Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I Run, You Run, Iran, Tehran

Americans are likely to view the current crisis in Iran being familiar with the standpoint of protesters - and how that is a right of free speech and association they have come to enshrine. Malaysians on the other hand, will find the event of particular interest simply because it's the first time it's happened at that scale for an Islamic nation.

It's one of those things where no matter how it ends, it's going to have some upside to it. Americans are going to be made particularly aware that the Iranian government and the Iranian people can be two quite separate entities. More so than after the movements in Georgia and Nepal, Malaysians are going to be made more aware that peaceful protests, especially those done in protection of proper democratic ideals, are not just Western propaganda, and that so-called "illegal assemblies" are often the voice of the people. "I have a dream" sadly doesn't resonate much in this country outside of secluded lecture rooms. But there will be something eerily familiar about the Revolutionary Guard and Iranian riot police and it will not be so easy to see the videos and pictures as protectors of the people.

It's the first time I've seen YouTube take on a "breaking news" role:

- not from the channel, but the ticker at the top of every video I checked today, whether or not it had anything to do with Iran.

The world is changing. I just hope that once the dust settles, people have longer memories.

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