A World at the Edge of Its Seat

By Al Giordano

Here is one of the few video images to come out of Iran in recent hours after election officials declared Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to win reelection to the presidency by a landslide margin.

Whether or not yesterday's election was fixed by fraud - and history may never really know - what will determine the next hours and days in Iran is, more importantly, whether a critical mass of the Iranian public consider them to have been legitimate or not. (After all, when only four of 96 candidates were approved by the theocratic council to be on the ballot for president, fraud or no fraud, the process still reeks of farce.)

That this video made it out of the country and on to the Internet this morning tells you everything you need to know about the difference between the youth uprising in China's Tienanmen Square twenty years ago this month - quashed with a massacre - and what is possible in Iran. Today, the world is wired from the bottom up: personal video cameras, cell phones, text messages, YouTube and the Internet in all its manifestations. Whatever is happening right now in Iran will not be easily swept under the Persian rug.

Stay tuned. And check in here for play-by-play commentary and analysis of what could happen next, through the twin lenses of community organizing and authentic journalism, both of which could be determinative of surprises in human history once again already in this young century...

Update: The BBC has now aired some of these images, and others that show the street protests.

Update II: The German Press Agency (DPA) reports that opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Moussavi "called for calm following clashes Saturday between his supporters and riot police in the capital Tehran..."

The demonstrations, which did not have the required permission from the Interior Ministry, turned violent after police intervened.

In a statement Moussavi called on his supporters not to fall into the trap of violence, reassuring them that he would safeguard their rights.

Moussavi had earlier said that the people would not accept the "charade" by the government and neither accept nor follow a president who has come to power through fraud.

Update III: More viral video, giving a sense of the sheer massive size of the protests:

Update IV:

 

Here's a constantly updated collection of photos from the protests on Flicker.

Update V: In contrast with the earlier video of the protests, where the crowd was overwhelmingly male, this one shows many women, mostly young, now in the march:

Update VI: Protests are not limited to the capital city of Tehran. In this video (apparently off a low-end cell phone), they've begun in the country's second-largest city of Mashhad:

Update VII: AP reports that cell phone service has been shut off in Tehran, but not (yet) in the rest of the country.

Also, to provide a good understanding of why the "presidential election" was largely symbolic, and of the larger structural matters that fuel the protests, see this graphic, also by AP:

So, you see: no matter who had "won" the "election," the seat of power would have remained the same. What appears to be underlying the resistance is a kind of collective wisdom that now is the hour to make their move, with the world's attention on Iran and so many international reporters there under the pretext of covering the "election."

Update VIII: Here's a very comprehensive news aggregator that links to the most recent reports and commentaries in English on the fast-breaking events in Iran. This may be a long night/weekend and if you see something there that I've missed (or if I've stepped away from the screen while it's happening) use the comments section to share and summarize the relevant link and what it tells.

 

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About Al Giordano

Biography

Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.

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