Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Iran 2009: The Mosaic Revolution

For the first time in history, a revolution is being witnessed by a million eyes focused in a hundred-million directions. The events are being captured in low resolution, highly pixilated moving images and then sent over the air to one, then another, and then dozens, and then thousands of relays who post, comment on, and contextualize the events. That this is being accomplished by average Iranians has been made much of by the world’s mainstream press, who themselves have been rendered impotent by the regime’s crackdown on foreign reporters.

The individual images themselves provide an almost Cubist relief and provide the viewers with a sense of how widespread the protest are. Like a mosaic, the multi-source, multi-perspective images each represent a piece of a whole. While each individual shot of a mass gathering of bodies in a street or of the posses of black-clad, baton-wielding motorcycle sentries beating down a bystander will itself tell a story, the full geometry of the moment can only be taken in when the mosaic is seen from a distance. A massive swash of green roaring over dark, masked tyranny.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thinking about the Iranian Election Protests


Careless, standing in the moment, gulf and redact,

censorship accumulates at my bare feet

like candy wrappers.

A small, bloodied boy

takes off his baseball cap to show me his wound,

beet red in a round gash, the size

of a Franklin half-dollar. He isn’t crying, just

a little surprised and scared. He doesn’t know

enough to be scared. But the others, falling

through the glass windows of shops selling

electronics, selling kebabs, selling postage

and airline tickets to somewhere else, know too

much to be surprised. Even the hollow,

low moans of the old woman slumped over

a steel mesh trash bin, translate as

the boredom of expectation and dulling

predictability. This is not a place to stand,

not like a stream, but riverside; the bodies,

green fists and black masks of remembrance

heave past the sidewalk banks, gathering

up more of the fragile earth, trees, and rocks.

The underpinnings whittle, the foundations

erode by precipitous degree until

all that remains intact is the roaring will to flood.