...listen do you hear the darkness blowing?
something is passing in the night
the moon is restless and red
and over this rooftop
where crumbling is a constant fear
clouds, like a procession of mourners
seem to be waiting for the moment of rain.
and then nothing
night shudders beyond this window
and the earth winds to a halt
beyond this window
something unknown is watching you and me.
- Forugh Farrokhzad, The Wind Will Take Us
In the past six days, those who constantly refreshed their Twitter feeds and reloaded the #iranelection hash tags, turned the medium, Twitter and social networks in general, into the message. Thanks to, of all people, The Falun Gong, the Iranian state has been unable to disconnect its people from the world, even if, at times, Westerners projected a rosier version of the situation.
How to digest all of this? For one, Twitter and global digital interconnectedness aside, President Obama handled his first 3:00 A.M. phone call well. In a well written Op-Ed in today's New York Times, John Kerry wrote:
If we actually want to empower the Iranian people, we have to understand how our words can be manipulated and used against us to strengthen the clerical establishment, distract Iranians from a failing economy and rally a fiercely independent populace against outside interference. Iran’s hard-liners are already working hard to pin the election dispute, and the protests, as the result of American meddling. On Wednesday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry chastised American officials for “interventionist” statements. Government complaints of slanted coverage by the foreign press are rising in pitch.
We can’t escape the reality that for reformers in Tehran to have any hope for success, Iran’s election must be about Iran — not America. And if the street protests of the last days have taught us anything, it is that this is an Iranian moment, not an American one.
America, just this once, needs to back off. Surely suggestive tones can be inferred and tech-savvy millenials can imply who Americans side with. But bravado, backed-up by apocalyptic rhetoric and militaristic threats, are a thing of the past: a calm, measured quietude may be the best medicine.
If you, like me, have been scouring the internet for images and texts of this incredible moment, here are some very worthy ones:
- Well known to A Shout In The Street readers, Andrew Sullivan's blog for The Atlantic
- Nico Pitney at The Huffington Post
- An interview with filmmaker and Mousavi spokesman Mohsen Makhmalbaf
- Channel 4 news
- #iranelection on Twitter
- an excellent Bloggingheads talk with Reza Aslan and Eli Lake
- Revolutionary Road, an invaluable blog by Saeed Valadbaygi
- ahriman46's YouTube channel, in many ways a reblogging of previously posted videos.
- Tehran Live
Image at the top by Flicker user Hamed