This is the official blog of Northern Arizona slam poet Christopher Fox Graham. Begun in 2002, and transferred to blogspot in 2006, FoxTheBlog has recorded more than 423,000 hits since 2009. This blog cover's Graham's poetry, the Arizona poetry slam community and offers tips for slam poets from sources around the Internet. Read CFG's full biography here. Looking for just that one poem? You know the one ... click here to find it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Is Iran facing the world's first "Digital Revolution?"

What's going on in Iran?Read information about the 2009 Iranian election protests or see live updates.

The Iranian government has forbidden Western journalists from covering the election or the subsequent protests in the streets of Tehran and elsewhere in Iran.

Police and a paramilitary group called the Basij have violently suppressed the protests, firing into crowds and using batons, pepper spray, and other weapons. The Iranian government have confirmed the deaths of twenty people during the protests. Iranian authorities have closed universities in Tehran, blocked web sites, blocked cell phone transmissions and text messaging,and banned rallies.

The shooting death of Nedā Salehi Āġā-Soltān (ندا صالحی آقا سلطان) was broadcast around the world within hours. On June 20, at around 6:30 p.m., Āġā-Soltān, a student of Islamic philosophy, was sitting in her car in traffic on Kargar Avenue in Tehran, near the Amir-Abad area, accompanied by her music teacher and close friend, Hamid Panahi, and two unidentified others. The four were on their way to participate in the protests against the outcome of the 2009 Iranian presidential election.

Having gotten out of a subcompact Peugeot 206, whose air conditioner was not working well, in order to escape the heat, she was standing and observing the mass protests when she was allegedly targeted and shot in the chest by plain-clothes Basij paramilitaries who were attempting to subdue the protesters. Āġā-Soltān was pronounced dead en route to Tehran's Shariati hospital.

Several undated amateur videos depicting Āġā-Soltān collapsing to the ground, being tended to, and dying as her lungs filled with blood from the wound, were uploaded to Facebook and YouTube, and spread across the internet virally.

Reza Pahlavi, the son of the late Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, produced a photograph of Nedā Salehi Āġā-Soltān from his jacket pocket, as well as photographs of his family, at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on June 22, and stated: "I have added [Nedā Salehi Āġā-Soltān] to the list of my daughters. She is now forever in my pocket."

On June 22, 2009, U.S. Sen. John McCain announced to the Senate that "She (Nedā Salehi Āġā-Soltān) had already become a kind of Joan of Arc" and "Today, I and all America pays tribute to a brave young woman who was trying to exercise her fundamental human rights and was killed in the streets of Tehran."

On June 23, 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama paid tribute to Nedā Salehi Āġā-Soltān, saying that "[we] have seen courageous women stand up to brutality and threats, and we have experienced the searing image of a woman bleeding to death on the streets."

The news of the street protests is being reported by Iranians on the streets using Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and MySpace, cell phone camera and cell phone videos. Sociologically, this could be the first 21st century revolution in which government statements, television cameras and formal news outlets are not the major means of communicating about the events, but average people using the Internet.

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