Above: animation by Noureddin Zarrinkelk for UNICEF. Here’s an earlier film by him. And a short item on his recent visit to Dartmouth College, New Hampshire.
On Iran and the Kitsch Left, this is my favourite of the posts I’ve read recently: The Eighteenth Brumaire of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by Dave Osler.
More on that theme by Bob From Brockley: Iran and the left, continued, and Iran, drawing clear lines. See also Norman Geras, Peter Ryley, Terry Glavin and Francis Sedgemore.
In contrast, UCU does something right, from Martin, and a declaration of support for the protesters signed by Noam Chomsky even, along with very many others. (Via Bob.)
Another recent item that stood out was by former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky, on the prescience of protest. (Via Norm.) An excerpt:
People in free societies watching massive military parades or vociferous displays of love for the leaders of totalitarian regimes often conclude, "Well, that's their mentality; there's nothing we can do about it." Thus they and their leaders miss what is readily grasped by local dissidents attuned to what is happening on the ground: the spectacle of a nation of double-thinkers slowly or rapidly approaching a condition of open dissent.
To see the telltale signs, sometimes it helps to have experienced totalitarianism firsthand. More than once in recent years, former Soviet citizens returning from a visit to Iran have told me how much Iranian society reminded them of the final stages of Soviet communism. Their testimony was what persuaded me to write almost five years ago that Iran was extraordinary for the speed with which, in the span of a single generation, a citizenry had made the transition from true belief in the revolutionary promise into disaffection and double-thinking. Could dissent be far behind?
A lot has been written on the leading role of women in the protests, see for example links provided by Norm and Martin. See also Roger Cohen in The New York Times: Iran’s second sex. The closing paragraph:
I asked one woman about her fears. She said sometimes she imagines an earthquake in Tehran. She dashes out but forgets her hijab. She stands in the ruins, hair loose and paralyzed, awaiting her punishment. And she looked at me wide-eyed as if to say: do you understand, does the world understand our desperation?
And here’s Roger Cohen answering questions on his reporting from Iran, including criticism of his writings prior to the stealing of the election. For myself I find that criticism overdone.
Background: from The New Yorker, February 2nd 2009, The Rationalist by Laura Secor, on a dissident economist’s attempts to reform the Iranian revolution.
See also her most recent New Yorker news blog contribution, Burning silence in Iran, on how events are being driven not by the splits at the top, but by momentum from below.