More than Twitter, it is the ubiquity of digital cameras and the democratization of video publishing that makes this revolution so different.
If it were up to CNN and the old school broadcast networks, you would have never heard of Neda, the 26-year-old Iranian girl. She was shot in the heart by Iranian Security Forces as the cell phone cameras rolled and her father stood by. More than some sophisticated Internet filtering program, these guardians of the TV screen were the real censors. They controlled the visual information pipeline. No longer.
I saw Neda die for the first time last night––from two different angles. I was at home in bed. It changed how I felt about the ongoing violence. It changed what I thought the U.S. should do. I can’t be the only one.
In Iran, Twitter is shaping events on the ground. But here in the U.S., it is YouTube and its derivatives, including LiveLeak, that will make the most impact. It is these images that will move people’s hearts. And collectively, these changes of heart — once they hit a critical mass — that will create enough domestic support for the Obama administration to intervene in the ongoing revolution.
And intutively, it seems that the Iranians on the ground know this. Look at this video. See all the cameras?
The revolution may not be televised, but it is being broadcast. And that itself is revolutionary.
Editor’s note: We’ve removed the embedded videos — and linked to them instead — for the sensitivity of our readers.