Thursday, June 18, 2009

Twittering a Revolution

On Saturday, after the "re-election" of President Ahmadinejad, I watched Christiane Amnapor of CNN do a live report from Iran with no video. She mentioned unrest. Unrest? Calling what was happening in Iran unrest is like calling the Superbowl just another football game.

I was surprised because anyone paying attention to political things on twitter knew that there was a revolution erupting. We also knew that atrocities were taking place. We knew at least a day before the news reported it, that Iran was shutting down all social networking. But the brave souls inside Iran were finding proxies and were getting around the censorship.

Our media was ordered to stay in their hotels by this time. But video kept coming from twitter and Youtube. We watched a revolution given to us, not by the media, but by the very revolutionaries themselves.

The most amazing thing was the outpouring of support the Iranian tweeters were getting from Americans. Most of us turned our avatars green in support of the Iranian people. It wasn't much. But appreciation flowed back to us.

We on twitter saw the pictures of the river of people protesting first. We also saw the pictures of students shot. We received updates of people being brought to hospitals. The iron fist of Iran couldn't suppress the voice of the people. It was an historic thing to be a part of, even if it was only as an observer.

We here in America are not naive. We understand that in foreign policy Mousavi is not that much different from Ahmadinejad. We understand the Mullahs rule the land. But freedom fought for and tasted, even for a moment, can change a world. We in American understand that. This may only be a tiny ripple, but when information flows, minds open. Whatever happens in Iran, nothing can change the fact that Iranians and Americans reached out to one another. Knowing each other is the first step to trusting one another. It is the first step to understanding one another.

When Americans, so different from Iranians, can (and I know this sounds silly) twitter together. It means we can talk. It means we can get to know one another in a way never possible before.

This isn't about the leaders of our countries anymore. This is about the people of America and Iran, supporting a common cause, that the voices of the Iranians not be suppressed. We offer our comfort and our support. We are cheering them on from a distant land, we are praying with them...... on twitter.

A twitterevolution.