Iran: The Twitter Revolution
In May 2009 I travelled to Iran for Elle magazine, a few days before the presidential elections. Apart from fatigue of the policies of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, nothing foreshadowed the violence that followed the results. The people we met told us that opposition to the regime was first expressed through short text messages. Cell phones were the first tool of resistance.
But when demonstrations started it became nearly impossible to use the “traditional medium” of text messages. The new way to resist and communicate, outside the streets of Tehran, was on Twitter – people sharing details of events as they happened, exchanging pictures and shouting their anger.
Since the media were prevented from working, the only communication we had with the Iranians was through Twitter and its pixelated images taken on cell phones. Twitter remains a formidable tool of communication and freedom, but sometimes rumors are unsubstantiated and images impossible to verify.
I spent time in front of my computer to try to understand what was happening in Iran, especially during the events of 20 June when the repression turned bloody, resulting in 17 deaths.
Guillaume Herbaut / Oeil Public