While we were all blacking out on champagne and making out with the nearest thing with lips and a pulse this NYE weekend, some major shit has been going down over in Iran. Protests have been building for five days with no signs of slowing down, and everyone and their mother is talking and tweeting about them, so it’s time to pay attention. Was your New Year’s resolution to start giving a shit about the world? Or just to get a little more #cultured so you can impress the hot International Relations major you met at Soul Cycle last week? Great, let’s begin.
WTF Are The Protests About?
The largest protests in Iran since 2009 broke out a few days ago when a large majority of the Iranian public decided they were fed up with their corrupt AF government. One major driving factor behind these protests is the poor distribution of, as Lil’ Wayne would say, moolah baby. Many people in Iran are scraping together pennies to pay rent and put gas in their cars, while government officials including the president, Hassan Rouhani, and Supreme Ruler, Ali Khamenei, are decidedly super not poor. What kind of assholery is calling yourself “Supreme Ruler” of anything? (Looking at you too, Kimmy J Un). If you want people to hate you less, maybe don’t rub your insane wealth and power in their face while they struggle to afford basic necessities. Just a thought.
The people are PTFO that more economic growth has not been seen after sanctions were lifted under the Iran Nuclear Deal passed by Obama in 2015. Many Iranians think that the government should be spending more money taking care of its citizens and communities, instead of using it to intervene in Syria and Lebanon. The unemployment rate in Iran is also at 12.4%, with a large majority of the unemployed being recent university graduates, so a sizable chunk of the protesters fall into the “angry Millennials with no job” category. Join the fucking club, guys. If I knew I could have protested the 4 unpaid internships I had to endure post-grad, you bet your ass I would never have commuted an hour every day just to bring coffee to bosses who didn’t remember my name and didn’t hire me after months of kissing ass for “networking opportunities and job skills.”
How Bad Is It?
While the protests originally began peacefully, shit is escalating quickly. Some of the gatherings have gotten really violent, with at least a dozen dead and tons more injured. Police are even divided, with some getting v aggressive and resorting to weapons use to break up demonstrations, and others actually abandoning their duties and joining forces with the protesters. *cue Wildcats*
The Iranian government is naturally PO’ed that people are taking to the streets to talk shit about them, and have committed the most heinous sin of all: blocking social media. A lot of the organization efforts for the protests are being discussed and coordinated over social media platforms like Instagram and Telegram (a messaging app). Telegram’s CEO already shut down pages that explicitly mentioned use of force or violence, but it was reported on Monday that many Iranians experienced a massive internet outage and were blocked from accessing these apps at all. That’s censorship, and it’s some government power-abuse bullshit. They may take our lives, but they’ll NEVER. TAKE. OUR. INSTA STORIES.
What Are People Saying?
President Rouhani made a statement defending the people’s right to peacefully protest, but saying that the protests should not make anyone fear for their own safety. Meanwhile, Iran’s Ministry of Information is cracking down on arrests and threatening that any protesters participating in illegal activity will be “seriously dealt with.” Over in our neck of the woods, personalities from all political parties and differing opinions are shockingly on the same side for once. Politicians like Hillary, Bernie, Pence, Mitt Romney, John McCain and more are all tweeting words of support for the Iranian people trying to take back their freedom and promote democracy and a better future under an unfair government.
And thennnnn there’s Trump. You didn’t think he would let a major international event occur without his unwelcome and idiotic commentary, did you? The Donald surprisingly tweeted his support for the citizens protesting in Iran, but not without taking a dig at Obama and his “failed” deal in the process. Just when you thought this could have been a moment of rare sense and understanding leaking out of his soupy brain, Rouhani clapped back that Trump has no right to offer any support when he “has forgotten that he had called the Iranian people ‘terrorists’ a few months ago.” Lesson learned – Rouhani will hang onto those receipts and drag your hypocritical ass, because even when you’re trying to do something noble, you inevitably fuck it up for everyone.
Iran to Trump:
Here’s hoping that that the protests get the job done and make the government wake up to the demands of the Iranian people with as little violent collateral as possible. Maybe 2018 will be the year of governments working together with their citizens to reach common goals and peace and unity. Or maybe pigs will fly and I’ll lose 10 pounds and win a million dollars on a scratch-off lotto ticket. Dream big.
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