Even though this clip may be considered slapstick comedy, I was rather intrigued by it.
Especially because I had recently seen this:
The first clip is a piece on IRIB2 – about Iran’s “cyber army” and how, since some blogs and the internet have been used towards “soft warfare” to topple the IRI, a group of young dedicated IRI loyalists are stepping up and using the internet to fight back.
In the clip, there is constant juxtaposition between the days of the Iran-Iraq war where young, courageous Iranians took up arms to fight the enemy, and the need for this young generation to pick up their computers. As one young boy puts it: “our tanks and weapons today are our pens and paper.” Another declares: “our weapons today are our blogs.” There is a constant emphasis on the enemy’s effort to destroy the Islamic Republic – just like the days of the war, albeit by different means [perhaps fellas at IRIB haven't been following international news, as I think military attacks on Iran are still quite a real, dangerous threat]. In another scene, the reporter goes through a series of doctored images which she claims “anti revolutionary” websites have tried to portray as scenes of unrest in Tehran.
When I say that I think the arguementative style of the current Iranian rulers is quite deceptive and dangerous, this is what I mean. They mix truth (the fact that Iran IS in danger, that there are evildoers out there who wish us harm, that the Western mainstream media spins lies and deception of its own) with so much untruth:
- For one thing, the “dedicated cyber army” the clip raves about, unlike those in the opposition, is not a grassroots effort trying to do what it can with scarce resources and a world of danger looming ahead. It’s taken a lot of resources, in terms of space, money, organizing, etc to get this so called ‘army’ moving and working.
- who are these folks fighting exactly? who read their blogs? how much outreach do they have outside their own circle to be able to “fight” anyone anyways? (of course, that’s because the report does not talk about the real activities of the cyber army which include crackdown on dissidents in the virtual world which is much more dangerous than hacking twitter)
- Yes, there were many doctored images floating around. But there also, hundreds and hundreds of REAL images of REAL terror unleashed on civilians.
- These young “soldiers”, in many ways, are not fighting an external enemy but innocent kids of their own generation. The very comparison with the Iran-Iraq war, while very powerful, is absolutely, completely wrong.
The second clip is Iranian academic Ramin Jahanbegloo on TVO. Personally, I’m a bit uncomfortable with the sticker “twitter generation” since a lot of my friends who are ardent activists, don’t even know what twitter is. When, according to reports like this, less than 0.027% of Iranians know about Twitter and most tweets came from sympathizers outside of Iran. That name partly stems from the early mainstream media crusades that began right after the election.
In fact, it’s incredibly intriguing to go back and look at how people spread the word when, a lot of the time, we couldn’t even rely on the internet at all.
However, I think Jahanbegloo only uses that term as a naming convention and I agree with his main point: that this generation has decided to bring change to their country in a radically new way, especially if you juxtapose that with the methods their fathers chose, in fighting the Shah, realizing a revolution and then fighting a bloody war that followed it all. We haven’t been willing to dream so big, that all reality ends up blinding us in the process. In retrospect, we haven’t done anything extraordinary either, we’ve only remembered the meaning of being Iranian: wait a while, be patient. This too shall pass – put your efforts in living life, instead of losing it.