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I’ve been hearing the news about the riots in Tehran over Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection over the past few days, but recently seeing some photographs of the protests has invited a little more personal reflection on the situation (for lack of a better, less insensitive word) in Iran.

(For those unfamiliar, the short story is that Ahmadinejad’s victory was a slap in the face for supporters of reform candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, whose platform called for more social justice and freedom of expression, and a healthier relationship with the West. The protests in Tehran are the result of suspicion that Ahmadinejad’s “reelection” was a sham.)

Marches, riots, both violent and nonviolent protesting. Should I be happy? Angry? Hopeful? A proper reaction eludes me, besides being simply dumbstruck. It’s not easy at all to look at the faces in these photos, the emotions, knowing that this brutality is being endured as we speak to actual people.

He was surrounded and pleading for them to stop but six men with clubs, batons and metal rods kept battering a young Iranian man with ruthless force. The swing that keeps replaying in my head was the black baton that smashed the man in the skull behind his left ear.

Seconds earlier the man had dared to stand up to the baton wielding men because they had shoved a 14-year-old girl. For his chivalry he got one of the most savage beatings I have ever seen at the hands of four Iranian riot policemen and members of the Baseej, Iran’s plain clothed volunteer militia.

“To hell with Iran,” he said as he sat beaten and battered along the sidewalk. “This is not my government. This is not my country.”

A grown man who watched the beating burst into tears.

CNN witness report

Unimaginable. To struggle this hard, to endure such brutality for your own freedom is an alien concept to me. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have had your dignities and freedoms trampled on so excessively that you, like this Tehran man, simply can’t take it anymore.

I don’t have any conclusions or definitive points to make about the election or its legitimacy, only to say that people fighting for their freedom is a profound thing to watch and reflect on.

Here are a few of the aforementioned photos from Boston Globe:

Courtesy Boston Globe

Courtesy Boston Globe

The rest of the images can be seen here.


Filed under: Current issues, , ,

2 Responses

  1. janaiha says:

    i’ve been thinking the same thing… not sure whether to lash out or cry or applaud. but ultimate it is stirring how when pressed, the human soul will fight to preserve its God-given dignity. usually i only see either selfish acts in response to the most minute of ‘injustices’ or pitiful unprincipled submissiveness, but on occasion when you see the dignity of the soul in its purity, you can’t help but admire it …and be inspired to remember the causes of universal interest. liberty.. justice… anyways, thanks for posting this.

  2. msatheeshkumar says:

    Yeah…Its brutal to humiliate the dignity of human soul. The photos are clearly showing the violent attacks on the civilians. Its disturbing to see. How so easily rigging in elections can happen? I pray for the peace of these civilians……. btw thanks a lot for the post,Drew. As I’m a little bit busy with my final yr studies,I have been away from such International news. And I find ur blog as useful to me in knowing such news. Thanks a lot……

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