It’s rare that reading a news-story makes me cry, but the coverage of today’s protests in Iran on The Daily Dish nearly did. It reminded me strongly of the Economist’s Obituary for Alison Des Forges (a witness to genocide who died in the commuter plane that crashed in Buffalo)–heart-breakingly immediate. The editors are just compiling information as fast as they can, providing full-texts of tweets, emails, anything to give an idea of what’s happening. It’s really upsetting stuff, and driving me crazy because I just don’t know why shouting “Allah O Akbar” (God is Great) from a rooftop is a revolutionary action. I don’t know why it means so much to Iranians to shout just that phrase in just that place, why they would risk being killed for it.
What I remember from the coverage:
- The police are raiding hospitals to arrest protesters, and so the safest place to be if you are injured is a foreign embassy.
- Some women have been gunned down–I will not post them here, but there are several videos circulating of women being shot and dying. Evidence on YouTube of human rights abuses, in real time. Women are important to this uprising–veiled, Muslim women dying for democracy.
- Government helicopters are throwing acid on the protesters
I am still reading Reading Lolita in Tehran and it is horrifying to pair the peaceful images of even repressed Iran with these of burning.
Here is a video, narrated by a young woman, of the protests:
I’m going to bed–I pray for peaceful resolution. But I doubt it.
O Thou far off and near, whole and broken,
Who in necessity and bounty wait,
Whose truth is light and dark, mute though spoken,
By Thy wide grace show me Thy narrow gate
Wendell Berry, The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry (New York: Counterpoint Publishing, 1998), 107.
Allah O Akbar Shouted from the Rooftops is what THEY did during the 1979 revolution to overthrow the Shah. They are repeating this as a psychological reminder from back then. People who are old enough to remember will understand the significance of this. It’s purely psychological.