16 June 2009

An Iranian Irony.

I remember well when the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in Iran in 1979. Many in the West expressed surprise at how this elderly cleric, who they had never heard of before, could so easily topple the Shah of Iran. And I remember a commentator on one of the evening news shows back then explaining the how: Khomeini and his followers had used cassette tapes of his speeches and books - thousands of tapes, made from his home in (surprise surprise) Saudi Arabia, circulated hand-to-hand and copied again and again, to get his message out and circumvent the Shah's heavy censorship.

Now fast forward 30 years, and substitute Twitter, Facebook, cell-phones and blogs for cassette tapes. The very same clerics who used distributive and autonomous networks to deliver information for their revolution, are now being confounded by the very same thing.

UPDATE: Seen at Twitter #iranelection: "I've learned something today. Americans DO care about the world outside America. Their media just doesn't." Indeed.

1 comment:

Bob Livingston said...

I don't recall Khomeini being in Saudi Arabia at all during his exile. He came to Iran from France and spent most of his time before that in Iraq. Shi'a revolutionaries have never been particularly welcome in the Wahhabi Sunni kingdom.