This past Friday, Presidential elections were held in Iran for what promised to be a tight race between reformist candidate Mir Hussein Moussavi and incumbent President Ahamadinejad. Last week, young people marched through the streets of Tehran wearing bright green (a color associated with Moussavi) flashing smiles and peace signs. On Friday, before voting had even ended, President Ahamadinejad was declared the winner, in an unlikely landslide.
Over the weekend, young people have taken to the streets and faced police brutality, a government shut down of technology, and the realization that those who had power deemed their votes meaningless. On Sunday, authorities stormed Tehran University killing a handful of students with many more declared missing. As events transpire, Twitter has became a tool of revolution, and Monday, hundreds of thousands of Iranians marched through the streets of Tehran declaring, 'I will fight, I will die, I will get my vote back.'
In some senses, the conflict in Iran isn’t about us, but in many more it is. What’s happening there is reflective of a global generational shift, where the young are being faced with, and seizing, the opportunity to do something real. Atlantic Blogger Andrew Sullivan noted the correlation:
“The key force behind this is the next generation, the Millennials, who elected Obama in America and may oust Ahmadinejad in Iran. They want freedom; they are sick of lies; they enjoy life and know hope.”
He’s talking about us. That spirit evident in the actions of young Iranians maintains the same character, the same belief in decency and humanity that brought young people to the polls in America. So tonight, we might ask ourselves what we would have done if Barack Obama had lost.
Think about it…
It’s a reality check based on a question we’ll never have to answer. What we do need to decide is given that, what will we be...what we will we do with this opportunity. Each of must decide if we’re willing and ready to embrace an obligation, to dare to face the world with every intention of changing it.
If you supported President Obama you’ll remember that he didn’t just ask for our votes but our help. If you didn’t, it should in no way discourage you from being part of something bigger, a moment where this generation might step up to insist that we’re not done yet.
I'll be blogging here weekly--so email me or comment with your ideas or thoughts, what matters to you, what would you like to see me cover, what makes you hopeful or discouraged. It might not seem like much, an ongoing discussion on a blog. Yet fundamentally, I truly believe that the question isn't whether young people are speaking out, it's wheter we're speaking up. So please- speak up, it's our best way of showing solidarity with the young people abroad who must overcome far more for even that chance.