February 15, 2011

The Green Movement is alive and well


For weeks there has been a war of narratives between the Green Movement and the clerical regime in Iran. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the ayatollahs have been pushing this notion that there is a direct line from the Iranian Revolution of 1979 to the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, that what the people have been fighting for is not secular democracy but for new governments where religion plays a dominent role. Members of the Green Movement of course say that this is absurd on its face. They argue that, if anything, the uprisings started by taking a page from the Green Movement’s tactics after the highjacked presidential election of 2009.

Regardless, Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had an opportunity this week to test their theory that the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt were inspired by the Iranian Revolution. Given the events of yesterday, it’s clear they preferred not to bother.

Answering the question as to whether the Green Movement is a broad-based social movement or just a bunch of “ruffians and seditionists” and putting the lie to Ahmadinejad’s claims, thousands of protesters showed up all across Iran yesterday for what is now believed to be the largest demonstration since the demonstrations of 2009. And though it appears that the Iranian government has not been timid about using brutal force against its own people to surpress the demonstrations (or feels any compunction about executing dissidents), it also seems to be a pretty definitive answer as to whether the Green Movement is dead.

In the following videos, Asef Bayat — a contributor to The People Reloaded — explains why the broad-based Green Movement is indeed alive and well and is not merely dissent by a minority of ruffians.