Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

The Eyes that Won't Go Away – Open Thread – x3 Update

You can’t forget the eyes.

For all the horror of the blood, and consternation and panic in the crowd at the gruesome murder of this young woman, what draws us are those beautiful big eyes, dimmed and then extinguished, forever.

As Obama said today, to Khamenei’s regime, to all those protestors on the streets of so many Iranian cities

The World is Watching

Today, June 20th 2009, on the streets of Shiraz, women in chadours, old and young, were beaten with batons by riot police.

In a Tehran main street at about the same time, a man with his hands covered in someone else’s blood yelled “Death to the dictator”. Another man, on a different street, also raked by gunfire, yelled “they are killing our sisters and brothers”.

Our eyes can’t turn away

Tonight in Iran, after this terrible momentous day, when one of the leaders of a popular revolution, defied his own legitimacy by shooting at his own people on the streets, the people are hiding on the rooftops and changing:

“Death to the dictator”

The world is watching, in awe and amazement, with pity and terror, with hope and horror, but let it be known to all those risking their lives…

Our eyes won’t turn away.

UPDATE Roger Cohen, one of my favourite journalists (because of his bravery and honest in Bosnia – along with David Rohde who mercifully escaped from the Taliban today) has defied the Government bans and been out on the streets of Tehran. He just filed this amazing account of the role of women in this revolution.

I don’t know where this uprising is leading. I do know some police units are wavering. That commander talking about his family was not alone. There were other policemen complaining about the unruly Basij. Some security forcesjust stood and watched. “All together, all together, don’t be scared,” the crowd shouted.

I also know that Iran’s women stand in the vanguard. For days now, I’ve seen them urging less courageous men on. I’ve seen them get beaten and return to the fray. “Why are you sitting there?” one shouted at a couple of men perched on the sidewalk on Saturday. “Get up! Get up!”

Another green-eyed woman, Mahin, aged 52, staggered into an alley clutching her face and in tears. Then, against the urging of those around her, she limped back into the crowd moving west toward Freedom Square. Cries of “Death to the dictator!” and “We want liberty!” accompanied her.

There were people of all ages. I saw an old man on crutches, middle-aged office workers and bands of teenagers. Unlike the student revolts of 2003 and 1999, this movement is broad.

“Can’t the United Nations help us?” one woman asked me. I said I doubted that very much. “So,” she said, “we are on our own.”

The world is watching, and technology is connecting, and the West is sending what signals it can, but in the end that is true. Iranians have fought this lonely fight for a long time: to be free, to have a measure of democracy.

[UPDATE 2 – CB – Warning, the video is worse than the still]

[UPDATE 3 by BRIT: there is now an #neda twitter source, and a Facebook page]


  1. HappyinVT

    cannot be overstated IMHO.  Andrew Sullivan has a post written by a reader that includes this:

    If the Warsaw Ghetto uprising had been broadcast to the entire world, Hitler’s demise most surely would have come several years sooner.

    andrew sullivan

    Imagine if the video that that picture Brit posted comes from hadn’t been made by a citizen.  Or, even if it had been made that the MSM would not have broadcast it because of its graphic nature.  Imagine all the information we would not have.  Imagine how much more difficult it would be for Iranians to communicate with one another or their loved ones.

    Having said that, damn you, Brit, for putting that picture front and center.

  2. If so, it bears repeating.

    President Obama’s statement

    The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is 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.

    As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.

    Martin Luther King 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 peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.

  3. HappyinVT

    thing should be posted).

    “In the name of God, the kind and the merciful

    Indeed god demands you to safe keep what people entrust in you, and to rule them with justice. [this a verse of Koran]

    Respectable and intelligent people of Iran, These nights and days, a pivotal moment in our history is taking place. People ask each other: “what should we do?, which way should we go?”. It is my duty to share with you what I believe, and to learn from you, may we never forget our historical task and not give up on the duty we are given by the destiny of times and generations.

    30 years ago, in this country a revolution became victorious in the name of Islam, a revolution for  freedom, a revolution for reviving the dignity of men, a revolution for truth and justice. In those times, especially when our enlightened Imam [Khomeini] was alive, large amount of lives and matters were invested to legitimize this foundation and many valuable achievements were attained. An unprecedented enlightenment captured our society, and our people reached a new life where they endured the hardest of hardships with a sweet taste. What this people gained was dignity and freedom and a gift of the life of the pure ones [i.e. 12 Imams of Shiites]. I am certain that those who have seen those days will not be satisfied with anything less. Had we as a people lost certain talents that we were unable to experience that early spirituality? I had come to say that that was not the case. It is not late yet, we are not far from that enlightened space yet.

