Post-Iran election afterglow: Protests, crackdowns
A few years ago, voters in Iran drummed up a popular victory in favor of the reactionary Ahmadinejad, who was said to have participated in the Iran Hostage Crisis of 1980. The Western media, for the most part, expected nothing less from what they deemed was a radically anti-Western country too controlled by the government to ponder democracy. Iran’s people may be critical of the West and its policies, but it certainly was not in a mood of conservatism by the time of the recent elections.
Another victory was declared for Ahmadinejad, and outside the country many did not expect any better; but the supporters of his rival Mousavi took to the streets, and to Twitter when the SMS began to fail in the region. The police took to mobile warfare, using motorbikes to deploy themselves quickly in hotspots.
But the circumstances were eerily familiar:
Anomalies (Unexplained SMS shutdown) at the time when the votes were being counted, and the resistance turned to Twitter, where the Tibetans of a few years ago turned to Youtube and the web to post the crackdowns of China,
Religious leaders calling on sobriety and calm, where much of the country is getting geared for a showdown,
Popular opposition leader decrying massive election fraud;
General antipathy from the major media outlets as CNN, until the very last moment, and criticisms heaped at them online;
The mob fighting back, and driving off police for the better part;
Resignations from populist figures;
There’s no Garcillano in Iran yet; I don’t think they’d need to. Tehran is in a ferment similar as to when we were itching for popular rising in 2005-2006. And their CBCP is calling on the mob to calm down. That’s possibly why the government may be keeping an eye on this one: how Ahmadinejad handles the crackdown could provide our administration a blueprint on elections (or lack of it) in 2010. And Ahmadinejad has the edge: there’s been a growing trend of successful government crackdowns against popular rebellions (those non-military sponsored): the Saffron Rebellion in Myanmar, the Tibet risings in China, our own EDSA Tres and Magdalo rebellions; Tehran may be taking a page from these crackdowns themselves,
Though there wouldn’t be crackdowns all over the world if not for the growing trend of populist unrest; there has been a continuing see-saw between governments on one hand and mobs on the other. In all these situations, so long as they have firm grip on the larger military element, strong censorship or at least media support, the government almost always has the upper hand.