Saturday, July 18, 2009

Tehran on Friday

A Sea of People
'After the sermon ended, people started filing towards Valiasr square, and I was pulled along by the current. I can't say at all how many people there were -- I didn't even close to make it all the way around the circumference of campus and even if I had it would have been impossible to estimate -- all I can say is that there were a lot. A lot. It took at least 20 minutes to make it, packed body to body, maybe a hundred meters down the road to where there was at least breathing room. Good Samaritans splashed water from bottles onto the crowd or wet keffiyahs and scarves and then swung them around overhead for a sprinkler effect.'

'The day was scorching hot and I heard fellow Mousavites saying that just by being present on the streets, we oblige security forces to stand for hours in the hot sun in their heavy uniforms, helmets, vests, masks... the best revenge we can muster nonviolently!'

Dadbeh Gudarzi, in The Independent: A great many of the millions who came out on to the streets in the aftermath of the stolen election weren't just releasing their outrage at Ahmadinejad or his plain-clothes thugs. They were expressing a message far more dangerous to the mullahs: the Islamic Republic does not legitimately represent the Iranian nation... But even if they won't admit it, our rulers must be worried. They know that after last month's unrest and the violent suppression that followed, the nation is still in deep crisis. And they also know that something profound has changed. Because never at any time since the revolution has public criticism been as open and bitter as now... Until recently, it was almost unheard of to utter criticism and the name of the Supreme Leader in the same breath. But now, even Ayatollah Ali Khamenei does not escape, and I don't mean just in conversations between trusted friends. My own father, seriously mistrustful of talking about anything meaningful on the telephone, has given up observing his own cautious rules after almost three decades.

Robert Dreyfuss, The Nation: Tohidi said women in Iran had been engaged in many years of quiet educational and organizational work, and today the women's movement in Iran is the 'strongest in the Middle East.' ... Jaleh Lackner-Gohari added that during the 1980s and 1990s, many women went into higher education and the professions precisely because they were barred from politics and, she joked, 'had nothing better to do.' Quietly, they built networks, professional organizations, and channels for communications -- including, lately, blogs.

Updates and videos:
Image source here.