By Yousef Mosaddeqi
January 12, 2018 The Iranian Green Movement [a.k.a Persian Awakening or Persian Spring] was born after the 2009 presidential election in which protesters demanded the removal of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from office. Nearly nine years later, Iranians have, once again, held anti-government protests in cities all around the country, calling for a complete overhaul of the country’s political, economic and judicial system.
As social animals, human beings have historically gravitated towards groups and organizations. They have formed associations, societies, political parties, sports clubs and trade unions to assert their identities. The ruling elites of the Islamic Republic regime are no different. They are defined by their detention centers, notorious prisons and Basij forces [volunteer militia.]
Social media and the Internet provide a platform for the discontented public to voice its grievances against a brutal regime which has systematically violated the human rights of its citizens for nearly four decades. Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Telegram and Instagram provide a forum for kindred spirits to share and discuss their concerns about the political, social and economic affairs of the country. But sometimes, people have to leave the safe and comfortable environment of the Internet chat rooms and take to the streets in order to have their voices heard.
Streets bring people together but don’t give the public its identity. What defines protesters is their shared vision, common goal and sense of unity. On many occasions, raw emotions, anger and mob mentality lead to street violence. But street solidarity could evolve into a collective identity. As a grassroots movement, civil unrest could expose the failures of a deteriorating regime and forge the true identity of a nation.