    I had come to show that it was possible to live spiritually while living in a modern world. I had come to repeat Imam’s warnings about fundamentalism. I had come to say that evading the law leads to dictatorship; and to remind that paying attention to people’s dignity does not diminish the foundations of the regime, but strengthens it.

    I had come to say that people wish honesty and integrity from their servants, and that many of our perils have arisen from lies. I had come to say that poverty and backwardness, corruption and injustice were not our destiny. I had come to re-invite to the Islamic revolution, as it had to be, and Islamic republic as it has to be. In this invitation, I was not charismatic [articulate], but the core message of revolution was so appealing that it surpassed my articulation and excited the young generation who had not seen those days to recreate scenes which we had not seen since the days of revolution[1979] and the sacred defense. The people’s movement chose green as its symbol. I confess that in this, I followed them.

    And a generation that was accused of being removed from religion, has now reached “God is Great”, “Victory’s of God and victory’s near”, “Ya hossein” in their chants to prove that when this tree fruits, they all resemble. No one taught hem these slogans, they reached them by the teachings of instinct.

    How unfair are those whose petty advantages make them call this a “velvet revolution” staged by foreigners! [refering to state TV and Khameneni, perhaps!] But as you know, all of us were faced with deception and cheatings when we claimed to revitalize our nation and realize dreams that root in the hearts of young and old. And that which we had predicted will stem from evading law [dictatorship], realized soon in the worst manifestation.

    The large voter turnout in recent election was the result of hard work to create hope and confidence in people, to create a deserving response to those whose broad dissatisfaction with the existing management crisis could have targeted the foundations of the regime. If this good will and trust of the poeple is not addressed via protecting their votes, or if they cannot react in a civil manner to claim their rights, the responsibility of the dangerous routs ahead will be on the shoulders of those who do not tolerate civil protests. If the large volume of cheating and vote rigging, which has set fire to the hays of people’s anger, is expressed as the evidence of fairness, the republican nature of the state will be killed and in practice, the ideology that Islam and Republicanism are incompatible will be proven.

    This outcome will make two groups happy: One, those who since the beginning of revolution stood against Imam and called the Islamic state a dictatorship of the elite who want to take people to heaven by force; and the other, those who in defending the human rights, consider religion and Islam against republicanism. Imam’s fantastic art was to neutralize these dichotomies. I had come to focus on Imam’s approach to neutralize the burgeoning magic of these. Now, by confirming the results of election, by limiting the extent of investigation in a manner that the outcome will not be changed, even though in more than 170 branches the number of cast votes was more than 100% of eligible voters of the riding, the heads of the state have accepted the responsibility of what has happened during the election.

    In these conditions, we are asked to follow our complaints via the Guardian council, while this council has proven its bias, not only before and during, but also after the election. The first principle of judgment is to be impartial. I, continue to strongly believe that the request for annulling the vote and repeating the election is a definite right that has to be considered by impartial and nationally trusted delegation. Not to dismiss the results of this investigation a priori, or to prevent people from demonstration by threatening them to bloodshed. Nor to unleash the Intelligence ministry’s plain clothes forces on people’s lives to disperse crowds by intimidation and inflammation, instead of responding to people’s legitimate questions, and then blaming the bloodshed on others.

    As I am looking at the scene, I see it set for advancing a new political agenda that spreads beyond the objective of installing an unwanted government. As a companion who has seen the beauties of your green wave, I will never allow any one’s life endangered because of my actions. At the same time, I remain undeterred on my demand for annulling the election and demanding people’s rights. Despite my limited abilities, I believe that your motivation and creativity can pursue your legitimate demands in new civil manners.

    Be sure that I will always stand with you. What this brother of yours recommends, especially to the dear youth, in terms of finding new solutions is to not allow liars and cheater steal your flag of defense of Islamic state, and foreigners rip the treasures of the Islamic republic which are your inheritance of the blood of your decent fathers. By trust in God, and hope for the future, and leaning on the strength of social movements, claim your rights in the frameworks of the existing constitution, based on principle of non-violence.

