Friday, June 19, 2009

Where's their vote?

I have recently joined Twitter. Normally a place for wasting time/pr opportunities. However this week has been very different. If you're not on Twitter, you're still probably aware that it and other social networking sites are being used very effectively to get information/pictures out of Iran which otherwise we wouldn't be seeing. It has been very odd reading about things happening in real time, and then watching the news catch up on events.

Alot of people on Twitter are retweeting information as it comes in, and I have been a bit too, though somewhat warily. By all accounts, the brave people microblogging in this way risk arrest or worse, and it's important a) not to give away identities and locations and b) to be sure that you are retweeting actual information about rallies etc, and not disinformation spread by the Iranian government. The great strength of the internet which allows people in a situation like this the freedom to express what is happening, is also it's greatest weakness: with such a plethora of information available to us, it is often extremely difficult to find out what is going on.
Twitter appear to be doing their best by posting a list of potential dodgy twitterers here, but it's still difficult, so I am trying to be selective about what I send on.
Having said that, what I find incredibly heartening about this situation, is both the mass of support across the internet for the people of Iran, and the staggering courage of those sending out information. We don't know yet how this will pan out. I am sceptical about it being another Velvet Revolution, because sadly the Basij militia have already shown what they are capable of, and I fear this may still be a Prague Spring. However, thanks to the courage of the bloggers, we will know what happens for good or bad, and whatever the Supreme Leader says, the world will know at least some of the truth.
Twitterers are posting green avatars in support of Iran. Opinion is divided as to whether this is a futile gesture or not. It may well be. But I think at a time when Ahmadinejad would have us believe the Holocaust didn't happen, America the Great Satan is bent on its destruction (and let's face it America hasn't actually held the olive branch out till Obama took over), I think it's important that we in the West reach out a hand across the internet to the brave people of Iran and show them as Stephen Fry put it so simply: Iranian govt should at least know we're watching & we care. We're not imperialists, we just care.


Tam said...

Hullo, thanks for stopping by the blog!
I think Twitter can be a power for good and even more so when luminaries such as Stephen Fry take it to their heart. We can only hope.

JoeinVegas said...

Unfortunately, many of us think America is the Great Satan.

Jane Henry said...

Hi Tam thanks for coming by. I agree about Twitter being a powerful tool. Hope it helps.

Welcome also, Joe. I am sure that you don't think Israel should be bombed into submission though (-:

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Keep it under your hat but I too have joined Twitter...

And however much some may claim the USA as the great Satan, since listening to Radio 4 comedy means I think of Andy Hamilton as Satan this probably undercuts the imagery created by the sentiment!