The Guardian UK: 9 Feared Dead in Iran Protests
Think about the massive mistake the Basij made when they shot through the heart a young female who wasn't even a protester. When Neda Soltani fell on June 20th of this year, the dictators running Iran created a ready-made martyr for which the protesters had been unintentionally waiting. This time they created another martyr and it was none other than Reform candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi's nephew, Saeed Ali Mousavi.
As the Guardian goes on to say, Ashoura commemorates the day the 7th century cleric Imam Hossein died in battle. To Shi'ites, Hossein is revered as a symbol of resistance against despotic, totalitarian rule. This year, almost as if scripted by Imam Hossein himself, Ashoura coincides perfectly with Grand Ayatollah Montazeri's death and the seven day mourning period. As with Hossein, the latter-day Montazeri was a consistent foe against despotism as well as a champion for human rights and openly deplored the excesses of Ayatollah Khomenei and Khamenei, at one having said this summer the latter had "no religious authority."
Apparently, the people agree. Whereas before, the young people of Iran merely wanted back their democracy, if you read comments from Iranians below protest videos on Youtube and see their actions, now they're openly trying to overthrow the regime. Police motorcycles are being burned and the Basiji are successfully being repelled by unarmed protesters who have nothing but sheer size on their side.
While it may be true when Andrew Sullivan says, "any victory raw violence may have, it is Pyrrhic," one also has to realize that these people have nothing much to lose but their own lives. If you look at the protest videos being shot and posted on Youtube today, you'll see a conspicuous absence of the green that symbolized the protest movement last June and July. Even though it looks as if Mir Hossein Mousavi lost his nephew a few hours ago, it can't be said this is even about politics anymore, much less direct support for him and his reform candidacy.
Rather, in a way, the protests seem to have lost their original focus and, rather than demanding they get their votes and democracy back, they seem to have fallen into a much harder row of merely demanding the overthrow of the current regime. And that simply won't be effected with rocks and even massive numbers.
But the world is listening to them again and, Barack Obama and his $4000 a day Hawaiian retreat aside, some of us are listening.
While the liberal/progressive blogosphere has been typically silent during this latest Iranian human rights emergency, CNN is at last reporting on this, as is the indefatigable Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Dish.