Norooz: The Opposition Grows
The Persian (pre-Muslim) New Year, Norooz, has always stuck in the craw of the Islamic Republic, especially the fire festival, featuring people leaping through bonfires to ritually cleanse themselves of the physical and spiritual aches and pains of the winter. The festival is officially banned, both because of the Zoroastrian heresy it represents and because it brings together large numbers of people, which the regime of course fears, lest it take on political overtones.
So they forbid it, thereby automatically giving political significance to any celebration.
So the enemies of the regime turn out for the celebration, and tonight there was a lot of action all over the country, as you can see from these videos. These are the early reports, and some of them may turn out to be from past years, but I have received first-hand testimony that jibes with the pictures. The regime cannot feel good about tonight, and for two reasons:
--First, a lot of people sneered at the ban;
--Second, there were new people in the streets, workers from, for example, southern neighborhoods of Tehran. The regime had deployed its thugs in the northern and western (middle class) areas of the capital--that is where most of the demonstrators have come from ever since the phony elections of June, 2009--but they were not expecting trouble from the workers.
This is further evidence that the Greens' base is larger than the regime imagines, and you can be sure the leaders of the Revolutionary Guards, the Basij, and the various intelligence organizations are looking for workable countermeasures. But the more territory they have to cover, the more difficult it becomes for them to use the "Chinese" method of trying to drown the protesters in a sea of security forces. They have already had to deploy young boys in the streets, and there are some reports today that female prisoners were armed and in the streets.
It's tough being the supreme leader of a country that hates you.