Friday, June 19, 2009

It's Easy Being Green

As you can see, I’ve gone green, and not in the environmental sense. Along with more people than it’s possible to count, I’ve gone green on Twitter to “Show support for democracy in Iran” by following an invitation to “add green overlay to your Twitter avatar with 1-click –.” I clicked, and as my small Twitter avatar, in my case the head shot, above, became uniformly green, something else clicked for me: never before in history has there been such a united world-wide effort to make one country a better place by listening and responding to the call of its people.

I came to Twitter reluctantly and wasn’t enthusiastic about it until now. Iranians who have taken their protests to the streets are using it to communicate with each other, to locate, mobilize and strategize, to alert and inform and encourage each other. As the government revokes and refuses to renew press credentials, blocks news reports and web sites, reformers use Twitter to let the world outside know what is happening inside. An early RT (a Re Tweet, i.e., reposting) announces, “All communication lines from and to abroad are closed. No Internet access. PLEASE HELP.” A subsequent one warns, “CNFRMD ALL ambulances must bring ALL wounded to army hospitals. DO NOT put the wounded in ambulances” and pleads, “PLS RT.” Repeat it and repeat it for all eyes and ears!

By rough count—but by any measure more accurate than the egregious Iranian presidential vote count—I note that three or four of every five twitterers outside of Iran using the maxim of 140 characters at a time to mention Iran is casting a vote of solidarity for those whose votes were so cynically, corruptly mishandled. A site beckons, “Add your username to the Green Wall to show support for #iranelection And proclaims, “1990 users have added their picture! PLEASE add yours, and then tell your friends and followers! PLEASE TWEET THIS GREEN ME.” The number of “users” has increased by 66 since I began writing this piece. I urge you to go to the site and view the photos, ikons and logos of the passionately-committed on the Green Wall.

Tweeted from Iran two minutes ago: “Security forces in Iran are hunting for bloggers using location/timezone searches.”

Last Monday, a State Department official asked Twitter to defer a scheduled maintenance which, had it occurred, would have interrupted Iranians’ contact with each other and with all sources of information and succor globally at a critical time.

A grateful message from Iran: “Humbling to remember how small the world is.”


  1. Can you imagine what the world would have been like if twitter existed for the Colonists that took up against King George? Unfortunately, I do not twitter, or facebook,or myspace because I find social networking sites to be ruining...well, ruining social networking. People don't just meet for the sake of meeting anymore. They express the most putrid details of their lives on these social networks because they think someone else cares that "Gary is home from work exhausted and playing Halo online" (rather than being in a gym working out), or "Gracie hates the rain". Get out in the rain Gary and Gracie, it's good for you!

    On the meat and taters of this blog though I am in full support of the Iranian people and will email all my friends who DO twitter and facebook and ask them to sign their names in support of free people everywhere. I sure hope our government comes out like the EU did this morning in support of these heroic protestors. Thank you Ray, I am "green" with support. :)

  2. I remember listening (on a short wave radio) to the Hungarians' call for help - "For God's sake, help us." - just before the Russian army put an end to their revolution. Better fortune to the Iranian people.

  3. This is a truly historic moment, albeit a tragic one as well. It makes me wonder where our technologies will take us during this movement.

  4. Ray-
    Thank you for the blogs. Regret not getting back to you with any riveting commentary-- your pieces don't provoke that kind of response with me. You're an observant journalist whose had a lot of experience and has known many important people and you show a naturally amusing slant on the events you've seen and born witness to, revealing an inborn wisdom on the affairs of life. I knew I had you pegged since first we met.
    And you are publishable. Congratulations.
    Jay Tunney