Where is my vote?: The Iranian Green Movement, Neda, and Social Media

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On June 13, 2009, huge demonstrations erupted on the streets of Tehran, resulting in the biggest unrest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.  The cause was very clear: injustice resulting from the 2009  Iranian presidential elections declaring incumbent Ahmadinejad victorious by a two-thirds majority.  There were accounts of widespread rigging at poll offices by government Basijis or militia.  Mobile video footage of these incidents substantiate such suspicions.

By June 15, the demonstrations grew from a few hundred people to hundreds of thousands spurred by a rally organized by Mir-Hossain Mousavi in his first public appearance after the election.  It was widely assumed by the protestors that Mousavi, a Reformist, had been robbed of the presidency.  Many of the Iranian protestors consisted of the disillusioned youth, who in turn account for the majority of the Iranian population.  The protestors were not necessarily supporters of Mousavi, but rather opposed the rule of Ahmadinejad and the Ultra-Conservative.  They had viewed the election as a sham and a complete betrayal of their natural right to vote.

Fearing further escalation, the government acted quickly to crush the demonstrations by arresting, brutally beating, and killing peaceful protestors.  Those suspected of laying the foundations of the protests were also arrested.  As foreign journalists were arrested and detained for fermenting opposition, social media such as Facebook and Twitter transmitted images of human rights violations across the world.  A green Facebook page gathered information about the innocent people killed, and collected videos of murder scenes during the revolts.  Ahmadinejad and the government denied everything as fabrications of the West and the Zionist regime.  Government officials and the Basijis moved into private residences and took away satellite dishes, censored the internet using various filters, and even monitored mobile phone conversations with the assistance of Nokia Siemens Networks.

On June 20, 2009, at around 6:30 p.m., Nedā Āghā-Soltān, an innocent 26 year old female student was shot in the chest while stopping on her way to participate in the protests.  Images of Neda’s brutal death were captured by amateur mobile video, and immediately made its way across the world through social media and the internet.  Neda became an instant martyr, and her bleeding image became the symbol of the Iranian Green Movement.  An outpouring of outrage, sorrow, and sympathy resulted throughout the world.  Placards were designed with the slogan “We are Neda!”  U2, Roger Waters, and many other artists paid tributes to Neda and the innocent killed during their concerts.  Neda’s image quickly became an international icon just like the student in front of the tank on Tiananmen Square.

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1 Comment

  1. “InQuilab Zindabad”- OR “Long Live the revolution” was the Slogan of Revolutionaries during the Indian freedom struggle but with ICT ,a revolution in this current world can easily shake governments and uproot evil autocrats.


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