June 25, 2009

Who is shaking the Iranian regime?

Not Obama, nor Bush, nor Twitter, nor Facebook. It’s women who are shaking the regime, wrote Anne Applebaum in last Tuesday’s Washington Post. Years of work and effort lie behind this public display of defiance, as much as “there is a connection between the violence in Iran over the past week and the women’s rights movement that has slowly gained strength in Iran over the past several years.” That’s why Neda, the 26 year-old philosophy student—whose name means “voice” in Farsi—shot dead on the streets of Teheran while attending a protest against vote-rigging in the presidential election, has become this revolution’s symbolic martyr.

As so many martyrs have in the past, Neda has been buried in secret and her family is being persecuted. Neighbours said government officials warned them not to discuss Neda’s death or to protest, and ordered them to leave their apartment in east Tehran. The government also banned mourning ceremonies

Arash Hejazi, the doctor who tried to save Neda, spoke to the BBC’s Rachel Harvey about the incident and the girl’s final moments. Here is the video.

In the meantime, Iranian authorities briefly have arrested dozens of university professors who met with opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, who from his web site has just said that he is vowing to persevere with his election challenge despite the apparent attempt to isolate him from his supporters. This seems to be the best way to honor the memory of those who have died for Iran’s freedom.

Good luck mediating, Mr Pottering!

—Hans-Gert Pottering, president of the European Parliament, has offered to lead a mission of EU lawmakers to Iran. “We are willing to offer our support and mediation to bring about a peaceful solution,” he says. Meanwhile, eye witness reports from Tehran indicate that the Police are assailing unarmed protestors with axes. As Emanuele Ottolenghi puts it, “Good luck mediating, Mr Pottering!”

—An email from a normblog reader in Iran.

—Theocratic crowd control: (via Michael J. Totten)