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SPORTS ILLUSTRASIAN: Iran "Retires" Four National Team Soccer Players, aka On Second Thought, It’s Not Easy Being Green
You know how it’s been really easy to show your support for pro-democracy protesters in Iran by “going green” on Facebook and Twitter? Not so for Iranians themselves, particularly the six Iranian footballers who wore green wristbands in last week’s World Cup qualifier against South Korea in Seoul, which ended in a 1-1 draw and stopped Iran’s advance in the tourney. (Surprised Ahmadinejad didn’t declare a win there, too.)
Four of the six players–Ali Karimi (pictured), Mehdi Mahdavikia, Hosein Ka’abi, and Vahid Hashemian–have since been forcibly “retired” from the sport and are forbidden from giving media interviews. What’s happened to the remaining two is still unknown, but none of the soccer team’s passports were returned upon their arrival back in Iran.
And Ahmadinejad calls himself a football fan. Pish.
Hails from: Tehran, Iran
Known for: Sharing images with the world. While walking to Tehran’s Freedom Square for a demonstration Saturday, this young woman and fellow protesters were stopped and beaten by Iranian paramilitary forces. Though she had recently wept over the fallen body of fellow protester and the weekend’s public martyr, Neda, the 19-year-old woman made a risky decision to trick the officer accosting her into believing that she surrendered her digital photos of the protest on a disk. Instead, she escaped with the images and shared them immediately with CNN.
See more of her photographs (and catch repeats of her phone interview) on CNN‘s live news broadcast. A selection of the photos is also available here.
Like us, you’ve probably been following what’s been happening in Iran over the last week–a stolen election, the violent government crackdown on pro-democracy protesters–and thought, WTF. But thanks in part to technology, you don’t have to be a helpless spectator like you might have been in the past. Here are a few simple things, via the Utne Reader, that you can do to show your support for the protesters.
1. Provide Cover: If you are Twittering about events in Iran from outside Iran, you have the luxury of not worrying about that knock on the door. Not so for Iranians. There is a movement afoot to provide cover for Iranian cyber-dissent by changing your Twitter profile to match the time zone and location of the Iranians brave enough to tweet the updates and calls to action. To do this, simply open the settings page and select “GMT+03:30 Tehran” and change your location to Tehran, Iran.
2. Change Your Facebook Picture: We did! It’s a small thing, but a show of support on Facebook is something Iranians can see, so long as the government doesn’t shut down the internet completely.
3. Spread the Stories: Iran is a deeply misunderstood place. Stereotypes abound and are typified by the front page of today’s New York Post, which featured a photo from the protests and the headline: TURBAN WARFARE. Powerful narratives are emerging from inside Iran. Put them in your Twitter feed, on your Facebook page, on your blog, or send them out via email. The best place to find these narratives is over at Andrew Sullivan’s Atlantic blog The Daily Dish or through a Twitter search for tweets about Iran.
Read our friend Reza Aslan’s blog post over at The Daily Beast, “Iran’s Military Coup,” about the scary implications of this stolen election. And finally, show your solidarity by wearing green. This takes zero effort and, besides, green is an awesome color. And these days, it’s also the color of freedom.