C'mon "good folks," let's "get the word out" to Iran! Anybody? (Cricket chirping in Farsi.).

Posted: 11 Feb 2010   Print   Send a link
"As [RFE/RL president] Jeff Gedmin and others have reported, [Iran's] green movement itself is diverse and diffuse, with secular and religious elements, pro and anti-American elements, no clear position on the nuclear program, and no single leader. But that makes its resilience all the more noteworthy, and its demands more unifying: an accountable government that serves, rather than oppresses, its citizens. So as this potentially historic week [31st anniversary of the Iranian Revolution] unfolds in Iran, here's an idea for the White House and State Department: how about turning a section of your official websites green on Feb. 11? This would be a simple yet memorable way to add some spice to what will hopefully be official statements of support for the green movement from President Obama and Secretary Clinton. And it is a gesture that could quickly be replicated around the world, by other governments such as the U.K., France, and Germany, as well as by think-tanks, NGOs, and anyone else who wants to express solidarity with the cause of freedom in Iran. We at the Legatum Institute will be turning our website green. And to make sure that Iranian reformers know of such international support, the good folks at Radio Farda will be broadcasting, streaming, posting, and using all manner of multi-media to bypass Tehran's censorship and get the word out." Will Inboden, Loyal Opposition blog, Foreign Policy, 9 February 2010. I'm sure the good folks at Radio Farda will be reporting the news. It's not really their job to "get the word out."
     "Mohsen Sazegara, an exiled Iranian dissident who was one of the original founders of the [Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and] who was once a presidential candidate in Iran, has actively advocated mass protests through the Internet and frequently appears on the Persian service of the US government-funded Voice of America." Mohammed A Salih, Inter Press Service, 12 February 2010.
     "Mehr news agency reports today that Brigadier-General Massoud Jazaeri, cultural and press defence secretary of the armed forces urged for 'clear regulations and laws' in confronting collaborators of such media outlets. He added that established laws will clarify that 'any connection or service to these media outlets is a crime and criminals should be confronted firmly.' These comments arrive two days after the Ministry of Intelligence reported the arrest of seven people accused of collaboration with Radio Farda, a US-supported Persian speaking radio based in Washington D. C. and Prague. Radio Farda has rejected the allegations and announced that it has no collaborators inside Iran." Peyvand Iran News, 9 February 2010.
     "Do you think you can stop dissent by throwing those who report it in jail? I’m not sure what your advisers are telling you. But we live in an era in which you cannot stop the flow of information. Even though your government has banned satellite television, a great number of Iranians still get their news from the BBC and Voice of America by using illegal satellite dishes. Currently your police may be able to find and punish dish owners. But soon the dishes will become smaller and cheaper and everyone will be able to have one in the safety of their homes. By arresting accredited journalists your government has made every Iranian a citizen journalist. Your government has blocked most Web sites that are critical of your government, but Iranians have learned to use filter-busters to access them. Your government has narrowed the Internet bandwidth and has passed cyber crime laws, but that has not stopped your compatriots from using the Internet to inform the world about the situation of their country. YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are full of the latest news about the crimes of your regime." Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian reporter for Newsweek wh was imprisoned in Tehran from June to October 2009, New York Times, 9 February 2010. I'm not sure how the laws of physics will allow satellite dishes to become smaller, unless a new, more powerful satellite beams directly at Iran. If that satellite does not have the entertainment channels directed to the rest of the Middle East, it won't have many viewers. In general, Mr. Bahari is bit too optimistic about the potential to overcome Iran's blocking and jamming.