Monday, June 15, 2009

Situation in Iran Becomes More and More Infuriating

As if the notion that a politician may have stolen an election with the guise that he was elected by a legitimate democratic process weren't one of the most infuriating scenarios I can imagine, the escalating civil rights abuses there are taking me to a boiling point, even as I follow this from the safety of the U.S.

Today major outlets report that in addition to frequent and violent disruptions of assemblies/protests by Mousavi supporters, the internet, mobile calls, and text messaging have been shut down by the government in order to prevent the opposition from continuing to organize and communicate.

I fear this is going to get uglier and more violent before it gets better, and not in the direction of a revolution against corrupt democracy, but of constant stifling of the speech of mostly young people in violent and shocking ways.

"For years Iranian TV has shown Israeli forces attacking innocent people in Palestine," said student Shervin Elahverdi, 21. "But these riot police are more brutal than them."

On Saturday night, at nearby Parkway, petrol bombs were thrown at police. Plastic bullets were returned. Unrest fizzed and spluttered all day in squares and at big junctions. Many were guarded by groups of basij (militia) volunteers, licensed thugs carrying wooden sticks. In mid-afternoon the Guardian watched one basiji chase a man into the ­middle of a traffic jam and beat him repeatedly with an iron bar.

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