“A significant red line has been drawn”
June 16. 2009 - I reached Babak Rahimi in Tehran. He teaches Iranian and Islamic Studies, including Shia Islam, at the University of California, San Diego—but has been in Iran since March, researching and writing about the development of the Internet there. He says he never expected to be in the middle of all this!
Question: “What are your observations about what has happened the past couple days?”
Rahimi: “It seems as though the opposition is fully aware that it has a chance to challenge the status quo. The way they are challenging is through orderly means of demonstrations and symbolic acts of defiance.
“For example in the past few nights, the sounds of people just shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is Great) on their rooftops. They are in their private homes and it is difficult for the government to control. This harkens back to the 1979 revolution when similar chants could be heard at night.”
Question: Talk about the role of the internet and new media. How is that playing itself out?
Rahimi: “I would make an argument that Iranians have an alternate social space now.
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