    In this, we are not confronting the Basij. Basiji is our brother. In this we are not confronting the revolutionary guard. The guard is the keeper of our revolution. We are not confronting the army, the army is the keeper of our borders. These organs are the keepers of our independence, freedom and our Islamic republic. We are confronting deception and lies, we want to reform them, a reform by return to the pure principles of revolution.

    We advise the authorities, to calm down the streets. Based on article 27 of the constitution, not only provide space for peaceful protest, but also encourage such gatherings. The state TV should stop badmouthing and taking sides. Before voices turn into shouting, let them be heard in reasonable debates. Let the press criticize, and write the news as they happen. In one word, create a free space for people to express their agreements and disagreements. Let those who want, say “takbeer” and don’t consider it opposition. It is clear that in this case, there won’t be a need for security forces on the streets, and we won’t have to face pictures and hear news that break the heart of anyone who loves the country and the revolution.

    Your brother and companion Mir Hossein Mousavi

  4. HappyinVT

    …President Obama [has] to worry about lots of other things beyond what’s happening right now for these people. But as the situation unfolds, [he’ll] have the freedom to increase [his] rhetoric to match the situation. It’s so much better to give yourself the freedom to do that than to make some great statements about freedom and excitement and then not be able to back it up with acts, cuz that just makes it seem hypocritical and these people will get crushed. Where were we then with acts? Eisenhower deplored the Hungarian revolution – the reaction against it when they were up in arms in ’56 – but he couldn’t do anything when the Soviet’s crushed that revolution.

    Daily Kos commenter did not provide a link to the original statement from Doris so I’ll have to trust it’s accuracy.

  5. fogiv

    Basij will attack homes tonight, keep lights off, hide in a place where you can escape the home – #IranElection

    RT Basij will attack marked homes tonight; Wash markings off of door w/ oil/gasoline! Lights off! Board windows/door! RT

    Hopefully not true.

  6. One of my InfoSec colleagues is missing…

    There were also unconfirmed reports that Mohammad Asgari, who was responsible for the security of the IT network in Iran’s interior ministry, was killed yesterday in a suspicious car accident in Tehran. Asgari had reportedly leaked evidence that the elections were rigged to alter the votes from the provinces. Asgari was said to have leaked information that showed Mousavi had won almost 19m votes, and should therefore be president.

  7. fogiv

    …multiple tweets indicate that the murdered woman pictured in the diary was named Neda.  Neda, in Persian, means “Divine Voice”.

  8. creamer


    Intersting take, writer descibes Mousavi as a reformer reaching back to prove the legitimacy of a n Islamic Republic, apparently without the need to demonize the U.S./West.

    While I suspect that it will be decades before the Iranian’s trust us, having a government that doesn’t want to take on the world leaves the mind reeling with the possibilities.

  9. -Tanks moving into Tehran. More tweets coming in confirming the tanks. We don’t know if its IRG, Army, or Basij using them. PK, CfI and knv have said that they do not know of any armored units moving into the city. PK believes its a hoax sent out by the government. Those that claimed to have seen it are RTs or 5+ hours old

    -Basij waiting outside embassies for wounded. Sparse reports of it, not considered confirmed yet

    -Whether or not Hizbollah from outside Iran has come to the government’s aid. We have reason to believe Iranian Hizbollah (Anser) is being used. No confirmation on Lebanese Hizbollah or Hamas, rumors abound though of arabic speaking police, sparking this.

    -What is occuring in other cities around Iran, such as Rasht

    -Whether earlier reports of a section of Tehran (Eastern, I believe) was secured by protesters. They could very well have secured it at one point, but it could’ve been lost, not that light has fallen

    -Acid from helicopters still thought to be tear gas/CS gas plus water. Symptoms seem to be consistent with those.

    -Khemeini reported to have been taken to a military base for safety

    -The status of the military and whether the Army and IRG are going to come out against the government. The IRG is the new police force, but it is rumored that they refuse to fire on civilians. One of the Grand Ayatollahs, who is against the SA, claims to have the backing of the army. more confirmations are needed

    -Whether the report from the Assembly of Experts was a hoax or not regarding their support of the Supreme Ayatollah. If so, what is the statement from them

    -Mullahs marching with protesters in Mashdad

  10. RT Iran reports severe skin burns due to the unknown liquid dropped from helicopters. #iranElection

    4 minutes ago from TweetDeck

    RT @huffingtonpost: Rights group: Injured demonstrators being arrested at hospitals #iranelection

    12 minutes ago from TweetDeck

    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.” -Gandhi #Iranelection

    KhameneiKilla Iranian Security Forces: You Fail at Trolling. I can spot you ten tweets away. #Iranelection #Iran #Tehran #gr88

    i can’t seem to find the one that shocked me most it was something like if the basaji mark your door clean it off immediately – omg.

