Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Will They Even Strike the King?

Has the protest movement in Iran expanded beyond the well-off elites to reach a tipping point to smash the mullah regime?

Maybe. But the efforts at some point have to pass beyond resisting government oppression and terror and move into attacking the regime itself to bring it down. It is folly to believe that Twittering the revolution is enough:

For Twitter enthusiasts, this has been a bumper year. With a new online tool at their chubby fingertips, they've helped to change the world. Or at least, that's what they think: the so-called Iranian Twitter Revolution recently won a Webby award for being "one of the top 10 internet moments of the decade".

Let me tell you why I find that deeply troubling. There has been no revolution in Iran. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has held on to power after a rigged election. Meanwhile, protests continue to be violently suppressed by government forces and unregulated militias, with human rights groups saying that at least 400 demonstrators have been killed since June. Dozens of those arrested remain unaccounted for, and many of those set free tell of rape and vicious beatings in Iran's most notorious prisons.

If the protesters don't win, the regime can eventually take the time to find these online resisters and round them up. It won't be as fast as rounding up those found on the streets, but the online dissidents will be found.

As I wrote a while back, if you Twitter a king, kill him. Your Webby won't count for jack, otherwise, in this fight to the death.