Sorry for no updates and picture uploads yesterday.
I've been pretty much refreshing ontd_political, Andrew Sullivan, and The Huffington Post to follow events in Iran.
And...it is hard to watch. The urge to do something is strong, even though there isn't a whole lot you can do but bear witness.
Like watching a 16 year-old girl named Neda die after being snipped by the basij in front of the horrified eyes of her family.
(Oh, fuck me. I'm crying again. Note that the video is graphic, so you might not want to watch. The comments in ontd_political will make you cry alone.)
It's the YouTube seen 'round the world. As to what it ultimately means for Iranians in particular, and us in general I simply can't see from where I sit.
But I know that nothing is quite the same as it was.
Here is where the we at least see the power of the Internet. Blogs (Iran is the third largest blogging nation), YouTube, texting, Facebook, Gmail statuses, and...Twitter. All of them employed to deliver telegrams not just between protesters inside Iran, but to send them from inside the country to the world outside.
Who knew that in the end, the revolution would be Twittered? It's the perfect demonstration of The Cute Cat Theory of Digital Activism being done in real time.
And every picture uploaded to Photobcket and Flikr, every status statement made on Facebook and Gmail, every text messages sent to phones and Twitter, every video uploaded to YouTube says the same thing.
We are here, and maybe we're scared, but we're not going anywhere.
As Fred Clark over on the Slacktivist says: I find the courage and defiant determination of these people beautiful, humbling and inspiring.
But the most striking thing about the protests is the presence of women leading the fight. So many of them are young and beautiful. And as Jezebel points out, that's entirely the point, because these women are not just making a statement by getting involved, but also in the way they dress.
I can understand the neo-con call for us to do something even though I completely disagree with them and think it's probably the last thing we should do. The arc of history is against the U.S. in this, in it's for the best that we do our best to stay out of the clash between the protesters and the Iranian government. The U.S. coming in on the side of the protesters is exactly what the government wants, so they can blame the protests on "foreign influence" and discredit what the protesters are trying to accomplish.
And what they're trying to accomplish is justice, to force the government to live up to its promises and govern only by the consent of the governed. If the protesters succeed, will their democracy look like ours? Hell, no. It won't and it shouldn't. But it will be theirs and that's the point.
Who wouldn't want to do something after reading and seeing everything that's available online? Who wouldn't?
But in the end, I think President Obama struck the right tone here in reminding the Iranian government that world is watching, and that the rights of the Iranian people need to be respected.
It's hard sitting on the sidelines, but sometimes you have to because history needs witnesses.
Like watching the death of a 16 year-old girl named Neda half-way 'round the world, a girl you didn't know ever existed until just this moment, and understanding exactly what it means.