Jun 18, 2009

The Tweeter (Green) Revolution and the unavoidable parallel

Following the events in Iran, with the allegations of a stolen presidential election, I’ve been munching to myself a lot of things in the past few days, and I was not sure why I was linking so many – apparently – unrelated things in this tired Cuban American brain…

Two details stood immediately: modern communications are crucial to guarantee freedom and basic human liberties (Twitter, anyone?); no wonder why the tropical gulag is scared to death to even the slowest and least-free of the Internet connections. Secondly, well, you really don’t need a PhD in political sciences to see the similitude between two countries and two societies far, far away in maps and cultures, but so sadly close in totalitarianism.

Ross Kaminski, at Human Events (via Michelle Malkin) has a great take on Tweeter’s role as bridge to break Iranian’s censorship and the mullahs are scared of Tweeters:

Quasi-nuclear Iran, the principal sponsor of terrorism in the world, may be enjoying a revolt against the oppressive regime of the ayatollahs that is made possible by hitherto unavailable -- and convenient, cheap and nearly un-blockable -- communications between protesters.

Make no mistake: This is a huge threat to the Iranian regime -- a pro-liberty movement being fomented and organized in short sentences. And while we’ve talked about “mass communication” for decades, we’ve never truly seen communication for the masses until these past few days.

… (an) important aspect of Twitter is that its messages can be sent and received as cell phone text messages, making it an extremely powerful organizing tool.
No wonder the mullahs are afraid of Twitter if it can not only help organize protests within their country but also stir up pro-freedom reactions thousands of miles away. It isn’t surprising that a CBS reporter says that all access to Twitter was blocked in Iran as of Wednesday morning. Well, until the young, tech-savvy population there finds a way around the mullah’s electronic muzzle.

Penúltimos Días is following – both in English and Spanish – the events.

And that takes me directly to my second quest: are Cubans everywhere taking note? Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez is (
Spanish / English)

Because the parallel is undeniable - and Ernesto Hernández Bustos went ahead of me
on this

It is impossible not to see the tropical ayatollah and the ancient and outdated central committee posing as your warmest counsel of guardians. Hernández Bustos hit it on the nail: despite cultural and religious differences, the core of both regimens is the same: totalitarianism and censorship.

That’s the reason behind the sick paranoia both governments have behind the free use of the Internet and social networks like Facebook, instant messaging services and chat rooms.

Un-surprisingly, the Cuban state-run media (sounds familiar?) is informing about every thing you can imagine
but what’s going on in Iran. Least mentioning Tweeter; Shhh! Caquita, niño, que eso no se toca!

As Malkin says, “In the hands of freedom-loving dissidents, the micro-blogging social network is a revolutionary samizdat — undermining the mullah-cracy’s information blockades one Tweet at a time.”

Now, change names and locations.

Keep in mind that in the tropical gulag, the privileged ones that have cell phones, use them basically for text messaging. (It has the cheaper rate, 0.15 cents CUC per message, at least until May 2009. For regular calls, both incoming and outgoing, the rate is 0.50 cents CUC per minute.)

And that even thought the majority does not have cell phone, every body struggles to get together the money to buy the line and pay for the calling cards. It is my impression that, deep in theirs hearts, they know those little artifacts have an endless potential…

Now connect the dots.

Information can be shared, censorship can be bypassed and the Internet Rapid Response Brigades could be doomed into fake proxies.

Things can be changed, one Tweet at a time – especially if we remember that you can Tweet from phone to phone, via text message.

PS: Revolving around the SRM topic that I’ve posted before, in case you’re still not fully convinced that what used to be the MSM is completely done and buried, the non-coverage initially given to the events in Iran is a just proof
that journalism in the United States is DEAD.

H/T to all Tweeter on Iran's beat, MM, Penúltimos Días and every body out there following the events.

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