled for today. They, the government, I am sure, is hoping that there will be violence between the two groups which they can use as an excuse to step in with even more violence; and if there is no violence, I am sure the government will find a way to try an manufacture some. This is from the link to Reuters above:
TEHRAN, June 16 (Reuters) – Iran on Tuesday banned foreign media journalists from leaving their offices to cover protests on the streets of Tehran following the country’s disputed presidential elections.
The Culture Ministry said journalists could continue to work from their offices but that it was cancelling press accreditation for all foreign media.
“No journalist has permission to report or film or take pictures in the city,” a Culture Ministry official told Reuters.
The announcement came after three days of streets protests against Iran’s election results, during which at least seven people were reported to have been killed.
The demonstrations have riveted world attention on the world’s fifth biggest oil exporter which is locked in a nuclear dispute with the West.
Defeated presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi cancelled a planned rally on Tuesday in a move he said aimed to protect his supporters’ lives. Backers of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad planned a counter rally at the same site.
I am posting again about Iran because I heard on NPR this morning that Iran’s state-run news agency has reported that the “leaders” of the protests that have been going on since the election “results” were announced have been arrested with guns and explosives. Almost certainly, this is an attempt to discredit the protesters, Moussavi and all the others involved. It is very difficult for Iranians to get word out about what is actually happening in the country, and it is very difficult for them to get news of what the world outside Iran is saying/doing about the situation in Iran. Support for the protesters seems to be spreading. University professors have been resigning; I have read or seen a video (it’s hard to keep track of which) that sanitation workers have joined the protests. And here is a video of hospital workers demonstrating because the baseej–paramilitary police–have been shooting and killing people. (My wife and I listened to an interview with one woman who alleged that she the baseej put a gun in a young man’s mouth and pull the trigger. Would not surprise me if it’s true.)
And I want to post again a link to the Huffington Post liveblog, the most recent posting at which demonstrates that I was correct about the tack a President McCain would have taken in response to what’s going on there (because of course he knows far better than the Iranians and other experts who have been advising the Obama administration on how to deal with Iran). What’s objectionable here is not that he wants to speak out about, say, the violence that we’ve all seen on TV, but rather his insistence that “America leads,” even when we are being told by the people with the most at stake that it is precisely a time for America not to lead:
SENATOR JOHN McCAIN: Well, we lead; we condemn the sham, corrupt election. We do what we have done throughout the Cold War and afterwards, we speak up for the people of Tehran and Iran and all the cities all over that country who have been deprived of one of their fundamental rights. We speak out forcefully, and we make sure that the world knows that America leads – and including increased funding for part of the Farda, Iranian free radio.
Finally, something else I found on The Huffington Post, that I don’t have the technical knowledge to fully understand, but I am assuming there are people who read here do: Given the extent to which the Iranian government has blocked Internet access, people have been setting up proxies for Iranians to use to get the word out about what’s going on in their country. Here are two sites with instructions for how to go about setting up a safe proxy for such use. I have no idea what risks are involved, and I have no idea what technical issues are involved. If I were running Windows, and I could do it, I would do it. I am posting it here in the event that anyone reading is so inclined.