There are so many journalists rising to the occasion during the Teheran protests, but Roger Cohen, reporting from Teheran has done outstandingly sensitive, nuanced reporting. Today, he writes about Iran on the edge of anarchy and dissolution. At least some of the security forces seem to be teetering, not sure where there loyalty should lie:
The Iranian police commander, in green uniform, walked up Komak Hospital Alley with arms raised and his small unit at his side. “I swear to God,” he shouted at the protesters facing him, “I have children, I have a wife, I don’t want to beat people. Please go home.”
Imagine the conundrum this officer has to face. If he continues to beat his fellow citizens he will have his conscience to blame him. If he abandons his post he will lose his job and possibly be hounded by a regime he betrayed.
Here is another particularly moving passage:
Later, we moved north, tentatively, watching the police lash out from time to time, reaching Victory Square where a pitched battle was in progress. Young men were breaking bricks and stones to a size for hurling. Crowds gathered on overpasses, filming and cheering the protesters. A car burst into flames. Back and forth the crowd surged, confronted by less-than-convincing police units.
I looked up through the smoke and saw a poster of the stern visage of Khomeini above the words, “Islam is the religion of freedom.”
Later, as night fell over the tumultuous capital, gunfire could be heard in the distance. And from rooftops across the city, the defiant sound of “Allah-u-Akbar” — “God is Great” — went up yet again, as it has every night since the fraudulent election. But on Saturday it seemed stronger. The same cry was heard in 1979, only for one form of absolutism to yield to another. Iran has waited long enough to be free.
May the Lord (or whatever power you wish to address) bless and keep them.
I wonder how he manages to keep writing w/o getting kicked out. Today’s is another excellent one in a series of them.
Life and Death in Tehran