“And though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play on the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously by licensing and prohibiting misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?”
– John Milton, Areopagitica, 1644
The elections in Iran have yielded fierce protests worldwide over the validity of the outcome, electing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over popular rival Mir Hussein Moussavi. While the results certainly look fishy, I’m not qualified to assess them. However, protests in Iran and worldwide continue to put pressure on Ahmadinejad’s regime.
While Iranian citizens are protesting and fighting in the streets, they are also communicating with the world on popular social networks like Twitter and Facebook. The New York Times reports that one virtue of Twitter is that it’s harder to block than other networks because members can access it from mobile devices, cell phones and computers.
Outside of Iran, people are aiding the protest, too. They’re:
• setting up proxy servers and making them available in Iran, helping citizens escape government censorship of the web;
• launching distributed denial-of-service attacks against the Iranian government’s web infrastructure;
• instructing people outside of Iran on how to help, not hurt, the opposition. See this list of instructions from Boing Boing.
• talking, blogging and tweeting the news, putting pressure on mainstream news outlets to continue or increase coverage. Tweeters are turning their avatars green in a show of support of the resistance.
Reporters have been banned from sharing news from Iran with the outside world. If you would like to read news from participants and citizen journalists, try these resources, as suggested by PC World and others:
The Daily Dish, Andrew Sullivan’s blog, contains videos and commentary
On Twitter: Twazzup has created a mashup of relevant Twitter resources; check it out. Or search for the hashtags #iranelection or #gr88
Conversation is a powerful tool to fight fascism. And social networks give conversations about Iran a media-rich megaphone. The whole world’s watching – and talking.