I mean, things only happen by really dedicated, diligent work. I mean, we’re not allowed to say nice things about the Communist Party, right? That’s like a rule. But one of the reasons why the New Deal legislation worked, you know, which was significant—you know, just changed the country—was because there were people who were there every day. Whether it was a civil rights issue, a labor rights issue, organizing, anything else, they were there, ready to turn the mimeograph machines—no internet—organize demonstrations. They had a memory. You know, the movement had a memory, which it doesn’t have now. Now everyone starts over from fresh. But it had a kind of a tradition, a memory, that people were always there. And if you look back, it was very heavily Communist Party activists. Well, you know, that was destroyed. And it’s one of the—the lack of such a sector of dedicated, committed people who understand that you’re not going to win tomorrow, you know, you’re going to have a lot of defeats, and there’ll be a lot of trouble, you know, and a lot of things will happen that aren’t nice, but if you keep at it, you can get somewhere. That’s why we had a civil rights movement and a labor movement and so on.
Noam Chomsky on Obama’s Foeign Policy, His Own History of Activism, and the Importance of Speaking Out.
(file photo, 2006, outside the Italian Embassy in Tehran)
Once again, I’m quoting Niteowl, aka Josh Shahryar from Anonymous Iran. My comments in italics.
I’ve corroborated these stories among several sources, and the accounts seem to match up as best as they can in this chaotic mess of information.
This is the State of Iran, June 22nd.
1. Protests were held throughout Tehran today. The main protest was held at 7 Tir Square where 3-5 thousand people gathered to remember and mourn Neda – the protester killed on Saturday. (photos from this event ran this morning on this blog)
However, soon hundreds of IRG, police, Basij and plainclothesmen gathered and violently tried to disperse the protesters. It took hours to disperse all the protesters. The security forces used batons and fired tear gas shells as well as firing weapons in the air. Dozens of people were injured, including many women. Helicopters were flying over Tehran for the second day. There were also reports of helicopters firing tear gas shells at people – they have not been fully confirmed.
(I received reports of chemicals being dropped from helicopters today - again, not fully confirmed)
2. There was also a gathering of about 1,000 people in Valiasr Avenue, meeting security forces who sparked a confrontation. It was not as violent as the one on 7 Tir, but many people were injured there as well. There was a huge rally held by Ahmadinejad’s supporters at Valiasr for his victory speech. The participants were mostly people from the provinces, children and older Iranians. There were also a large number of government employees.
(This is in stark contrast to the young professionals and students involved in the protests on 7 Tir)
3. News of protests around the country was not relayed through tweets much today; however, sources confirmed that at least some rallies and protests were held in Tabriz where protesters met with violent attacks by the security forces. Later in the night as people chanted Allah o Akbar from the rooftops, there were reports of clashes in northern and western Tehran between protesters and security forces. Chants of Allah o Akbar also echoed across the country.
(This is a throwback to the 1979 revolution, a fairly safe way of showing resistance and solidarity)
Candles were lit throughout the country in memory of protesters that have been killed so far. The number of confirmed deaths stands close to 50 now and there have been more than a thousand injured.
4. Sources claim that the government is considering expelling some diplomatic missions because they’ve helped protesters or are accused of masterminding the unrest. The government earlier in the day alleged that the US had paid 400 million dollars to people in order to organize unrest in Iran. They also blamed the UK and Germany – saying the latter was coaxed into taking action by Israel – how Israel manages to coax other countries was beyond our sources… The Guardian Council has now announced that there were 3 million extra votes cast. Other information is unreliable at this point or various sources exist.
5. The government is actively trying to suppress news from getting out. BBC and Al-Arabiya’s correspondents were told to get out in 24 hours, twitter sites are being hacked, people are being tricked into getting out late at night by others chanting in the streets who are actually Basijis and the spread of spam and propaganda on twitter. The government has also established dozens of sites with pictures of protesters, asking people to identify them. At least two of these sites that were based abroad have been taken down by hackers sympathetic to Iranians today.
(That’s us! Hackers Unite! At posting time there was still one more online, though..)
6. There are sporadic reports coming in from Qom at this point. Sources claim that Rafsanjani who was in Qom has had meetings with clerics inside Qom. It has been also reported – but not confirmed – for the past three days that Ayatollah Montazeri has declared a three days’ mourning period. It likely is a hoax because it has not been confirmed by anyone. What can be confirmed is that the Council of Combatant Clerics – which includes in its members Rafsanjani and Nateq Noori – have backed the protesters. Khamanei is going to lead Friday prayers in Tehran. If there was a speech, we’ll have a translation availble here within the hour.
7. Hamzeh Ghalebi, head of Mousavi’s youth headquarters and Reza Homaye, another reformist and backer of Mousavi, have been arrested. There have been arrests of numerous other reformists and backers of Mousavi, Karoubi, Noori and Rafsanjani. The total number of people that have been arrested is still anyone’s guess. Reports indicate somewhere between five and ten thousand.
8. Tuesday has been declared a national strike by Mousavi and his backers. Already close to half of the shops in Tehran were closed on Sunday. (Sunday is not a holiday in Iran; Friday is.) It has been reported that in the provinces, people are excited about the news and many important figures in provinces are openly or secretly backing the call. The government is threatening people that they’ll be fired if they didn’t show up at their jobs on Tuesday.
9. Thursday, rallies will be held in Tehran. The location of the major rally in the city has not been disclosed. According to sources, this has been done so that the government couldn’t be prepared. In anticipation, the government has placed thousands of police and Basiji inside Tehran, turning stadiums into headquarters and areas for gathering for these security forces.
10. Our sources have strongly denounced the commercialization of the Sea of Green (That’s what most of them call the protests) by various people around the world. They have especially disliked how some people put advertisements on twitter with #iran or #iranelection on them as well as #neda. They have also shown outrage over the fact that Nokia and Siemens were exposed to have supplied the Iranian government with equipment to help censor their voices on the internet and over cell phones.
11. Finally, Mousavi has yet again called on the people of the world to rally in support of the plight of Iran’s people on Thursday. This is the second time Mousavi has called on citizens of Planet Earth to stand up and support the voices of Iranians.
That’s it. What else can I say? There’s still a lot that has yet to play out, but I hold out hope.
Good night, and good luck.