The personal blog of photojournalist Noah Darnell.

Something should be said…

In a country that has been the butt of jokes for years now about their extreme conservativism and “what, is the United States going to invade them now?” I really am a little surprised about the way of things these days.

I mean, anyone who follows international news very closely see “elections” in African countries or these tiny ex-Russian provinces and it says this hard-line, historically abusive president gets re-elected for the fifteenth time. And, yeah, maybe there’s some protestings going on, but largely it just goes away and dwindles to a point when I think the people of the country – and of the world, for that matter – finally give it up to “well, what did you expect.”

And I kinda had an inkling about Iran’s elections. In fact, for those who don’t ask “Where’s Iran?” the majority of the rest of the world probably thought, “Iran is a democracy?” I genuinely think many people started to get a more positive opinion of a country where people have, in the past, equate it with “the next Iraq.”

And so, like the typical person who is consumed by the international news as I am, I watched the Iranian elections last week on my Blackberry while I was at work…

Pre-Election Iran Photos

Election Day in Iran

I mean, I’ll admit, I have a favorite even for international elections. So, at first, my reaction was, “Too bad. Well, they gave it a nice run.”

…and then the aftermath began.

Iranian Election Aftermath

This stuff has consumed the international media. Alright, so some might think that its just a little slow in the news these days… I mean, Netanyahu is causing problems with the Israel/Palestine thing, and Obama’s talking about Heathcare, and the H1N1 is eating people (still), and I got a single shot front page at the DNJ today about a summer arts school… but…

This is a bit of a mess. And you know as bizarre as it is, I think its actually working. The Supreme Leader actually rescinded his declaration that Ahmadinejad was the winner. (And if you don’t know what that means, its sort of like our “electoral college” taking its decision back and launching a formal investigation. Think Bush/Gore mess… except instead of being so close, imagine if Gore won by 60% and Bush by only 30% or so and THEN all that mess happened. (In 2000, it was a whole lot closer – like 52% to 48%.))

So, emotions are running high. Just a bit. Ahmadinejad dismissed the protests as “passions after a soccer game”.

Four days later, need an update? This was about 1:30pm, Monday, 15 June. Only 30 minutes ago at the time of the posting:

Its getting worse. And I genuinely think its sending a message. A pretty big one. Not only to Ahmadinejad and the current Iranian administration, but to some of the rest of the world. The challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi, is encouraging peaceful protests. But, honestly, I think this angst against the government has been growing for some time now.

Yeah, I know it might end up like all the others and dissipate after a little while… but I think, if the incumbant really is ousted and Mousavi becomes the president of Iran, the world will (at least) be on its way to turning a corner on “democratically elected dictators.” If not, then that’s too bad.

But its still hard for me to look at photos like this and this and this not get a little hopeful that something happens that is going to positively change this part of the world. Am I editorializing a little much and swinging for the fence by being a white bread American guy sitting in his airconditioned middle Tennessee house conjecturing about international politics on a blog with only a few thousand pageviews?

Who cares? Because I care. And for those hundreds of thousands of people all over the world participating in stuff like this… going out on the streets for the change they yearn for: more power to you. Yeah, America can do this election thing pretty peacefully because its been going on for 200 years, but I only hope that if America was in the same position, the people’s voices would be just as loud.

Learn from those who are oppressed… if you are still reading this, my friends. It takes a certain kind of collective strength I don’t think America has seen for a while.

Stay tuned… and go read the news. It actually matters.

-Noah D.

PS:  Sure, I might get some emails or messages saying, “yeah, but…” but that’s okay. Please do… and please post your comments on this blog (if you’re reading this on my Facebook RSS, please click here and comment) – I want to know your opinion!

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