Monday, December 28, 2009

Iran: The Camera Phone is Mightier than the Sword

Iran is hurtling toward civil war, with the general populace finally fed up with the incompetent and often violent leadership. During the many protests, dissidents are being imprisoned, beaten, and tortured.

In the past, we would likely not learn of the government putting down the uprisings until months or years after the fact. However, in today's constantly connected world, we are learning about these events as they happen, through picture messaging and services like Twitter.

Watching your continuing coverage of the people of Iran continuing their fight for freedom I was struck, and touched, by the presence, in every picture, in every piece of footage, by the universal presence of cellphones and cameras. No matter how chaotic, no matter how frightened they may be, the protesters held their phones high. Not a brave few but a brave many pressed into the violence, stood right next to the regimes thugs and pointed their cameras. It seems like the ultimate act of defiance; no matter how you try to shut us down or shut us up, we will expose you. You can kill us, but the world will know that we never stopped fighting.

I urge you to continue to use your platform to show us this incredible fight. Before this started, the people of Iran seemed alien and vaguely threatening. Now, I see a young woman, veil shoved back and cellphone in the air, and this lefty atheist woman sees a sister clear across the world.

The government of Iran cannot brutalize its citizens without the entire world knowing about it in real time, thanks to information technology. I always knew the Internet was a game-changer, but I had no idea it could actually save lives.

The Web empowers people in a way never possible before. Keep snapping those pictures, people of Iran, we are behind you.

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