By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

“This is genocide. This is Hitler.”

Terrible news from Iran. (Warning: extremely graphic and disturbing photo.)

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  1. Eric Baumann

    somebody needs to step in and do something about this…they are axing people on the streets?! really?! i don't know how long the world can just sit back and hope that the situation sorts itself out…

  2. O-FISH-L

    If you think that the Iranian regime is dangerous with a hatchet, wait until they have a nuclear weapon. That's next, especially with this nod from Obama during his recent Cairo speech, "I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons."To paraphrase Vice President Biden, "Obama's going to be tested in the first six months and it's not going to be apparent that he's right." Not apparent at all, Joe.

  3. mkelly1971

    Not to be the buzzkill here, but we're all aware that none of this is verifiable, correct? The photo could be from anywhere and the phone call is just hearsay. I'm well aware of the draconian media restrictions in Iran, and I don't doubt that a bunch of Islamist thugs– who really are just unemployed, sexually repressed men– are capable of what the woman caller was describing. But we have no proof in this website that it is true. Anything could be happening over there.

  4. Dan Kennedy

    mkelly1971: Check the nooze. Click around. It fits with what's being reported today by the New York Times and the Guardian. You're right that the photo and the woman's call can't be verified. You're wrong to say, "Anything could be happening over there." We've actually got a pretty good idea of what's happening.

  5. lkcape

    Brutal, repressive, inhuman.But neither genocide yet, nor at the level of a Hitler.

  6. HNG

    I don't remember seeing this level of concern on this blog regarding Sri Lanka or Zimbabwe, for example. There are worse things going on around the world today.

  7. mike_b1

    And this is worse than Darfur or Somalia or Afghanistan or Texas how? Years ago, Mr. Wheelchair columnist/chickenhawk/Dean of the Right Charles Krauthead wrote in Time that it's "OK to slay your dragons one at a time."Seems to me, with Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, Texas, etc., the US has enough dragons on its plate. Governments kill their citizens. Anyone ever heard of Kent State? What do you chickenhawks want to do? Nuke 'em?

  8. Robin Edgar

    Presumably this is the "bloodshed and chaos" that Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei pretended that the protesters would be responsible for in his "sermon" last Friday. . . Ultimately Allah will judge who is *really* responsible for this "bloodshed and chaos" and Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and all those who participated in this "bloodshed and chaos" just might find themselves on the wrong end of that divine judgment.

  9. O'Rion

    One feels sorry for them, but what do you expect from your average Middle East theocracy? I fail to see how this becomes a domestic dilemma for Obama, driven by a taken news media.

  10. Michael Pahre

    I'm not disputing the photo/injury per se, but I did hear the Rachel Maddow show's report tonight in which she quoting two competing accounts of the events in that square today. One specifically said that it was not a massacre (although agreeing there was one death). If I remember correctly, this alternate report said that the police were behaving more reasonably, but that some basij militia were out of control.Be careful of jumping to comparisons to genocide or Hitler (or even reporting when someone else makes the comparison). It's bad enough just describing the events in Iran for what they are without drawing an inaccurate comparison.

  11. Dan Kennedy

    Michael: What's happening in Iran is neither genocide nor Hitlerian. My headline is a direct quote from the caller to CNN. But when people are being killed by axe-swinging goons, the finer points don't matter all that much.

  12. Robin Edgar

    It occurs to me now that this provides a rather blunt answer to the ever so "diplomatic" questions that UUA President Bill Sinkford posed to a delegation of high level Iranian officials, including Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and the Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammad Khazaee during the fateful meeting of Wednesday September 24, 2008 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City organized by the Fellowship of Reconciliation. "The reports we receive about the treatment of women and political dissidents in Iran raise questions and concerns for us. Is Iran moving towards allowing its citizens more freedom of choice and affiliation? Is the government working towards equality for women in public life? Are protections being created for citizens who identify with different political parties, religious beliefs, and sexual orientations?"N'est-ce pas?What is outgoing UUA President Bill Sinkford saying about the situation in Iran now? Not bloody much from what I can see. . .

  13. zadig

    Hate to be contrary, but we don't have a good track record of "helping" foreign countries liberate themselves from dictators. Plus, any liberation will be more lasting and meaningful if the people of Iran rise up (as some are doing) and grab it for themselves, than if some foreign power jumps in to get it for them.I hate the violence and I hate the desperately vicious religious leaders who are clinging to power, but if the Iranians themselves don't overthrow their asses, I don't see how it will last.Obama's doing the right thing, as hard as that is to watch.

  14. Bill H.

    To Eric and Fish: Just what do you want Obama to do? We're already fighting two wars in the Middle East, and with mixed success. Our armed forces are stretched way too thin for our own security and there's no end in sight. There's also no taste among our allies–or among Americans, either– for a military incursion into Iran. NO Iranian of any political persuasion has asked for U.S. intervention. So what are you proposing?

