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Relayed by Twitter, YouTube, by blogs; shot with cellphone or small DV camera,  events in Iran now spill out across the world, carried on tenuous waves of electrons, much as the thoughts and feelings each of us have are carried by the same ephemeral waves, leaping synapse to synapse.   In impressionist flurries, as if a dream, handheld cellphones rushing in fear, in exhilaration, transmitting not only the fact, but the feeling, as if an emerging global consciousness enveloped us in an electronic web, to show us ourselves:

Her eyes seem to recognize something, then a flush of blood rushes from her mouth and nose.   The Iranian regime is finished – if not this week, then next, or next year.  Whatever legitimacy this government – like all governments, a kind of gang, with enforcers, costumes, rules – had, it is finished now.  Done by Twitter, by the viral flow of information in which the effort to block that flow is its own information.  The more the “authorities” (to say, “the presumptive authors”) attempt to deny information, the more they reveal of themselves.  The young woman is dead on camera;  in dying so, she becomes an angel of annunciation, delivering a final message to the powers which killed her.

All the force of a Greek tragedy (I am sure the Persians have their own variants) flows in these fleeting images, and like those tragedies they are universal.

June 22.

[A day after writing the above I came across this description on the blog Lede in the NY Times:]

Though her name, the location, and the cause of her death cannot be confirmed, the video refers to the woman as Neda, Farsi for “the voice” or “the call.”

And this item at Tazahorate Ma.

Watching the videos coming out of Iran I was struck by a handful of things. One is that many of the stonethrowers are in fact the basiji, and police, which suggests either that the government doesn’t really trust them enough to give them more lethal weapons or that the government is still holding back.

Another is the seeming failure of the demonstrators to take some elementary steps at street fighting tactics.  For several examples:

If one wore thick working gloves, one could (attempt to) grab the batons of the charging motorcycle basiji; if one could hold on and pull it would have a good chance of pulling down the bike and its riders, leaving them in a very vulnerable state.

Similarly if one took a short metal or even strong plastic or wooden rod as these vehicles passed the rods could be jammed into the wheel spokes of the bikes, immediately bringing down the vehicle and its 2 riders.  Watching how these basiji behave, in packs, if one could bring down a lead bike, the others would likely pile up after it.

In other images I have seen that the police are clearly very vulnerable to attack from those on the higher floors of the buildings.  Any object thrown from above would be dangerous, the more compact and harder the better.  Or a molotov cocktail from above would likewise prove intimidating.  Imagine 100 persons per block game to shower the advancing basiji in such a manner?   The basiji, being considerably outnumbered seem to hold into tight groupings for self-defense, this makes them vulnerable to molotov cocktails, or similarly, to being hit by quickly moving vehicles (preferably ones hi-jacked for the purpose – buses, trucks).

If this prompts the basiji or police to enter the building to go and get those who threw the items, one might note that if they take the elevator one could know where the power for the elevator was and turn it off trapping the occupants, or, should they take stairs, this is another point of instability and vulnerability, either to such things as oil covered stairs coupled to a push from above (using perhaps a long pole): down go a bunch of basiji. Or another molotov cocktail in an enclosed staircase could be problematic for those ascending, especially if the stairs were slippery.

It seems clear that the government is going to clamp down harder, so the response if the opposition is to succeed, will similarly have to escalate tactically and strategically.


molotov cocktail design

And more elegantly



  1. Jon, you sound as though you know a thing or two about getting busy in the streets. If it ever comes to that here in the US of A (if only), I want you on my team, mister!

  2. The director, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, has just released a statement in a video on youtube:

    Here’s the translation:

    Iranians living in Italy and other parts of the world, I urge you to not give up, because the people in the line of fire are are not scared.

    They are all chanting, “natarsim natarsim, ma hame ba ham hastim (Let’s not be afraid, let’s not be afraid. We are all in this together).

    We haven’t seen this type of togetherness in a long time. This really has been our issue.

    We are aware people, but we were afraid because the oceans of Iran had become mere water droplets.
    In the past days, the water has been found again in the oceans. We have found our unity.

    We need to continue protesting in front of the embassies and lobby the issues pertaining to the people of Iran- with help from world governments, journalists and citizens.

    We need the world to recognize Ahmadinejad as the leader of a coup d’etat and not as the leader of Iran. If this happens, we will be successful.

    We have already been successful. Iran’s history the past 30 years has been dissapointing. Now, our dissapointment has been expressed. We have found each other again.

    Even with all the violence happening in Iran, the Iranian people are more kind to each other now. For example, some put their motorcylces on fire, destroy their vehicles, so the fuels of their vehicles suppress the effects of the tear gas.

    They are defending each other.

    Around the world, we see that people have put their differences aside.

    Eveyrone is uniting their voices, chanting:

    “What happened to our vote?”
    “We want to vote again!”

    We want to have the rights to our future.

    I think that every Iranain in Iran is a commander, a force. Every Iranian outside of iran is a representative of the people in Iran, a reporter.

    Every Iranian who gets killed in the streets is a martyr. They are also all media, filming with their cell phones and uploading the content onto Youtube.

    We need to take these videos from Youtube and send out the links- send them to the reporters.
    You can help the reporters who may not be able to find all the videos amongst the many being uploaded.

    We need to work collectively to spread the information coming out from Iran.

    We need to continue.

    Friday night, at sunset, light a candle. Think about and respect the deaths of the brave. The Iranian people are planning to do the same outisde their houses, on their roofs, chanting: “Allah o Akbar.

    They will be chanting “Allah o Akbar” to not prove their religion, but to voice the intolerable pressures put on them by the government.

    Wearing the colour green is not to represent Mousavi, it is to represent a movement (democratic movement).

    We are all supporters. Right now, none of us belong to any specific groups- we need to unite.

    This is to speak out against Ahmadinejad, Khamenei, and 30 years of dictatorship in Iran. We want to take that closer step toward democracy.

    We should follow the footsteps of Ghandi and Mandella.

    We want the people of the West and the media to listen to the words of the Iranian people in Iran.

    I am with you, we are all together.

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. By IRAN (Update) « cinemaelectronica on 28 Dec 2009 at 5:58 am

    […] some background in these pages, see this, this and this.  For a good amount, along with links to many other sources, see the NY Times blog, […]

  2. By Tehran Urgent « cinemaelectronica on 16 Mar 2010 at 11:13 am

    […] Also you can go back in this blog and see postings on the Iranian situation here, and here, and here.  For information on Jafar Panahi, see […]

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