Nutcase Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is trying to connect unrest to Obama and America, after so vociferously accusing the Brits of meddling that they've pretty much quit the country (we've not been there officially since Iran's "students" gave our embassy staff the invitation to stay indefinitely).
He has no other choice, really. As the spokesmodel for a totalitarian theocracy, his job is to keep the people in a constant state of fear, and thus the state constantly at war. There's just no good explanation for the direct experiences and subsequent posts, tweets, and vids of violent repression unless:
- The victims were really the perpetrators, and
- The government was protecting everyone else
It's wacky logic, but it's nothing new. The Nazis and Soviets used the strategy to turn much of the 20th Century into a mindless bloodbath. The North Koreans are doing it right now, as are many of the more petty, but no less evil dictators who haunt the people of Africa.
It's a social strategy, too, in that it depends not as much on enforcement as it does on complicity; sure, there are the KGB, brownshirts, and Basij thugs who carry and use the guns and clubs, but it's the wider, general awareness of their existence that vests a citizenry in tolerating, and thereby maintaining, the Status Quo. A specific instance of violence or other crime becomes less shocking because people sort of knew it could happen, or that it had already happened before.
This makes them at least passive supporters of a regime, in that they share a risk that any revelation of its crimes would reveal their guilt, too, whether prosecutable, or simply moral. They might be desensitized to the evil, but they are unable to disassociate themselves from it.
This is how dictatorships socialize their control.
This explains why all the tweets documenting the horrible events in Iran didn't really change anybody's actions, and why Ahmadinejad's lastest mad rants probably will: neither is a surprise. Both fit into the ongoing narrative that everyone already knew. Sure, terrible things happened, but foreign agitators were behind it. They had to be.
There's a bigger social milieu that goes beyond the mechanisms of chatting and sharing also explains why conversation itself is powerless to change this sort of Status Quo, irrespective of how advanced or engaging the social tools might be. People can't talk themselves out of it. Only force works, either directed from outside (as in the Allies bombing Germany into rubble, so it simply couldn’t fight anymore), or inside (the Soviet system no longer able to feed, clothe, or house its people).
From what I hear, the economics within Iran are not good, so maybe it's inching toward a collapse a la East Germany. Depressed oil prices are probably far more important to the future of that country than Twitter or Facebook.