Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Praying for Peace, Hope & Justice in Iran

I've been following what's been going on in Iran via first-person accounts on Twitter (@Change_for_Iran, @TehranBureau, @Mousavi1388, @StopAhmadi, @LaraABCNews, @persiankiwi, @iran09, @madyar, @hadinili). They have been tweeting photos and video as well from YouTube (WARNING: lots of graphic content). What's going on over there is massively effed up. The people of Iran are trying to peacefully protest the recent election and they are getting attacked.

The two front-runners in the Iranian presidental election on June 12th were incumbent Ahmadinejad and Mousavi of the Independent Reformist party. There is much speculation that the election was a fraud. Mousavi and his supporters are calling for the election to be annuled and a new election held immediately. Mousavi has been communicating with supporters through his Twitter account and Facebook page.

There's a photo circulating that shows three TV screen shots. In each screenshot, it shows the time and the number of votes for each candidate. As time progresses, Ahmadinejad's votes keep increasing while Mousavi's votes decrease, which of course, is not possible. The Iranian government has admitted that in 50 cities there were more votes cast than there were registered voters (it has been speculated that it happened in as many as 170 cities).

The Supreme Leader (has ultimate power over everything including the president) Ayatollah Khamenei has validated the election and told the people of Iran that protests would be considered acts of terrorism.

Mousavi's "Sea of Green" (he adopted green as his campaign color) have demonstrated peacefully. They have either been silent or have chanted "Down with the dictator," "Death to the dictator" and "Give us our votes back".

The Iranian government blocked text messaging, cell phone signals, Facebook & YouTube. They have blocked and hacked Twitter accounts, and are using the accounts to track protesters. Twitterers (Tweeters?) have had to use proxy sites to post their updates. The government has ordered all foreign journalists to remain in their hotels. Some have even been ordered out of the country. Protesters, policitians and journalists have been arrested. Some have just "disappeared."

Protester have encountered tear gas, fire hoses, helicopters dumping acid on the crowds, gun fire and brutal beatings. People have been brutally murdered, though it's tough to know how many since any official reports have to go through the Iranian government before they become public. There are 4 types of security - the police, Basij (men too old or young for the army), IRG (Iranian Revolutionary Guard) & the army. The police, Basij & IRG are in the streets of Iran with the protesters. Some are sypathetic, but many just take pleasure in assaulting the masses. It doesn't sound like the army has been brought in yet, but it appears that it's only a matter of time.

Mousavi has ordered a national strike - no one go to work, no stores open - as part of the protest. The demostrations in the street continue. The violence continues.

I'm very disturbed by what's happening in Iran. And thanks to Twitter, I'm keenly aware of what's going on up to the minute. One person I'm following (@Change_for_Iran) has not posted anything since June 20th. I'm afraid for his safety. His profile lists him as simply "Iranian student."

As a young American, this turmoil that is playing out right before my eyes Iran has made me so grateful for where I live and the trivial problems that I deal with every day. I can leave my house and take to the streets of Spokane without having to worry about my safety. I can post this blog with my name and location attached and not have have to worry that militia are going to seek me out and make me "disappear."

I'm praying for peace and justice for the Iranian people. I'm praying for an end to the violence. I'm praying for Iranian democracy. I'm asking God to give me the faith and hope that is evident in so many of the Iranian people.

I hope you are praying too.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Information about Referendum 71

Just got this email this morning from Equal Rights Washington/Washington Families Standing Together. Thought I would share. It gives information about the domestic partnership laws as it stands now and information about Referendum 71. It's signed by some of the key supporters of the pledge to decline to sign the Referendum 71 petition.

OK... that MAY be the end of my rant about this for now.