“The Country Belongs to You… Protesting Lies and Fraud is Your Right.” -Mir Hossein Mousavi
June 23, 2009 § 2 Comments
For my friends who may not be following the news (and also for those who do):
Something is happening in Iran.
On June 12th, the Iranian government held elections between the hard-line incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and moderate reformist opponent Mir Hossein Mousavi. Hundreds of thousands of Iranian citizens cast their votes by hand on paper ballots, and within a few mere hours after polls closed, election officials announced that the tremendous volume of ballots had been hand counted and the results were in: current regime leader Ahmadinejad won by a landslide. In some regions the "counted" numbers reflect him securing close to 200% of the population’s vote.
The people of Iran cried election fraud and have since taken to the streets in massive protest. They claim their votes were never counted and the voice they were promised by their government was gagged by a rigged election. News sources report that within at least 50 cities, the reported number of votes significantly outweighs the actual population. Uncountable numbers of passionate citizens have overtaken the streets of Tehran clad in green; first in violent riots and now marching in mostly silent, peaceful protest.
Their government is again attempting to silence their voices. The Ayatollah, Iran’s religious and Supreme Leader, has condemned the protests as acts of rebellion and sanctioned the Basiji – Iran’s militia/secret police force – to use violence against the unarmed protesters who now stand in peaceful opposition. This militia has ransacked dorm rooms, broken into homes sheltering protesters, and tracked supporters to brutalize and arrest them later. They have gunned down civilians and opened fire on peaceful demonstrations. The government banned international media from covering the condemned protests in Tehran and also shut down most electronic communications.
Still, the Iranians continue to bravely stand up for their rights to a fair election, fair representation, and a freer government. Mousavi and his supporters are calling for a nullification of the June 12th election and an outside investigation of the election fraud. The U.S. House of Representatives recently approved a resolution against the human rights violations of the Iranian government. President Obama issued a statement against the injustice on Saturday:
"The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that was lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights…
"…Martin Luther King, Jr. once said – ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’ I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian people’s belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness." (Read the whole thing here.)
As upholders of freedom, peace, and justice, let us stand in solidarity with the protesters in Iran. Let us give volume to their voices. Write to your state representatives asking them to support definitive action against the Iranian government’s human rights violations. Contact the UN and pressure them to investigate the fraudulent election. Share the stories of the Iranian freedom fighters risking their lives for justice. We will not let their voices go silent.
A visual explanation of the Iranian government system
Iran’s government explained in graphs and words
Election and post-election turmoil coverage in The Boston Globe’s "The Big Picture"
Comprehensive collection of news articles, blogs, photostreams, and Twitter feeds