Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ashura in Iran: resistance to tyranny

Andrew Sullivan: The significance of this day, Ashura, the day Khomeini regarded as the turning point against the Shah, cannot be underestimated. Its symbolic power in Shia Islam, its themes of resistance to tyranny to the last drop of blood, its fusion of religious mourning and political revolt.

Video: from December 22: Two prisoners strung up on a gallows are rescued by a crowd. The police open fire, with casualties.

Reuters: In Iranian opposition website said forces refused orders to shoot at pro-reform protesters during clashes on Sunday in central Tehran... 'Police forces are refusing their commanders' orders to shoot at demonstrators in central Tehran... some of them try to shoot into air when pressured by their commanders,' the Jara website said.

Video of protesters freeing others taken prisoner in a van. 'We're seeing more and more seizure of the instruments of control -- burned baseej buildings, rescued prisoners, stolen helmets, burnt motorbikes.' (Andrew Sullivan)

Reformist leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi's nephew was killed today.

"Ali was a seyyed ... of the line of the Imam. Western analysts do not actually understand the importance of the twin mantles of heredity and scholarship to the Shi'ia... Killing a seyyed during Ashura? ... This is an exact parallel to the martyrdom of Imam Ali at the hands of Ummayyads. Husayn ibn Ali famously said he would prefer death to life under tyranny: '... Don't you see that the truth is not put into action and the false is not prohibited? The believer should desire to meet his Lord while he is right. Thus I do not see death as but happiness, and living with tyrants but as sorrow.'"
Images from sources quoted.