How the Green Movement mobilized social media in the interest of social change.
A sense of euphoria and unprecedented freedom dominated national politics during the presidential campaigns in Iran in the spring of 2009. In the course of the thirty-year history of the theocratic state, no one could remember another time when Iranian state television had broadcast such lively debates among the presidential candidates.
Six years ago today Iranians went to the polls to elect a new president. Millions believe that their votes were never counted.
After leaving a rally for the then-sitting president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Time magazine correspondent Joe Klein described a crowd of tens of thousands: “They began to filter in to downtown,” he recalled. The Ahmadinejad rally was ending around the same time that the reformist leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s rally was also finishing up. Mousavi’s supporters made their way downtown, flooding the streets and squares. The scene, as Klein recalled it with obvious awe, was one of camaraderie, of playfulness. Describing the intermingling of the two camps, Klein observed, “they were just kind of joking with each other. It seemed as if someone had opened a magic door and an entire country had spilled out.”
This wasn’t just a feeling. Things looked lively too. Color was everywhere. Campaign paraphernalia, campaign headquarters, and campaigners themselves were clearly differentiated using predesigned graphic coding based on the colors of their chosen candidate’s campaign.