Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Silent Protest and the Haunting Rooftop Chants

Here is video of a massive silent protest that was staged by the opposition in Iran today. It is striking how silent this scene is despite the enormous amount of people:

The protests even continue into the night with the rooftop chants. Every hour at 10PM, 11PM, and midnight protesters shout "Allaho Akbar" from their rooftops. Video of last night is below. There is also a female voice speaking over the video in what I believe is Farsi. A reader over at the Huffington Post helped to translate what she is saying:

The woman in this video is saying something that really touched me. She is saying that they can take our phones, our internet, all our communication away, but we are showing that by saying "allaho akbar" we can find each other. She ends it my saying that tonight they are crying out to god for help.

The New York Times is reporting that the so-called recount is underway in Iran and has thusfar shown no irregularities:

The Fars news agency also reported that the partial recount of votes ordered Tuesday by the Guardian Council, the 12-member body of jurists which supervises elections and holds veto power over legislation in Iran, had begun. A recount of votes in Kermanshah, a Kurdish province, showed that “there has been no irregularity,” the news agency reported.

The recount, intended as a effort to meet the opposition’s concerns, has failed to halt the unrest. On Tuesday, a large protest by thousands of supporters of Mr. Moussavi stretched for miles along a major thoroughfare in Tehran. The marchers, dressed largely in black and green, marched mostly in silence, some carrying signs in English asking, “Where is my vote?”

Farideh Farhi is from the University of Hawaii and has years of experience studying voting in Iran and in an interview with the Christian Science Monitor, he says that the election results were "pulled out of a hat":

My personal feeling is that Ahmadinejad could not have gotten anything more than 10 million. And I really do have the data from previous elections, each district, how they voted, each province, to make comparisons with these numbers that the Ministry of Interior have come out.

I am convinced that they just pulled it out of their hats. They certainly didn't pull it out of ballot [boxes] or even stuffed ballots, they just made up numbers and are putting it out. It just doesn't make sense.

I do take the numbers of the Interior Ministry very seriously. I pore over them every election. I did it last time in the parliamentary election, to determine the orientations and what they mean. I always do that.

In this election, I am not even going to spend time on this, because of all the [problems].


They simply are not interested in these people continuing to be interested in politics in Iran. The want them to become demoralized and cynical, because their participation in the Iranian electoral process is extremely destructive for the [Islamic] system ...

What they have not counted on, of course, is a group of people that they essentially think of, for lack of a better word, Westernized wishy-washy liberals, who never stand for anything, would actually be upset that this election was stolen in such a brazen way.

They assumed: 'Ah, you know, we go into the streets, we yell at them, and a couple of shots and they go home and close their doors.'

They knew that they were a minority, and that's why they tried to pull this off. They thought they could bully people, through violence. And they may ultimately be correct. But it seems they have underestimated, not only the crowds, but Mr. Mousavi.

and some recent tweets out of Iran:


Basij requested Faezeh & Mehdi Hashemi be arrested for helping the riots #iranelection


according to the unofficial reports the sum of arrested people in whole Iran is reaching 750 person


in Tehran placards reading Annulment of the election is our right - a play on Ahmadinejad's slogan Nuclear power is our right #iranelection

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