Category Archives: politics


It probably won't be up for long (violence, murder, copyright violations, etc) but this video is worth watching. Warning, video contains graphic scenes of violence and the final moments of Neda Agha Soltan, the young Iranian woman murdered by basiji militiaman.

If you'd rather not view the video, this CS Monitor article covers it rather well.

The student rembembered, Neda Agha Soltan, was reportedly shot in the chest by a basiji militiaman passing on a motorcycle. Graphic Internet video of the aftermath has turned her into an instant icon of the movement lead by defeated moderate Mir Hossein Mousavi.

A Facebook page titled "Angel of Iran" has been created to honor her. Authorities forbade a memorial service on Sunday. Mr. Mousavi – who has not been seen since Thursday – urged his followers late Sunday to keep up the pressure.

lens on tehran: an interview with newsha tavakolian

From the Lens comes On Assignment: Covering Tehran, by David W. Dunlap. This interview with photojournalist Newsha Tavakolian is a fascinating story of a young female photographer trying to cover a very rapidly developing story in a male-dominated country and profession.

[Update: link repaired]

iranian revolution of 2009

Having just written about social software and national security, I find the situation in Iran to be rather fascinating. It's amazing to see the huge role that social sites are playing in the 2009 Iranian election and, perhaps, the 2009 revolution.

Social Networks Spread Iranian Defiance Online Iranians are blogging, posting to Facebook and, most visibly, coordinating their protests on Twitter, the messaging service. Their activity has increased, not decreased, since the presidential election on Friday and ensuing attempts by the government to restrict or censor their online communications.

Latest Updates on Iran’s Disputed Election – excellent and very frequently updated coverage from the New York Time's blog, The Lede.

Flickr coverage from mousavi1388 and Dateline: Iran. (Warning: some of the images are graphic and contain violent scenes not suited for some audiences.)

Twitter coverage from mousavi1388.

UPDATE: good photos from .faramarz on Flickr.

UPDATE 6/16 22:38: Lens Blog photo series. Excellent.

remembering tiananmen

I can't believe it’s been twenty years since the Tiananmen massacre. How clearly I remember sitting in my little brick house on Mary Ann Street on Pittsburgh’s South Side, packing my suitcase and preparing to drive to DC to visit my girlfriend, when across the television screen comes CNN’s amazing coverage of the Chinese government’s crackdown. Over the next few days, as stories and photos, and eventually video leaked out, the whole world was able to see what happened.

Tiananmen was a social uprising. And this week, its 20th anniversary, we see the Chinese government blocking Flickr and Facebook and Myspace and Twitter and so many other social networking sites. One has to wonder how long such censoring can effectively continue. Social movements can do amazing things, very quickly. You only need to look a few months after Tiananmen to see the success of the crowds in bringing down the Berlin Wall beginning on November 9, 1989.

That first week of June, 1989, was a sad week. Let’s hope that as our collective connectivity grows, we will both never forget and never go back. David Rothkopf, writing in Foreign Policy, can close this post with this quote:

…thanks to the economic growth in the country and concurrent revolutions in information technology, individual Chinese are better informed. Further, thanks to the rise of the country's private sector, its growing integration with the global economy and the personal growth of the average citizen, the Chinese people are today part of a rapidly changing political fabric. Whether that fabric must be rent in order to fulfill the dreams that were articulated by those students in that square two decades ago is unclear. But what is absolutely certain is that during the intervening years, that shared secret has not died. In fact, it is no longer a very well kept secret. But because it is so widely shared, it remains one that is so powerful that it is almost certainly of greater significance to China's future than it is to its past.