Against the threat of violent crackdown by their repressive government, citizens in Iran are showing up to protest the regime, and in particular, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps tragic blunder in shooting down a civilian airliner.
Just so we’re clear here, there’s no such thing as “free speech” in Iran. Denouncing the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is considered a capital offense, punishable by death.
And they mean it. Iran is believed to execute the most citizens per capita of any nation. It’s important to understand how courageous these protestors are.
Videos posted on social media show demonstrators chanting “The supreme leader is a murderer; his regime is obsolete,” in Azadi Square in Tehran.
“Our enemy is right here,” others chanted, “They lie to us that it’s America.”
Across town at Shahid Beheshti University, officials had painted U.S. and Israeli flags on the sidewalk at the main entrance gate, encouraging pedestrians to trample them and show their disgust.
Instead, videos show protestors carefully avoiding walking on the flags and loudly deriding anyone who did.
Watch how Iranian students refuse to step on American & the flag of Israel.— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) January 12, 2020
This should embarrassed Iranian regime & their propaganda funeral for #Soleimani where people were told to chant “Death To America”.
Now people in Iran chanting “Death to Islamic Republic dictatorship.” pic.twitter.com/hTxDuxZeaB
Here’s a longer video:
And despite the images Iran released of mourners beside themselves with grief after the U.S. droned Gen. Qassem Soleimani into smithereens, it would seem some Iranian citizens believed — as did President Trump — that the guy fully deserved it.
More videos show protestors ripping down and burning up posters of Soleimani.
— Saghar Erica Kasraie (@SagharKasraie) January 12, 2020
However, Iranians’ disgust with their regime isn’t new.
In the months before Soleimani’s death, protests raged over a fuel price hike amid dangerously punitive US sanctions (oh, maybe they do work).
The UK Independent says, “the protests grew into a major revolt against corruption, poverty and the regime’s incorrigible nature.”
“The government’s brutal attempts at repression are believed to have taken the lives of between 300 and 1,500 people, but an internet shutdown obscured much about the protests, including their death toll.”
However we wish to complain about the effects of social media on our culture and politics, it has undeniable power to affect change. We sometimes don’t know if we’re seeing the truth, or manufactured truth.
Remember when ABC was caught in a massive hoax about “battle footage” from Syria? As we reported here, the clip it aired of Turkey supposedly shelling Kurdish troops actually came from a 2017 show at a Kentucky gun range.
Nonetheless, it’s undeniable Iranians are protesting loudly against their brutal government, and courageously refusing to insult the U.S. or Israel – at least for now.