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I know many of us are watching Iran since the weekend. It is an enormously touching and frightening story, with many online components - from DOS hacks on Iranian govt computers to the enormous role Twitter is playing in getting info out.

Please post links, reactions, etc.

And, if you're in town, Ill be at this demo tonight in Union Square.

New York Show of Solidarity with Iranian People
To show New York cares deeply about Iran

Wednesday, June 17, 2009
7:00pm - 9:00pm

Union Square
Southwest end of the park
1 Union Sq W
New York, NY

The NYPD has been extremely generous and will be cordoning off an area of the south side of Union Square. They usually don't do this without advance notice so we must truly thank them for this. However, NO AMPLIFICATION of any kind will be allowed. No instruments, bullhorns, speakers, etc. They will be confiscated on sight so do not bring them. Candles will be decided by Dep't of Park & Rec, but those may not be allowed either. Bring YOURSELF, your posters, and your support.
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I've been following since the weekend on Twitter, and it is amazing how involved you can feel when the updates are pouring in.

I've been following this account:

Persian Kiwi

On Monday about 9am they had about 2300 people following the feed. There are now close to 27000.

What I am finding mind blowing is all the tactical stuff. People all over the world setting up proxy servers, changing their timezones to match Iran, so the government doesn't know who is inside, and who is outside, posting links to make gas masks out of common materials etc.

Now the really interesting thing about this is that so many "liberals" here are supporting the uprising, but they pointed out on the Rachel Maddow show that techically Mousavi ran a conservative platform also. He and his wife (some say a bigger factor)appealed so much to the women and the youth that it's being viewed by us as a liberal uprising...

I think conservative/libral politics aside the main thing that Americas are reacting to is that their voice was stolen.

Now this has me more than a bit reflective... Why didn't we care this much when our own voices were stolen in 2000? If we had gotten as riled up then as we are with the Iranian situation now, and protested as they are, could we have prevented the last 8 years?

For a fascinating look back at how pirate technology fed another revolution twenty years ago in Prague, this wonderful article by Bruce Sterling in Wired circa 1995..


On the subject of modems and phone lines, Martin and his '89er friends still talk about "the Japanese guy." Back in '89, Czech students were trying to coordinate the uprising across the nation, and the technical students, including Martin, were running the telecom angle. They used a 300-baud device with the size, shape, and heat of a kitchen toaster. The Czech secret police were far too stupid and primitive to keep up with digital telecommunications, so the student-radical modem network was relatively secure from bugging and taps. Fidonet BBSes were springing up surreptitiously on campuses whenever an activist could sneak a modem past the border guards. Modems were, of course, illegal. Most of the Czech cops, however, had no idea what modems were.

The police were engaged in the hopeless task of beating the population into submission with billy clubs, without the backup of Soviet heavy armor. Martin's independent student movement was smarting from street-beatings and sensed that '89 was '68 upside down. They had a list of seven demands. They were pretty radical demands: three of them were never met. Everyone knew the situation was about to blow. But getting the word out was very difficult.

And then, without any warning or fanfare, some quiet Japanese guy arrived at the university with a valise full of brand-new and unmarked 2400-baud Taiwanese modems. The astounded Czech physics and engineering students never did quite get this gentleman's name. He just deposited the modems with them free of charge, smiled cryptically, and walked off diagonally into the winter smog of Prague, presumably in the direction of the covert-operations wing of the Japanese embassy. They never saw him again.

There doesn't seem to be much doubt that this Japanese guy existed. I've talked to four different sources who claim to have seen him in the flesh. The students immediately used these red-hot 2400-baud scorcher modems to circulate manifestos, declarations of solidarity, rumors, and riot news. Unrest grew steadily. By late November, Václav Havel and the older-generation dissident intelligentsia were playing a big role in the demonstrations. Then the general populace took to the streets, and without Red Army backing, the puppet regime collapsed like a rotten marshmallow. By mid-December, the Civic Forum was in power.
Heartbreaking stuff, this post was translated from Farsi and posted on "The Field"..


Tomorrow is a big day, perhaps I will get killed!

Tomorrow I will participate in demonstrations. Perhaps the protests will meet with violence. Perhaps I am one of those who is supposed to be killed. I am listening again to all the beautiful songs I have heard in my life. I even want to play some LA songs and dance. I always wanted to thin my eyebrows as much as I can. Tomorrow before I go to the hairdresser I will see some super films at Hamoon. I have to take a look at my library. Forugh and Shamloo are worth reading again. I will sit and look at my family album. My friends, I should call them and say goodbye. I have only two bookcases in the world which I asked my family whom they should give the books to. I have two more units left to get my bachelors but to hell with a degree. My mind is seriously distraught. I wrote these thoughts for the next generation to know that we were not manipulated by the atmosphere or just emotional. So that they know for bettering their lives we have done everything we could. So that they know if our ancestors surrendered to Arab and Mongolian invasions, we did not surrender to despotism. This note is dedicated to tomorrow's children. . . .


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