There is a revolution going on in Iran, but it’s not getting the media attention it deserves. Anyone following the news isn’t getting the impression that something historical is going on, but what’s happening on the streets of Iran is revolutionary. But because it’s happening in stages, the events are often not “spectacular” enough to make headlines. And this is problematic.
While mainstream media is busy outlining the main news stories of the day (read: everything about #QatarWorldCup – except criticism), the situation in Iran has been getting grittier, and the violent response of its regime is getting more ruthless – especially in Kurdish areas. The fact that this is not news can have major consequences. Revolutions like the one in Iran move too slowly to sustain media attention, while their chances of success are largely determined by the attention we give them. And if there’s one thing regimes like to see, it’s for us to look away. And this is precisely why we mustn’t lose sight of what is happening on the streets of Iran.
Images that circulate on social media may give the impression that there is a civil war taking place, but that is not the case. This implies that citizens can resist in a balanced way, but that is impossible. Security forces of the Iranian regime are intensifying their violent crackdown on protesting citizens that can only arm themselves with smartphones and anti-censorship tools to film and spread the regime’s aggression. They are risking a lot by doing so. Besides the risk of being beaten up or shot on the street, they face torture and execution when arrested.
Maybe we don’t want to see it, but we must. Because if we don’t, it doesn’t exist, and if justice ever comes, there will be no images, no evidence of what happened. We must keep our eyes open, keep our cameras rolling, and keep asking questions. A revolution, like the one in Iran, is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s our solidarity and the realisation that we are watching that can give Iranians the needed push to hold on to their courage.