Live For Something Worth Dying For

February 11, 2011

After a rough week of papers, insomnia, a very much dreaded allnighter, and an exam… I should be diving face first into my bed and recooping’ from this hectic week, but instead I decided to surf the web only to be overwhelmed with emotions that I am now going to blog about.

First, I’m overwhelmed with happiness for the people of Egypt. Now that Mubarak has stepped down, I hope they have  a plan of action to reform their government. Now that things have changed.. I wish them a government that is legitimate, stable, and  peaceful. The amount of emotions I’m feeling for them right now just can’t be put into words. Its like I’m high fiving a million angels!

Secondly, I want to revisit a similar situation that took place in Tehran in 2009. It was very personal for me because one of my best friends is Iranian and went back to visit relatives that summer.

Anyway, the election was right around the corner and with a population typical of a developing country, more than half of the population consisted of young adults under the age of 35. There was easily an overwhelming amount of support for the Reformist party headed by Mousavi. Everybody knew he would win, it was just something you could feel in the air like trade winds. Because they were having one of their first democratic elections, the young population of Iran became enchanted by the idea of reform. That a better life was so close they could reach out and grab it. Hundreds of thousands of people came out to vote and celebrate on the eve of what was sure to be a new way of life.

But on the eve of the election, Ahmadinejad sent out armed forces to stand by while he announced his victory over Mousavi, by a landslide. And as hundreds of thousands of voters stood by in disbelief, trying to process the corruption they had just witnessed to what was supposed to be a democratic election… they became enraged. That Iran would hold a democratic election and completely disregard the votes of the people was absolute hypocrisy, a betrayal of human rights, and a cold slap in the face.

So they took a stand for their rights and organized silent peaceful protests that were often violently stifled by Ahmadinejad’s troops. The government officials arbitrary use of excessive force was captured on cellphones, which were uploaded to youtube and twitter. Once the government caught on, they slowed their internet service down to a halt, and blocked access to certain sites like youtube.

I remember trying to watch youtube videos that people had uploaded from their cellphones but within 5 seconds of the page loading, an “error” box would show up and I would have to exit out of the site. It was spooky to know that I was in my room on my laptop, and somewhere nearly half a world away, there’s a little guy who’s capable of controlling what I can or cannot watch. It felt like he just poked his hand through my screen and hit the escape button. How invasive. . .

I remember reading an article in Environmental Comm. which pointed out that the influx of tweets were in English and came from the western hemisphere rather than Iran. There’s no denying that the tweets I had read were in English, but the photos and videos that were recorded with smart phones were definitely from Tehran. Which I think communicated more about what was going on than any text or tweet.

Although the invention of networking sites such as twitter, facebook, and youtube have provided the world with a live data base of endless possibilities, it was the smart phone that put power back into the peoples hands, literally . Smart phones have the ability to capture photo, video & audio that you can quickly upload to the internet, at your convenience!

Thirdly, with all that said and done, this is Neda.

(January 23, 1983 – June 20, 2009)

She became the face of Iran the day she was tragically shot in the heart by a sniper, in the middle of the day, in the middle of the road. Her death was caught on video…her eyes staring directly at the camera phone during the final seconds of her life symbolized the significance of what her death meant and to share it with the world.. Her name contains a link to an hour long HBO documentary that chronicles a bit about who she was, why she sought reform, and most importantly that she just wanted to live a life that resembled what is normal to all young women..

I’m sad for Iran because they came so close to freedom and reform, fought for it, but ultimately they didn’t have a successful ending.

I encourage anyone who has read this post completely to take an hour and watch the film.



One Response to “Live For Something Worth Dying For”

  1. Caron said

    Jessica Thanks so much for these insights and the care you put into this post. I remember Neda. There are many who share your concern. The experience of the Iranian revolution has been a cautionary tale told by many analysts discussing Egypt.

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