As the Iranian government and entities around the world with various vested interests begin to pronounce the Iranian "crisis easing," what is happening on the ground in Tehran is anybody's guess. Iranian authorities continue their brutal suppression of dissent: killing, beating, and arresting demonstrators, shutting down websites, confiscating or destroying computers, cameras, and cell phones, throwing journalists out of the country, and crushing any hope of first-person accounts getting out.
In the ominous and spreading silence, I fear for one voice in particular whose vivid reports I'd come to rely on. A twitter feed by the name of "persiankiwi."
Where is persiankiwi?
The person or persons reporting by that name fell silent on Wednesday, June 24th, 8:09 p.m. local time. Nothing has been heard from them since then, and their final tweets leave me fearing the worst:
Allah - you are the creator of all and all must return to you - Allah Akbar - #Iranelection Sea of Green8:09 PM Jun 24th from web
thank you ppls 4 supporting Sea of Green - pls remember always our martyrs - Allah Akbar - Allah Akbar - Allah Akbar #Iranelection8:06 PM Jun 24th from web
we must go - dont know when we can get internet - they take 1 of us, they will torture and get names - now we must move fast - #Iranelection8:04 PM Jun 24th from web
Everybody is under arrest & cant move - Mousavi - Karroubi even rumour Khatami is in house guard - #Iranelection -7:58 PM Jun 24th from web
they pull away the dead into trucks - like factory - no human can do this - we beg Allah for save us - #Iranelection7:53 PM Jun 24th from web
Lalezar Sq is same as Baharestan - unbelevable - ppls murdered everywhere - #Iranelection7:49 PM Jun 24th from web
they catch ppl with mobile - so many killed today - so many injured - Allah Akbar - they take one of us - #Iranelection7:48 PM Jun 24th from web
in Baharestan we saw militia with axe choping ppl like meat - blood everywhere - like butcher - Allah Akbar - #Iranelection RT RT RT7:46 PM Jun 24th from web
I am deeply worried for the life and safety of the person or persons who twittered under the name of persiankiwi, and feel like the only thing I can do to help him, her, or them--and others like them--is to make noise. Remember them. Spread the word about them. Ask the powers-that-be, "Where are they?!" Make sure that the authorities do not succeed in disappearing them without a trace.
That is why I am posting this. That is why I am changing my twitter avatar. That is why I plan to join Amnesty International and get involved with campaigns that seek the release of Iranian protestors. And I urge other projectors to do the same.
I understand there is no way to verify if persiankiwi's reports were true. I believe, however, that they were. Several were later authenticated by independent sources. As well, there is a breathless, hard-to-fake excitement--and later, distress and apprehension--running through the commentary.
Here is a sampling from the final days before persiankiwi fell silent (much more here):
reports of street fighting in Vanak Sq, Tajrish sq, Azadi Sq - now - #Iranelection - Sea of Green - Allah Akbar7:44 PM Jun 24th from web
rumour they are tracking high use of phone lines to find internet users - must move from here now - #Iranelection7:39 PM Jun 24th from web
phone line was cut and we lost internet - #Iranelection - getting more difficult to log into net - #Iranelection7:35 PM Jun 24th from web
all shops was closed - nowhere to go - they follow ppls with helicopters - smoke and fire is everywhere #Iranelection6:33 PM Jun 24th from web
ppl run into alleys and militia standing there waiting - from 2 sides they attack ppl in middle of alleys #Iranelection6:31 PM Jun 24th from web
so many ppl arrested - young & old - they take ppl away - #Iranelection - we lose our group6:29 PM Jun 24th from web
saw 7/8 militia beating one woman with baton on ground - she had no defense nothing - #Iranelection sure that she is dead6:25 PM Jun 24th from web
they were waiting for us - they all have guns and riot uniforms - it was like a mouse trap - ppl being shot like animals #Iranelection6:23 PM Jun 24th from web
I see many ppl with broken arms/legs/heads - blood everywhere - pepper gas like war - #Iranelection6:05 PM Jun 24th from web
just in from Baharestan Sq - situation today is terrible - they beat the ppls like animals - #Iranelection RT RT RT6:04 PM Jun 24th from web
Larijani pressing for Mousavi to be given airtime on IRIB to discuss elections #Iranelection RT RT RT - tahlilerooz.ir1:45 AM Jun 24th from web
Mousavi has stated 'If I am arrested or killed - strike until the Gov falls' - #Iranelection1:38 AM Jun 24th from web
Kayhan - Iranian Gov newspaper - has tonight called forthe arrest of Mousavi - #Iranelection RT RT RT1:30 AM Jun 24th from web
all hospitals is surrounded by militia to check why ppl going in - if gun or baton injury - they arrest and beat u #Iranelection10:52 PM Jun 23rd from web
all foreign embassys surrounded by militia to stop ppl going in - #Iranelection10:49 PM Jun 23rd from web
The parks in north of city are closed at night and militia attacking any ppl in park or walking in streets - #Iranelection10:48 PM Jun 23rd from web
we have report of large street battles in east & west of Tehran now - #Iranelection10:45 PM Jun 23rd from web
tomorrow Mousavi annouce start of a new type of protests - peaceful and silent - soon there will be strikes #Iranelection10:42 PM Jun 23rd from web
the only question now is how will the end happen - peacefully or with civil war - #Iranelection10:40 PM Jun 23rd from web
the ppl have lost all faith in this Gov - Iran can never be same as b4 again - #Iranelection10:39 PM Jun 23rd from web
all normal life in Iran has stopped - now everybody only talk about Sea of Green and rumours of how Khamenei will go - #Iranelection10:38 PM Jun 23rd from web
We can hear ppl shouting from balcony right now 'Allah Akbar - death to Khamenei' - #Iranelection10:36 PM Jun 23rd from web
everywhere is road blocks and fires and sometime u hear guns shooting - #Iranelection10:32 PM Jun 23rd from web
We have just returned and outside the city sky is full of teh sounds of 'Allah Akbar' from ppls on balconys - #Iranelection10:29 PM Jun 23rd from web
we must log off for a few hours - going to streets to see what is happening - #Iranelection thank u7:41 PM Jun 23rd from web
yesterday we saw a 10 years old child die from teargas in his face - #Iranelection - could not film becos militia everywhere6:57 PM Jun 23rd from web
travelling thru Tehran now is worse than Bagdad - any moment u can be beaten or arrested - #Iranelection6:56 PM Jun 23rd from web
some embassys provided protection b4 but now they are all surrounded by militia - also if u are injured then they arrest u - #Iranelection6:54 PM Jun 23rd from web
also one of us is badly injured and we cannot take to hospital - treating with trusted doctor contacts but needs hosp - #Iranelection6:33 PM Jun 23rd from web
We are having difficulty getting updates to u as so many of our contacts been arrested - life here is v/v/dangerous now #Iranelection RT RT6:31 PM Jun 23rd from web