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The Internet is Revolutionizing Revolution

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The Internet is Revolutionizing Revolution.

by Justina

Sun Jun 21, 2009 at 10:19:42 AM PDT

Iran, the BBC's Tehran correspondent gave 24 hours to leave the country. http://bit.ly/... #iranelection #gr88 #Mousavi #tehran #iran

While the professional journalists in Iran have been locked down in their hotels, prohibited from taking photographs or interviewing Iranians, ordered out of the country and even arrested, a new breed of citizen journalists have taken their places, successfully sending news, photographs and videos of Iranian events to the outside world. The camera phone has replaced the Uzzi as a guerilla weapon.

Yesterday, we watched as a beautiful 16 year old girl named Neda was murdered on the streets of Tehran. She was killed by a government funded and dispatched sharp-shooter as she stood with her father watching a crowd of political demonstrators confront her government's election illegalities.

Neda's shocking death was captured on a camera phone from a few steps away by the non-journalist friend of the doctor who we saw trying desperately to stop the blood flowing from her wounds.

Within an hour of her death, that video circled the globe via the Twitter.com Internet site, exposing in blood red clarity, the repressive actions of a lawless government. The truth behind Iran's questioned presidential vote was thus revealed, world-wide. Would a government which loosed its paramilitary civilian thugs, the Basji, to shoot down innocent citizens be capable of committing electoral fraud in a presidential election? The answer was clear: of course it would be.

With that devastating video, the doctor's friend joined the legion of citizen journalists who are rapidly replacing the traditional professional media thanks to two of the 20th century most significant inventions -- the mobile camera phone and the Internet.

The Internet as Guerilla Weapon

Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are changing the way our world changes. And, in this case, "our world" does not refer only to our individual neighborhood, town, city or state, but the entire planet.

The Iranian rebellion, as Twittered, represents a new stage in human history. The individual citizen journalists at the barracades are using the Internet and electronic messaging to both tell the whole world about their struggle and to actually carry it out.

The Iranians are using the Internet's instanteous electronic connections to plan and carry out their marches and to provide for their security against the fascist thugs they fight, telling each other such important facts as where and when to gather, giving the locations of the government's counter-forces, and even providing the addresses of the foreign embassies which openned their doors to treat the wounded.

Internet Protects the Rebellion

At the same time, the Internet provided the protesters with much needed medical information from experts around the world, instructions on how to combat the effects of tear gas and other airborne poisons.

To assist the rebels in getting their stores out, computer geeks from other countries set up proxy servers to help Iranians avoid government blocking and provided instructions to international supporters to obstruct Iranian government efforts to trace individual Iranian messagers by altering their home locations to that of Tehran. Thus, the whole world could join the rebellion by becoming virtual Iranians.

Spreading Visions of Human Courage and Hope

More importantly, the Iranian protesters are using the Internet to visually show the world that it is possible to fight for freedom against seemingly insurmountable odds, showing the world what human courage is, and providing the inspiration for other freedom struggles throughout the world.

Demonstrative Lessons for U.S. Struggles for Health Care.

I only hope that the nearly 50 million Americans who don't have access to basic health care are watching and learning from the Iranians. Just as the right to have your vote counted is a basic political right, so the right to decent health care is a basic human right, but we may have to fight to make that basic human right a reality.

In the face of the intransigent reactionary forces that are paying big campaign contributions to politicians to deprive us of the right to decent health care, it may be necessary to take the streets and the internet like the Iranians to secure that right.

Thank you, Iranian freedom fighters, for your courage and your example. You are fighting not only for yourselves, but for everyone in our now digitally-connected world. And thank you to all the computer specialists who are revolutionizing the world-wide struggle for human rights.

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