There has been a huge hue and cry over the Iranian election protests in the last week or so, but to me as a neutral observer the situation is way more fuzzy than it looks.
First of all, let us study the facts. There can be no denyingl that Mir Hussein Moussavi has support in Iran, it is evident from the protests going on that the people who voted from him are angry at the result. They have come out in the tens of thousands since the election result against their leader but are their emotions misplaced or justified?
As usual the BBC and all the other media groups are making a big hullabalu out of these protests, not merely reporting on them but presenting them as some sort of new Iranian revolution. Frankly I met a few Iranians in a textile fair in Shanghai last week only and for them it was business as usual. In fact they claimed that the protesters were mostly from the elite class who is in favor of Mir Hussein Moussavi and did not matter as their numbers were very small.
In spite of their assurances one cannot deny the footage and the pictures coming out, but the point is are the worlds news services so crippled that they have to believe individual twitter streams coming out of the country? Twitter although a killer tech tool is also very misleading as not everyone on it speaks the truth or does any amount of research before broadcasting half truths and rumors.
For example, if I was in Iran how easy would it be for me to claim I am part of these protests and gain a huge number ofÂ followers for being some sort of national activist. We have seen it happen in Pakistan often when people use causes like this one to further their own agendas and names.
Let us also not forget that most of the protests taking place are in Tehran where as per official results Ahmadinajad almost lost the election(as corrected by Alex; comments)Â so the figures instead of being manipulated seem to point to the favor of the show of support for Moussavi. The protest going on, is in the area which voted for the opposition.
So no although my heart feels heavy for the emoting going on via twitter in Iran and how the twitterers names cannot be mentioned as the secret police will pick them up I cannot believe that the entire truth is being told.
In fact I would go so far as to say that this entire protest is being blown out of proportion by people who cannot bear their loss. If you look at the vote count Mir Hussein Moussavi has received a lot of votes, even if he has lost so the whole “where is my vote” issue doesn’t ring true to me.
That being said the Iranian government should not fall into the foreign trap of showing heavy handedness on the protesters as this will only result in further hype and revolution mongering.
I simply fail to understand why if the worlds media is as fair as it claims, there are no mentions of twitters on the IDP’s in Pakistan or the genocide taking place in West Bengal or the various African countries whos dictators are crushing their citizens daily to extract more money out of aid agencies. Why are there no twitters from the Saudi kingdom which does not even allow its women any status or let observers enter on any issue. Show me a dissident twitterer mentioned from any of the above places and I will hold up a banner saying “Go Ahmedinajad go”Â until then I would like to stay off this bandwagon, thank you!!