As we took a day off to celebrate 4th of July, came another blow to the authority of the Iranian Supreme Leader. A statement released yesterday by the Society of the Religious Scholars and Professors at Qom questioned the legitimacy of “The Guardian Council” after its misconduct of the election, lack of attention to the justified complaints, militarization of the environment of the country, and its support for the brutal attacks on protesters. The friends I spoke to in Iran, did not attach the same level of significance to it as did the BBC (article here) and the New York Times (article here).
Three Days of General Strike followed by Gatherings planned for Tehran and other Cities
* Despite heavy control over the flow of information, Iranian supporters of Mr. Mousavi and the are connecting to start a three-day “I’tikaf” (a voluntary refusal to work) or general strike starting July 6. Also, plans have been announced, on Mr. Mousavi’s Facebook page by his supporters, for staying outside the house and demonstrating in numerous small groups which will be harder to target by riot police. I should be able to post the locations soon.
The Longest Scroll
* 4th of July might become a day to remember in the life of Iranians as well. On that day, this year, thousands of Iranians demonstrated outside the European Parliament and started a green scroll which they hope will become the longest scroll in the world. On this scroll, which will say “Ahmadinejad is not my president” at the top, Iranians from all over the world will sign their name. It will hang from the Eiffel Tower and the Toronto Tower and be taken to the U.N. Museum in the end. Please see the picture below to get a glimpse of it.
New Internet Tool to Allow Iranians visit websites (with their identities protected)
* This is another amazing piece of news, a tremendous gift to Iranians who have been unable to make use of internet due to heavy filtering by the government. Tech guru Austin Heap, whose work on Iran was profiled early on by the San Francisco Chronicle <http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/06/17/MN75188C6K.DTL>, is set to release a new tool to help Iranians get online. Here’s Austin’s blog post about the program, called Haystack:
“In the upcoming days, Daniel Colascione and I will release a new
program to provide unfiltered internet access to the people of Iran.
A software package for Windows, Mac and Unix systems, called
Haystack, will specifically target the Iranian government’s web
Similar to Freegate, the program directed against China’s ‘great
firewall,’ once installed Haystack will provide completely
uncensored access to the internet in Iran while simultaneously
protecting the user’s identity. No more Facebook blocks, no more
government warning pages when you try to load Twitter, just
The network will be supported by donated high-quality servers
outside of Iran. They will be able to provide an individual user
with unfettered internet access that costs the donor $0.015 to
$0.0375 per month.”
See the full post here: http://blog.austinheap.com/2009/07/04/haystack-good-luck-finding-that-needle/.
July 3 Nightly protests
Light a Candle!
* Iranians light candles to commemorate the loss of a loved-one. At this site, you can light a candle for the Iranians who lost their lives to protest the rigging of the 2009 general election in Iran: http://www.iranian-heroes.org/.
Iranian Blogger Maryam Namazi on Recent Protests
Quote from Maryam Namazi comments on the recent protests:
“Tonight and nights before in various parts of Tehran there have been huge groups of people out in their neighborhoods shouting slogans ‘Down with Dictator,’ and ‘Free Political Prisoners,’ amongst others. Last night in Ekbatan, we received reports that the regime’s security agents attacked the protestors but the protestors stood their ground and the security forces had to back down. In Tajrish too last night on Mojdeh Street, hundreds had gathered. We have been told that these night protests are increasing and in the deprived areas of Tehran too. It has been reported that there are such night protests in so many neighborhoods that you can hear slogans practically all the time whilst driving around Tehran.”
I hope you have had great holiday weekend.
Fatemeh Keshavarz, Professor and Chair
Dept. of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures
Washington University in St. Louis
Honorary Co-Chair, Iranians For Peace
Tel: (314) 935-5156
Fax: (314) 935-4399