  15. O-FISH-L

    Bill, how would you know what any Iranian wants -politician or otherwise- since all legal communication has been cutoff and great pains have been taken to protect the identity of anyone who has been able to smuggle information? Please.As for what Obama should do, a WSJ column last week by Dan Senor and Christian Whiton listing five ways Obama can help freedom in Iran is a good start. Summarized, the column says BHO should:1) Contact opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi to express our interest in the situation and his safety. If Mousavi thinks this would hurt more than help, he can refuse the call.2) Deliver a taped message to the dissidents acknowledging that the regime lacks the consent of the people and asking how we can help.3) Direct US diplomats in Europe and the Gulf to meet with Iranian ex-pats, a powerful symbolic move and an opportunity to develop intelligence.4) Additional funding for Radio Farda, providing Iranians with news and info denied them by the regime.5) Providing technological support, from web access to airborne US military television studios that would allow the dissidents to communicate with each other, similar to the photocopiers and fax machines that we provided to Solidarity in the 80's.

  16. Bill Baar

    O-Fish,Mousavi has posted what his movement wants… google around…use google persian translate…

  17. mkelly1971

    Dan: I do check the nooze. I do click around. I do have a pretty good idea of what's going on over there. And if you don't think some people over there *might* try to sensationalize the brutality even more, to stoke further outrage… well, check your history. Click around. You'll see that some people do. All I'm saying is that we can't confirm this URL is not doing the same.And spell news correctly when you're trying to criticize. Otherwise you just sound patronizing.

  18. David Rogers

    I agree with mkelly, you were patronizing by misspelling news. I also think you have a tendency to be patronizing in general. But sincerely, I appreciate what you're doing here.

  19. Dan Kennedy

    Oh, please. Not trying to patronize anyone but my local coffee shop.

  20. bostonmediawatch

    That phone call sounds like a plant.Especially the part about "YOU should stop this…"

  21. Tim Allik

    Where does the pull quote come from: "This is genocide, this is Hitler?" I don't see it in the article and I don't believe it to be a valid analogy. "This is Kent State: This is Nixon" would be more appropriate, although I wouldn't go there either. I support the Greens in Iran 100 percent. But my B.S. detector goes up whenever I see a Hitler analogy these days, especially after the military-industrial neocons in the Bush II administration exploited it repeatedly in an effort to goad the war-weary American public into fighting yet another war, this time with Iran.

  22. Dan Kennedy

    Tim: As I said in an earlier comment, it's a quote taken directly from the woman's phone call. No, it's neither genocide nor Hitler. But it doesn't matter when it's your friends who are getting axes plunged into their hearts.

  23. Michael Pahre

    Dan, I do think that it matters when you take a direct quotation and put it into your story or blog post.You're too good a journalist to take the position, "I'm just sayin' is all." If you believe that a direct quotation (comparing to Hitler and genocide) is far-fetched, then you should not put it in your story — unless you are prepared to offer up a fair analysis of it.People say outlandish things all the time, but reporters don't report it. People are also likely to offer up particularly strong language when they see someone being slaughtered unjustly. But journalists necessarily exercise some discretion in choosing which direct quotations to use in their story.Just because she said those particular words doesn't mean that you should have reported it. You were accurate in correctly quoting her, but I believe that you were being unfair as a journalist in using a quotation (without qualification) that you believed to be false.

  24. Dan Kennedy

    Michael: What she said was technically wrong, but it was hardly "outlandish" given what is unfolding in Iran right now. We're all pretty smart here. We know that Iranians putting the axe to Iranians isn't genocide, and we know that Khamenei isn't Hitler. What she said carried great emotional truth, and it speaks for itself.

  25. matteomht

    What she said carried great emotion. But as others here have noted, we can't confirm it's the truth. My problem is that the website carrying this information pretty much lets it stand as gospel. Other sites trying to follow Iran right now, like the Lede in the NYT, do a respectable job warning folks that all this is *probably* true but can't be confirmed. It's sloppy journalism, and just because it's emotionally gripping and those suffering in Iran deserve all the help we can get, that doesn't mean it's OK.

  26. bob gardner

    For more disturbing photos google "US air-raid kills over 100 civilians in Farah". Then ask–which ones could Obama have prevented?

  27. Robin Edgar

    Dan,I hate to have to say so but your saying -"Oh, please. Not trying to patronize anyone but my local coffee shop."Comes across as being just a tad patronizing itself. . . 🙂

  28. Dan Kennedy

    Robin: Yes, indeed. Definition #3.

  29. Robin Edgar

    Actually I was thinking more in terms of definition 2 – to adopt an air of condescension toward : treat haughtily or coollyNever been a fan of the expression "Oh, please." which definitely comes across as haughty and/or condescending AFAIAC.Back to the subject at hand I listened to the Radio Australia documentary 'Oil, democracy and a CIA coup' on CBC late last night and found that it presented some rather disturbing parallels between what is happening in Iran today and the CIA orchestrated coup of 1953. Hopefully there aren't any contemporary Kermit Roosevelt's contributing to the "bloodshed and chaos" in Iran today. Wish I could feel reassured about that but I don't. . .

  30. Robin Edgar

    Meant to mention that that link to the Radio Australia documentary goes directly to a 13.8 MB mp3 file download of the full half hour or so radio documentary. . . Presumably most people's computers and internet connections can deal with that now.

  31. O-FISH-L

    Perhaps the quote was misinterpreted. I think she may have said, "This is genocide. This is Tiller."

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