I fear for what we might see on the streets of Iran tonight. The revolution is still being twittered – despite Iranian government efforts to shut it down and to spread misinformation – and as one twitterer says, “this will be a pivotal day for Iran.” Whatever you might say about the man whose flag they’re rallying behind, people in Iran are risking their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honour for freedom.
Reports of deaths, injuries and missing persons are streaming into Twitter accounts from Isfahan, Shiraz, Sharhrak Gharb and Tehran. Students have been reported dead and wounded at Shiraz, Nooshiravani Babol and Mashad universities. Army generals arrested in a rumoured coup d'état. While the military is reportedly refusing orders to fire on protestors, the pro-government militia (the Basij) has taken up the slack with relish. The Tabriz Basij (pro-government militia) headquarters has been set on fire, and “many dead” reported. Hezbollah and Hamas thugs from Lebanon and Palestine have been mobilised to quell protests.
Mousavi’s rally and general strike – the third straight day of resistance – is being countered with a “pro-government rally,” and there is talk that some of the marches to which protestors are being invited are being set as a trap. Tehran hotels have been put under under high security to stop Iranians from contacting foreign press. Foreigners’ visas have been cancelled. Foreign media are banned from leaving their offices to cover the protests. Anyone with a camera or a laptop is attacked in street.
It is the best of times, it is the worst of times. It is the season of Light, it is the season of Darkness. It is the spring of hope, and the winter of despair. The people of Iran have everything before them, they have nothing before them.
For good or evil, today (their time) will likely tell the tale. History is poised – yet in history there is hope. For in history, says Ludwig von Mises, there are “an abundance of striking examples to show that, in the long run, even the most ruthless policy of repression does not suffice to maintain a government in power.”