Today, like I do every day, I sat in front of a computer screen for eight hours, talking, debating, and learning about democracy in the Middle East. But today, Iranians actually fought and bled for their democracy.
I can't help but feel a little sheepish - and useless - in comparison. In fact, I shouldn't make a comparison at all.
Thirty years ago, Iranian students stormed the American embassy in Tehran, igniting the hostage crisis and rupturing American-Iranian relations ever since. Every year Iranians have celebrated today as a great triumph against the Great Satan...until now. Today, the Iranian opposition usurped the anniversary to protest against the corrupt and brutal regime in Tehran. Tens of thousands of brave Iranians took to the streets, risking tear gas, batons, arrest, torture, rape and death.
Tehran Bureau has posted a collection of protest videos from today, but I'll pick out two for you which are particularly compelling.
In the first, a group of protesters chant anti-regime slogans until the government forces charge into the crowd (around the second minute).
The second video shows what happens to unlucky protesters who get separated from the group. In the words of Andrew Sullivan, "you see everything you need about what tyranny is" in this clip. If you're curious why most of the people don't help her, it's because all the people on the motorbikes are actually Basij militia, a thug gang employed by the regime.
May God help the Iranian people secure their rights and grant us the wisdom to not get in the way.