I got an email from a fella Twitter/Facebook warrior the other day, announcing that he had posted his “personal anti IRI demonstration” video on YouTube. Turns out that he and a few of his cyber vigilante friends held demonstrations in the basement of his house in Los Angles which included shouting anti IRI slogans and dancing to a pro green movement rap music followed by burning Khamanie’s posters (faces were blurred for fear of reprisal).
As I was watching this so-called private demonstration, I wondered how my fellow Iranians inside Iran feel about this. I’m talking about the same guys and gals, out there in the streets with rocks in their pockets and fire in their bellies, knuckles bleeding, eyes full of teargas, putting their lives on the line, mixing it up with the coldhearted beasts we know as the Basijis. I wondered how much of a pussy do we expats look to them. Just a thought.
I then remembered, as early as last February, my very same friend had gone to Iran in a five-week fact-finding expedition (translation: looking for a bride). Being unemployed and surely capable of entering Iran with no complications, I wondered why wasn’t he going back to help the movement, instead of fighting the fight in the basement of his LA residence.
History is full of instances where expats returned home to be a part of something great. French and Italian expats returned home to fight German occupation during the Second World War. Jews in large numbers moved to Israel, some leaving behind great jobs to defend their newly established homeland. I wondered what makes us Iranian expats different. Surely a good number of us in the US and chiefly in Canada and Europe are underemployed and mooch off the social services of our hosting countries. The question is: how many of us are actually willing to leave the keyboard behind and return to Iran to be a part of these historic times?
I had no choice but to pick up the phone and call my buddy to get some answers.
My friend explained that he was thrilled with his YouTube posting and got great response from his friends and family. He predicted that IRI was going to demise in a few months. He added that his protest was symbolic and the part of a growing wave of cyber discontent with the IRI. He noted that we all should be involved and pay our dues.
“Pay our dues?!” I asked. He said that every little thing helps. I certainly agree.
Now it was time for the big question. I asked him why wasn’t he going back home to physically partake in anti IRI demonstrations. My friend paused.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
I explained that demonstrating from the basement of his house is a bit silly, considering that he is young, able and has nothing going on at the moment.
His answer surprised me. What was I thinking?
“Dude, are you crazy? The internet is way too slow in Iran.”