World Watching

A distant nation my community
And a street person my responsibility
If I have a care in the world
I have a gift to bring

Now I know a refuge never grows
From a chin in a hand
And a thoughtful pose
Gotta tend the earth
If you want a rose
~ "Hammer and a Nail," Indigo Girls

Amidst the vacation prep and the Will-tending (Guess who ate sweet potato casserole the other day? Here’s a hint… it wasn’t me!) and the domestic-goddess activities and half-marathon training (I’m engaging my core in my sleep and might just turn into a protein shake) I’ve become captivated and transfixed with my Twitter feed, which is giving me first hand updates from people living out the post-election unrest in Iran right now.

Welcome to the way the world does conflict, 21st century style.

Ban Western journalists? OK.

Shut down newspapers and web sites? Fine.

The information and message gets out another way.

I’ve set up a group on my TweetDeck for just the Tweets coming out of Iran. What a picture it paints. Each 140-character blip might be personal messages, talking to perhaps friends and/or family (these are more often than not in Arabic); information passed on from other sources; first hand accounts of action, activity, atrocity.

RT @alirezasha I love my country with all harsh critics that I have, with everything! thats all and I hate violence//ppl now need trust, just trust!

RT @smileofcrash Our demand: Give back our internet/SMS/phones and we'll stop DDoS your sites #iranelection

RT @persiankiwi do NOT follow any instructions on twitter except from the trusted sources - cont...... #Iranelection

This is not a scripted action adventure for the big screen. This is not a semi-scripted reality piece of television entertainment tripe.

This is real. Happening now. And unfolding literally before my eyes.

My bleeding heart hippy-dippy liberalism is spread in full peacock-feather array. I’m virtually waving my Amnesty International membership card and listening to stuff like the Indigo Girls (“Hammer and a Nail” anyone?) and Tracy Chapman. Turned my Twitter avatar green in solidarity. And passing along information, both critical and merely interesting, whenever I can.

It’s not much. But it’s something.

Nearly 20 years ago, I sat transfixed, watching the green glow of bombs pop neon against the dark Baghdad sky as the Gulf War progressed in real time. (And by the way – Arthur Kent. Totally deserving of his Scud Stud moniker. Dude was hot. Shut up.) Just as Dan Rather and the dinnertime reports from Vietnam had done a generation before, CNN changed the way world events were portrayed with nonstop live coverage of a war hours and miles away.

And now things have evolved yet again – we’re at the advent of interactive world events. I’m all set to send my Iranian Twitter follows short messages of support and thanks – not much, but it’s something. (Twitter’s down right at the moment for scheduled maintenance, rescheduled to happen in the wee small hours Tehran time so as to provide as little interruption as possible for those using it to communicate.)

It really is a small world after all.

Even in 140 character bites.

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.
~ T. Jefferson

1 comment:

Ruprecht said...

When technology goes right .....