R.U. Sirius’ best of 2009 list, I felt, was missing one critical piece: the Iranian Green Revolution. It isn’t over yet and it may not be a success in its current iteration, but remains one of the best proofs of the power of communication technology to undermine a brutal regime. The beauty of the situation is that it is 1984 in reverse, the digital panopticon being hijacked and used against itself.

Twitter, digital cameras, YouTube, MMS, blogs, email, VoIP, and IM are being used to expose the open fascism of the Iranian coup. All of these technologies are available on most modern cellphones, at our thumb-tips. The Iranians, no strangers to tech or the web, are fighting back against their oppressors by doing the most vicious thing possible: exposing them. Every day waves of citizen-journalists, chronicling their own lives as evidence of tyranny, send their stories into cyberspace. A few good websites are working to aggregate and articulate these stories into a coherent narrative.

With the power of a simple device in their pockets – a device developed by capitalism and popularized by a materialist, consumer culture obsessed with gadgetry and the next-big-thing – the Iranian people trying to take their republic back. That, in my mind, is a great thing.

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