A popular election is a reflection of pure mathematics, cold and quantitative. One plus one plus one plus one is greater than one plus one plus one, and within that simple algebra will you decide the next few years of your march forward through time.
Iran has gone beyond mathematics. The numbers have been exposed as teacup tyrants, chicken scratches in sand to which we one day assigned value and to which we handed over control for the sake of order. Iran is throwing its body against the bars until they start to bend, Iran is a beast of fire and fury. Iran never really wanted a popular election; it had merely convinced itself that this was the most proper manner in which to attain the outcome it most desired. As it became clear that the proper manner had failed, Iran saw no other alternative but to demand the change it needs.
And my God. My God, Iran. So noted.
Earlier this week America's major news outlets found themselves deserving objects of ridicule as they aired fluff stories while a major Middle Eastern country tore itself in two. In the silence of mainstream media failure, the vacuum was filled by individual Iranians taking to the Internet, finding channel after channel to release reports of the chaos on the ground.
The state shut down the blogs. It shut down the alternative media. So the protesters found Twitter. For days you could read brief gasps of horror and courage at the trending topic #Iranelection.
An hour or so ago the state managed to shut down #Iranelection. Immediately, the world was instructed to switch their focus to #Iran9, #Tehran, and #Iranians. When the state shuts these down you can be certain more will spring up, like heads of hydra, to continue issuing forth the signal. Under duress from its own users, Twitter rescheduled a maintenance hour, understanding that history didn't have downtime.
The situation is ugly but the struggle is, in its grim way, beautiful.
Communication is beautiful. People speaking to each other is beautiful, people listening to each other is beautiful. People slipping their voices free of what used to be an airtight iron-fisted grip is beautiful. The understanding that not even one generation ago this sort of ability to effectively counter an oppressive state-run media machine was unthinkable, that understanding is beautiful.
Remember this boy from twenty years ago in China:
And imagine him attempting to hold back the tank with more than the power of his will. Imagine him wrestling the tank to a stalemate. Imagine him pushing the tank back along the road, and you understand the power now available to anybody willing to use it.
A news report from earlier today referred to the protesters staging a "rally" in Tehran, and then added that the rally was 1-2 million people strong.
That is no mere rally. That is a pronouncement.
Your voice will be heard. There are fewer and fewer means to stop it being heard.