Suite du "journal" de b*, qui continue de nous parvenir de manière irrégulière et fragmentée. Les messages de soutien sont toujours les bienvenus, c/o Andy, à l'adresse andymoor(at)wittereus.net
TEHRAN, June 18, 10h00---The air is heavy in the city today.
Yesterday, another massive, peaceful demonstration made its way through central Tehran towards Tehran University. At least a million people, I would say, dressed mostly in black to mourn the deaths of the past days, and showing signs of green protest, hoping that this election will at least be annulled. But as we walked through the streets, I wondered how things will form over the next few weeks, and what will come out of all this in terms of a real opposition and change. For now, people are holding photos of Moussavi, since he should be their president, but neither Moussavi nor any of the other reformists would become real opposition leaders at this time, as this would signify a move towards another revolution or at least a major systemic shift, and I don't believe that any of these people want this anyway.
It is hard to know exactly what is happening in the top ranks, and what political phase the country is moving into. It is a time to be thinking, interacting, and planning. There is no real strategy nor an idea of what shape this action should take. It is refreshing to be constructing a movement with people and working towards something collectively without leaders around or political parties, but at the same time, there is no hope of having enough force to confront the regime without some structural help or some internal battles being fought at the top levels - that is unless we want this to become a bloody battle once again. But with the thousands killed during the revolution and the purges that took place afterwards on everyone's minds, this is not what people want to move towards. Not now at least.
The resilience and the determination to change things peacefully is remarkable for me. It has made me think about a lot, and to watch how people work together to maintain silence during the demonstrations is beautiful. At yesterday's quiet march, people held signs with sentences, slogans, photographs of the violence of the past days, and the names of those who have been killed. There was a feeling of mourning in the air, but also of tension. We all know that things are serious, and our great numbers in the streets are our only protection. This will continue until we achieve the minor request of announcement of election fraud, or until people tire and move towards other methods. There is the possibility that those imprisoned remain there, that Moussavi is done away with by some means (exile, house arrest, etc), and that Ahmadinejad remains the illegitimate president of an unlawful dictatorship. If this happens, the next four years would mean major organizing in the underground and a new stage in Iranian political activism. One thing is sure: people are no longer going to accept the self-censorship or fear that has been imposed upon them. It is already easier to speak to people on the street and in shops without wondering if they work for the secret service, or if they will tell the police. Our collective trauma from SAVAK times, and mainly from the Islamic form of ideology and socio-political cleansing that has taken place for the last 30 years, persists today. Yesterday was a reminder of that.
In addition to this psychological war that the regime wages upon us by cutting our connection to the outside world, and to each other, there are a number of ways that we are threatened. I cannot go into detail now, but starting yesterday morning, our house received phone calls every 15 minutes from an unknown number. The caller ID showed a number with many zeros at the end, which from our experience means that the secret service or police are trying to get in touch. We did not answer, and luckily I had taken all my videotapes and other things to another house, but there is a still a feeling of insecurity. Like many others in the city, our house had become a sort of unofficial "newsroom" with people coming in and out, working, making phone calls, emailing, and sleeping in different spots around the house. We decided to calm things, now that Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and blogging have made it possible to announce our resistance to the world. But this is precisely what we are worried about, that the psychological games of the regime and the disappearances and arrests will begin again, at an even harsher intensity.
Last night Bassijis were roaming the neighborhood, going into some homes to gather satellite dishes. We got rid of a lot of things, hiding others. This is what will begin happening; and paranoia will set in again. We can already feel it. Now we have word that some of the reformists and other political figures are saying that they should put an end to the direct opposition to the Supreme Leader. This is disheartening for us. Right now, there is definitely a threat to the tight grip that Khamenei maintains over the people, and within the hierarchical structure of the Republic; a threat as well to the pillars of the 1979 revolution. As of today, we have reports of 500 people arrested: political leaders, students, activists, journalists, and others who have been suspected of dissent. The latest news is that the French Embassy in Tehran has been attacked. Fifteen members of our Documentary Filmmakers Association have been arrested in the streets since Saturday, despite having official permits to film in the streets. Many of them were beaten by plainclothes police or Bassijis, and their homes have been raided. There is a harsh crackdown. I am debating on leaving soon, before it becomes impossible to do so. We are strategizing, trying to be pragmatic, and intelligent. It is a hard situation to judge.
Two gatherings are planned for today: a mourning ceremony/gathering in the South of the City in Imam Khomeini Square and a candlelight vigil in the North of the city tonight. There are no reports so far of violence or killings in Tehran from last night (although maybe news has not reached us yet), but in the provinces there are reports of clashes.
We don't know what will happen next.