Sea of Green


One of the most fascinating videos we watched yesterday was a brief moment from the Tehran streets. The marchers are deliberately quiet — no chanting — when suddenly you hear cries of “Basiji!” passing through the crowd.

And then everybody sits down.

The Basij are Iran’s “volunteer militia” — the shock troops responsible for most of the violence so far. And in the face of threat, the crowd displayed textbook nonviolent tactics — tactics few would have reason to know a week ago.

There will be more enormous crowds today, and again on Friday, when the protest’s martyrs are mourned at Iran’s mosques. With each day, the protest gains its own momentum. With each day, the next day’s protest seems more certain.

We’ve been saying that the rulers can walk it back as long as the martyrs don’t pile up too high — as long as the crowds can return home without violating the memory of the fallen. But we’re starting to wonder whether the situation has reached a point where the crowds can’t walk it back — because it’s safer to see this through rather than risk certain retribution if the protests dissipate without success.

There’s safety in numbers. Iran’s rulers can’t send in the tanks without igniting the entire country. You risk civil war, you risk revolution — because nobody’s going to see it as quelling a riot.

Whether the rulers are shrewd enough to understand that, we cannot know. Nor can we know how much longer they’re willing to wait it out. Yet as long as the streets are full each passing day, there’s still time for a peaceful resolution. But only if the rulers want it.

Continuing Coverage:

Andrew Sullivan

niacINsight [National Iranian American Council]

Tehran Bureau [Independent Iran news]

The Lede [NYT]

Nico Pitney [HuffPo]

Photo: June 17, 2009. Mousavi supporters in Tehran. [HuffPo]


The mullahs heads need to be stuffed onto sticks, short ones, so Iranians can all enjoy pissing on their faces. The Basij assholes are pathetic. We need to get a riot baton into the hands of every standing Iranian to pulp these assholes’ faces. Did you see what they did to the university dorm? Smashed the windows? For what?

the jerusalem post is reporting today that hundreds of protesters, not dozens, are “disappearing.”
i dunno nojo, you think they’re really sitting on their hands and “waiting it out?”
and the green thing, soccer? really? wtf..

Somewhere a neo-con is throwing Risk dice at the wall while tears roll down his face.

A “rigged” election ignited protests that threats of war could not do. Somehow the lessons would be lost of that band of dimwits.

Through Nico, from the WSJ:

Students’ Web sites reported mass resignations by Tehran University professors outraged over the incident. One medical student said he and his roommate blocked their door with furniture and hid in the closet when they heard the militia’s motorcycles approaching. He heard the militia breaking down doors, and then screams of anguish as students were dragged from their beds and beaten violently.

When he came out after the militia had left, friends and classmates lay unconscious in dorm rooms and hallways, many with chest wounds from being stabbed or bloody faces from blows to their heads, he said. The staff of the hospital where the wounded students were taken, Hazrat Rasoul Hospital, was so shocked that they went on strike for two hours, standing silently outside the gate in their white medical uniforms.

@baked: “Waiting it out” compared to sending in the Revolutionary Guard to clear the streets.

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