First of all, fresh in the news, is reports of a massive massacre in Tehran.
Sounds really, really bad. There's no way to say that without sounding understated. I've also seen pictures of axe wounds. Many sources claim the Basiji were wielding axes.
Fascist fucking thugs. As long as groups attempt to wield power, there will always be these little-man shits. I would call them animals, but that is a horrible thing to compare an animal, simply living out its nature, to these despicable wastes tickling their feedback circuits carving their violent psychotic world-views into other people's flesh.
I was listening to an unrelated interview with a biographer of Stanley Milgram today. Milgram is the scientist who did the "shock" experiments; the subject is told he is to administer "electric shocks" to an actor, on the authority of a researcher. Even though the actor pretends s/he is in incredible pain, 2/3's of the time the subject continued to give the "shocks", even though s/he was free to get up and leave at any time. The biographer said, when asked about the relevance to WWII and the Holocaust, that the experiment actually doesn't really explain Nazi behavior. It might explain the behavior of the train operators, taking jews to the camps, but the experiment cannot say anything about the creativity of torture--the soldiers who would compete with each other to torture more brutally, and the doctors who devised psychotic medical experiments.
I thought the same thing around the time of Abu Graib. I'm certain those soldiers were told that their torture was okay, but no one told them specifically what to do, nor to take photos of it, and put them on the Internet. Creativity--or what rudiments of it these people could find within their rotted minds.
There are certain people out there, who not only find themselves in the employ of fascist or fascistic leaders, to do their violent dirty work, but also, perhaps not unrelatedly, are also the sorts of psychotic power-thugs that get off on it. Is it enough to shoot people? No. They pick up axes, aim at children, and throw people off of bridges. There is no word awful enough.
As I said before, I'm always with the people. Guns against stones is what we so often see, and I think there is a reason for this. Any violent piece of shit can go get a gun and shoot people. But it is only the people that pick up stones to throw. It is not a pretty or romantic image--it is often the last act before getting gunned down. But it represents the fact of the matter--a finger on a trigger, versus the overwhelming anger of people en mass. I would throw a stone, if I could.
But this is nothing new. What is new, in some bizarre spin of the Evidence/Confession obsession of post-christian law, combined with a cyber-timed, techno-fetish Bataillesque-reincarnation, we can see these horrors playing out "in real-time", as it were. Our connection with the Internet provides a strange, more-real than real sense of the events. Of course, if we were there it would be unspeakably real. But because we are not, and can read the words of panic, and see the wailing relatives on grainy, uploaded reality footage, and know that it is not a snuff film, presented as "death in the lens", there is an uncanny realness that goes beyond theorizations of the simulacra. It is not uncanny in the sense that it is unreal; it is uncanny in the sense that it takes a medium of representation (YouTube, a normally all-too-surreal site) and forces it to be real in our minds. It is not just a depressing news reel. Looking at the video of Neda's death, I felt actual fear for myself being shot in the street. It is as if after nights and nights of hearing the neighbors get into a physical fight, one night the wall is transparent, and you can actually see them beating each other. Anybody with any sense knows that such violent crimes happen everywhere, all around the world, on a daily basis. But this is one happening NOW, and RIGHT IN FRONT OF US.
But of course it isn't actually happening live--Tehran is some twelve hours ahead of my location in time, and so I see the video after it has been uploaded, during my day time, while it may be 2AM in Tehran. It is part of the cyber-time extension--in which other places and times become co-extensive with my reality because I can access them so easily, in such "at will" format.
The problem is, there is little I can actually do. I can't go into the streets (protesting in front of an embassy is clearly not the same thing), and although one can do a bit to further the message, it is up to the people of Iran now.
I wonder what they will do. The pundits compare it to the '79 revolution--they take the shouts of "Allah Akbar" as the secret password: it is something to do with a rising spirit of Islam. Maybe a Islam different than other Islams the pundits have identified previously, but they are the Other, still.
I think it must be different. The Iranians are the ones holding the stones, but they know, regardless of what they might think about it, that we are behind them. When have the Iranians ever had the world behind them? Even if the people are defeated, or co-opted, or dissuaded, or killed, people do not forget things like this. Being assaulted by the state is not something you forget. The people are conscious of themselves, both in victory, and in defeat. When the Basiji shot Neda, they killed only one person, but they shot at millions of people. I've seen comparisons (by Americans, mind you) between Iran and 9/11. The people's wounds are the people's wounds--and like I said, the people do not easily forget.
Twitter and it's ilk, may not be the best reporting tools in the world. This may not be journalism at all. The networks are plagued by overzealous retweeters, misinformation, provocateurs, and just plain old spam. But you know what is exactly like that? A street protest. Nobody know's what is going on, but when that black line of cops starts advancing, you feel the electricity in the air. Nobody knows what's happening, but as they said once, everyone knows which way the wind is blowing.
So is this the cyber-time consciousness of the people? Are we linked in, not to information or social networks, but the mass itself? Only history will truly say, and by that time, it's really unimportant. But it is something to think about. There are right and wrong ways of doing many things. But think about the next protest, with a Twitter network dump channel, set-up in advance, showing anyone with an Internet connection what it looks like to get spit on by a cop, or get sworn at by some crazy anti-immigration protester. It's a pretty far shot from a coherent organization strategy, but it is a sort of consciousness. And consciousness might be the thing missing from activist movements for some time now.
But regardless of what it might be in the future, I know what it is now. This is consciousness; this is a way to not forget.
Predictions for 2012
5 years ago