Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Coup d'Ahmadinejad

By now, many of you are likely aware of the seriously disturbing events that are going on in Iran as we speak. It's really quite horrible how oppressive this current regime has proved itself to be, and I sincerely hope that the opposition's efforts come to be realized without any further bloodshed.

For those of you who aren't aware, here's a basic summary: Iran recently had a presidential election, the top two candidates for which were the incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the reformist challenger Mir-Hossein Mousavi. Ahmadinejad won by a huge margin, and Mousavi called foul, declaring that he had truly won. All the evidence points to extensive vote-rigging, and it seems as if the current Ahmadinejad regime has seized power in a coup d'etat backed by Supreme Ruler Ayatollah Khomeini.

A few key highlights...
  • Government has clamped down on the media, blocking Youtube, Facebook, Gmail, and opposition websites. All SMS (text) service in Tehran has been cut, as well as most phone lines in general, and most internet access. Pro-government militias have even destroyed computers.
  • The government has also declared all foreign press coverage illegal, and is expelling all non-state run press, even seizing cameras.
  • The people have spent days demonstrating in support of Mousavi and against Ahmadinejad, often coming out in hundreds of thousands if not millions at a time. The protests are the biggest seen since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 when they abolished their monarchy.
  • Government police and pro-government militias have been very violent, issuing beatings, tear gas, and pepper spray to random Mousavi supporters, even to the point of death. There are reports of as many as eight killed in shootings.
  • Through it all, Ahmadinejad continues to claim victory, and the Supreme Leader has mostly given support, though is now demanding a recount, which most people consider a sham.
This is big. Really big. Like, one of the most significant political happenings in the Middle East in 30 years. This essentially represents the voice of the people and hope for democracy against the current, oppressive and isolationist regime. Iran is a big player in the Middle East, controlling much of its oil and directly financing and negotiating with terrorist organizations. Not to mention the whole nuclear thing going on.

You can get the basic gist of it on the major news networks - CNN, New York Times and the like, but I've been following this one a lot through the social media: Blogs and Twitter. Still, BBC News has been exceptionally good, as has a good New York Times blog.

If you want to follow this historic happening, I suggest you look at a few of the following links:

Huffington Post Liveblog - This is the blog that I've been following for all of my news updates. Great, more than hourly coverage, with integrated video and stories from the people.
The Daily Dish: The Atlantic - Really great blog from Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic magazine, seems to be updated nearly every ten minutes with great features. Highly suggested.
Boston.com Photoblog - A great view of the protests, with large, high-definition photos.

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