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.
[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.
And more elegantly