  11. not sure if this has been posted.

    RT: Twitter profiles being used for arrest; all users can help: change your Twitter location to Tehran and time to GMT+3:30 #Iranelection

  12. with what looks like a stab wound in the back. There are reports of a pregnant woman being killed. This picture is supposed to be of the infant after doctors tried to save her. I will not post it here. I would also suggest that anyone who comes across a reference to it should avoid looking at it unless you have a very strong stomach. Some idiot posted this comment below the picture.

    “This is the last straw. The world needs to militarily intervene and remove the Ayatollah and Ahmadinejad.  This is no better than the Holocaust.”

    I can understand the outrage, but military interference would be a huge mistake.

  13. here:

    Unnamed Source: Khameneie You called yourself,the father of all orphans of Iran-Iraq war,but here you made a father witness the martyrdom of his daughter,in minutes,in his arms.You took away a mans,but Iran’s daughter.He didnt believe it at first,saying:Neda,dont be afraid,dont be afraid..then when blood covered her face,he came to and cried:Neda,stay..Neda,stay….The doctor who was there was helpless as the shot was in the chest.My dear Neda,you are now loved by all more than ever,my tears are nonstop for you,but you died for Iran to be free and Im proud of you,may you rest in peace in heaven.And you Khameneie,you will certainly pay for this and definitely go to hell!

  14. HappyinVT

    that important; from Nico

    More on the Assembly of Experts statement. Earlier today, the Tehran Times posted an article claiming that the powerful clerical group, the Assembly of Experts, had on Saturday “expressed its ‘strong support’ for the Supreme Leader’s statements on the presidential elections on Friday.” It would have been a major blow to reformists’ efforts to win the support of many senior clerics.

    But as it turns out, it’s not true. Reader Ali writes in:

    I just wanted to point out that the letter of support written by assembly of experts in support of Khamenei’s sermon is only signed by the deputy leader of the assembly, who is a former head of the judiciary and a staunch supporter of ahmadinejad, as well as a rival of Rafsanjani for the assembly’s leadership election. He is the only one signing the letter and the government sponsored news media are reporting it as a letter from the full assembly.

    And reader Majid provides more details:

    Once again thanks for the great job in reporting the events. Just a comment about your 7:33pm item about the Assembly of Experts. The statement is not by the Assembly of Experts, but by Mohammad Yazdi, the head of the “Dabirkhane” of the Assembly of Experts. His statement doesn’t carry much weight and definitely not a blow to the freedom movement. After all, there are certainly many Khamene’i loyalists in the Assembly of Experts and such comments could be expected from these cowards.

  15. HappyinVT

    “Sister, have a short sleep, your last dream be sweet.” Yesterday we printed a touching letter from an Iranian woman that began with these ominous lines: “I will participate in the demonstrations tomorrow. Maybe they will turn violent. Maybe I will be one of the people who is going to get killed…”

    Tonight, she posted a second letter, passed along and translated by two readers. She writes about her “sister” in this cause who was killed today, referring to Neda.

    Yesterday I wrote a note, with the subject line “tomorrow is a great day perhaps tomorrow I’ll be killed.” I’m here to let you know I’m alive but my sister was killed…

    I’m here to tell you my sister died while in her father’s hands

    I’m here to tell you my sister had big dreams…

    I’m here to tell you my sister who died was a decent person… and like me yearned for a day when her hair would be swept by the wind… and like me read “Forough” [Forough Farrokhzad]… and longed to live free and equal… and she longed to hold her head up and announce, “I’m Iranian”… and she longed to one day fall in love to a man with a shaggy hair… and she longed for a daughter to braid her hair and sing lullaby by her crib…

    my sister died from not having life… my sister died as injustice has no end… my sister died since she loved life too much… and my sister died since she lovingly cared for people…

    my loving sister, I wish you had closed your eyes when your time had come… the very end of your last glance burns my soul….

    sister have a short sleep. your last dream be sweet.

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