We Are All Iranians Today 

I have been following tweets and YouTube videos out of Iran for a few hours and I feel totally drained, as if someone close to me had died. This raw footage, or this, is so much more powerful and graphic than the filtered news reports we are used to. It's inspiring at the same time, but ultimately frustrating.  What can we do but bear witness? That seems so inadequate. 

We're conditioned for the voice of the omniscient reporter to put it all in perspective, but the relentless, unedited tweets from the streets (and elsewhere) drum home an undeniable message: Hundreds of thousands (millions?) of Iranians are risking their lives right now for what, in the end, boils down to the right to express themselves freely.

But what about the tweet that helicopters are pouring acid on demonstrators? Or that militiamen have tossed two protestors into a fire? Sounds plausible enough, but are they true? At the same there are lots of tweets telling the wounded to stay away from hospitals, where the wounded are being detained, and to go to embassies instead. Is that good, useful information? I hope so.

I never covered a war, although I was on the fringes of a few hostage situations and civil disturbances. And I did my share of talking to widows and orphans and knocking on the doors of the family of kids who had been killed while DUI and such. It was unpleasant. This footage, coming raw and real time from thousands of miles away, is unnerving in the same way that watching the twin towers collapse, from twenty miles up river, was unnerving even though there's is absolutely nothing I can do about it.

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