Goons on parade

Fascinating footage here of the Basiji (“goons”) using a sports centre for their activities. First they arrive in vans to get changed, then get on the job, riding on pavements, tear gassing, cracking heads, and back to the sports centre again, to get changed and return home to cuddle their wives and children.

Experts agree

I am glad to see that my analysis yesterday meets with common accord in this round-up of expert opinion today. For instance, Prof Baroness Haleh Afshar, Professor of Politics and Women’s Studies at the University of York, writes:

By resorting to brutal force the regime has lost what legitimacy it had. Thus without the re-run of the elections it can only continue by extreme oppression, which I do not think would be acceptable to Iranians. What this means in terms of outcome, I hate to think.

And Dr Karim Sadjadpour, associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, adds:

[T]he regime’s indiscriminate use of violence – graphic videos show how women, the elderly, and even children have been targeted – has only further eroded people’s lack of respect for the government … There are already signs that the opposition is entering a new phase. Instead of mass rallies they are now focusing on civil disobedience, including strikes among merchants (bazaris), labourers, and key arteries of the Iranian economy (like the petroleum industry and oil ministry).

The same sort of ground is covered, and analysis offered, here. Or are all these events being permitted simply to discredit Islam itself?

No more idiots

Let us hope that future candidates for leadership ─ presidents, prime ministers … but not Supreme Leaders, please: why let a general craving for authority elevate someone whom you cannot get rid of thereafter? … will submit to an IQ test. Sawdust qualifications in make-believe theology should no longer be acceptable.

Donkey maths

“[T]here is no reason to annul the election,” said Abbasali Kadkhodai, a Guardian Council spokesman, in remarks reported on Iran state television this morning ─ in spite of the fact that in 50 Iranian cities more than 100 per cent of the electorate was officially recorded as turning out to vote. More here.

The participation of women.

If and when this spontaneous combustion leads to a peaceful liberalisation, the bravery of the young will be remembered and, for a long time afterwards, celebrated. And foremost among them, the ‘lionesses’, our better halves, the much oppressed but infinitely esteemed women of Iran. Note in this clip the compassionate rescue of a militia man, pulled off his own bike and clearly expecting imminent annihilation, being given water to drink before being led to safety. The sacrifice of Neda, who was shot in the neck after apparently stepping out of a traffic-bound car for some fresh air, returning from a music lesson, is already a legend. Others, more self-sacrificial, are out there in the front line without any prospect of victory in these darkest hours, like the young lady interviewed who gives stones to the boys “because they can throw them further than we can.”

It was the artist-poet Sohrab Sepehri who commented that Iran has the finest mothers in the world – and the worst  intellectuals.

Chip off the royal block

Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, the son of the Shah, now a tearful supporter of human rights and civil disobedience, speaks at an official podium. Is he waiting for a call? A constitutional monarchy, with the restored monarch a powerless figurehead, might bind in to a new settlement many more than would otherwise be reconciled to a mere IRI Mark II.

The fraud – a summary

It is carefully argued here that the details of the election aberrations are still of concern, if only as a matter of responsible record. One striking result of this election-rigging is to set people wondering, if they did not before, about the previous dubious election of June 2005, when Ahmadinejad first won the presidency against four reformist candidates. This ‘win’ ushered in ‘the government of the barracks’.