About this post
The following is a short recap of what happened shortly after the election, followed by social medias impact on the situation and rounding off with interresting sources if you wish to investigate further.
Step 1 through 11 – What happened?
1 – First off, Iran is an islamic republic. That means the Islamic laws are technically considered to override the laws of the state. So though the presidency is important, it’s not really that important, since all domestic and international affairs, are always decided by a council of religious leaders run by the Supreme Leader of Iran.
2 – Iran usually has a very low voter turn out, because most people running for the election is rejected by the government. That means people are left choosing between “person A” they dont like and “person B” they dont like either.
3 – In this election, there was the usual “person A” people dislike, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but there was also a guy most people actually like.
This person was independent reformist, Mir-Hossein Mousavi. He was the last prime ministre of Iran, and currently the president of the Iranian Academy of Arts.
4 – This opportunity for change, caused a very high voter turn out of 85%
5 – All signs pointed in favor of Mir-Hossein Mousavi, and turnout of voters, was so great that Iranian election officials extend the voting deadline an additional 3 hours, so that more citizens were allowed to cast their vote.
6 – Within 2 hours of the polls closing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared winner, with 62% of the vote. The largest margin of victory in the history of Iranian Presidential elections, while Mir-Hossein Mousavi received only 33% of the vote.
7 – Due to the large number of hand ballots cast in Iran, this declaration of victory seemed extremely odd, as it was expected to possibly take days for election officials to count all of the ballots.
8 – The government soon after states, that all Iranians, including those supporting the losing party, must support Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Following this all cell phones has been blocked throughout Iran. This leads to massive protests forming in the streets. Many protesters are covering their faces out of fear of being recognized and punished by the government.
9 – The supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issues a statement calling the election a “divine assessment” while Iranian officials mercilessly beats hundreds of protesters
10 – At the same time killings of civilians and riots are going on in all major Iranian cities, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declares that events taking place in his country are no different than fans breaking out in fights after a soccer match.
11 – While the riots gets worse, the BBC is ordered out of Iran by the Iranian government, and this is where something incredible starts to happen. Though “old media” is banned from the country, a massive amount of new media is still streaming out of the country, documenting what’s happening – So much in fact that the Iranian government has no chance of stopping it all, though they desperately try.
The youtube video below is one such example.
It’s filmed by civilians, distributed via new media and spread virally through facebook and twitter.
It shows Iranian police cold bloodedly shooting and killing a protesting student.
Social media impact
Definately one of the most beautiful illustrations of social responsibility to date, is the mind blowing impact of social media on this crisis. Iranians have, and are still at this very moment, relying on it to communicate their situation to billions of people worldwide.
Bloggers and twitter users from all over the world have set their computer’s location and time zone to Tehran, to create such massive disruption, that the Iranian government had to give up trying to block the Iranian people from communicating with the rest of the world.
As events occured, they’ve been documented on Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia while Youtube and Flickr brought the multimedia.
The weekend of the 12th, 13th and 14th was the weekend of #CNNFail, where Twitter harshly condemned the news network for not covering the Iran protests enough. This is CNN’s response:
Under all of this global pressure, the Guardian Council began a partial recount, while more iranians still voiced their opinions and documented the situation to the world. Even members of the Iranian soccer team wore green armbands during their game with South Korea.
The weekend of the 19th, 20th, and 21st marks the bloodiest days in the Iran election crisis so far. Social media spreads images and videos, showing both the horror and the enormous protests.
The biggest story of that weekend, was a young Iranian woman who was fatally shot by the Basij and died on camera.
As mashable says, social media has opened a direct line of accessible information to us. It may very well prove to be a key factor in the fate of Iran itself.
Here are some of the most interresting people and sources i’ve stumbled unpon researching this topic:
- Iranian twitterer, Persiankiwi, who on june 24th suddently was silenced.
- Clay Shirky’s inspirational TED talk on how Social Media can make history.
- TehranBureau – An independent online magazine about Iran
- Mashable’s various blog posts.
- Googles blog search for filtering relevant news from within the blogosphere.
- And of course #IranElection twitter tag, that constantly updates.