Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Movement Evolves

This account, received over a professional list-serve, notes the evolution of the highly diverse protest movement in Iran:
"Fourth march – today, 18 June. As I am typing, cries of Allah-o Akbar are resonating all throughout my neighborhood, despite the stormy weather (this takes place every night between 9 and 11 in sign of protest). The fourth march started from Toup Khoune Square. Marchers took Ferdowsi Street until Ferdowsi Square where they swerved onto Enghelab Street and dispersed around Tehran University. The word given out was that this event was to be a strictly silent mourning march to commemorate and honor the people who have died in the last couple of days. Everyone was wearing black and black ribbons were being distributed to wear alongside the green ribbon, around the wrist or pinned to the chest, tied to a backpack or worn across the forehead.Little pieces of paper printed with slogans such as 'Blood? Why' were passed around for people to wear.

"As I mentioned in my previous email, today made it very clear that thedynamics of the movement are constantly evolving. From the first marchwhere the only focus was on Mousavi/ people’s vote to Mousavi, today’sslogans touched on issues of freedom/justice/innocent people dying for ajust cause. The posters of Mousavi of day one have given way to postersexpressing deeper themes, and the deeper problems that exist in thiscountry. 'Democracy does not equal Dead Student', 'Stop Killing Us', 'We are not rioters', 'Silence is not acceptance', 'The key to victory:Calmness, Hope and Patience'.

"About the march: it was entirely silent and peaceful. No riot police anywhere. Ferdowsi was entirely closed off but on Enghelab, cars were painfully trying to keep one lane open. The drivers were stuck in pretty bad traffic, but to the marchers waiving their V-signs to them, a great majority of them would smile and respond with the same. A bus driver was filming on Enghelab. When asked how far ahead and how far back the march stretched, he smiled and said: a long way. The crowd was mixed: young people mostly but a considerable number of parents with small children and elderly people, chadori women and even a mollah.

"On Enghelab, where the marchers were cut off from the sidewalks by tall metal railing, shopkeepers and passer-bys volunteered to take people’s empty water bottles and refill them with fresh cool water from the watering hoses. At one point, a motorcycle stuck on the sidewalk with an overheated engine started making weird noises. The elderly woman next tome immediately panicked and rushed to her husband saying: it looks like they’re shooting. Later on, a wave of panic went over the crowd and everyone ran for cover while ducking with their hands over their heads. No one knows why, it was over in seconds.

At the end of the march, a very emotional moment. At dusk in front of Tehran University, people lit candles in remembrance of those killed in the violence of the past few days, then dispersed quietly."
(Crossposted to American Footprints)



Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an interesting blog commentary, please keep it up.

One question:

Ahmadinejad said after the election:

He ran into a red light and he got a ticket. Or, something to that extent.

Is this shared in Iran? Does this make all voters angry?

Also, one request:

Are young people (i.e., school-children) participating in the marches? It would be nice to see their reactions on photographs. They will remember this forever and ever.

The amazing part of the march is that there is NO generational divide. Why is this point not highlighted?

9:48 PM  
Blogger Brian Ulrich said...

I don't know the answer to either question for sure, but you can probably find them on Andrew Sullivan's site.

9:58 PM  

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