Tehran Tweets: Mourning Michael Amid the Crisis

  • Share
  • Read Later

Jackson performs his hit "Billie Jean" in 1983

The Iranian regime's media restrictions have forced many foreign journalists to hang on every tweet out of Tehran for real-time news on Iran's biggest political crisis in 30 years. The VoiceofIran Twitter feed has provided up-to-the-minute accounts of demonstrations, attacks by basij vigilantes, helicopters descending over the protests, and the latest arrests. But on Friday, Iran's twitter revolutionaries took time to mourn the King of Pop. "Just woke up to the news of Michael Jackson's sudden death, can't believe it. I feel so sad," the twitterer wrote, his message just one in a torrent about the entertainer.

Of course, Iran's protesters had more immediate concerns, as they scrambled Friday to send up thousands of green balloons tied to an image of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, to signal their refusal to give up in the face of a brutal crackdown. VoiceofIran sent out an SOS about needing helium, but two tweets later, felt compelled to return to the passing of Jackson, writing, "No matter what he did and who he was, he's a legend that we won't see again."

Another feed, IranRiggedElection attached the Jackson video "They Don't Care About Us" to a message saying the song fit Iran's plight. "RIP Michael Jackson, many in Iran loved you and grew up with your songs, despite all the Regime's confinements and propaganda."

The Persianq feed followed a message listing the names of those killed, injured, arrested or detained in Iran with a message attaching Jackson's video "Heal the World." But in a poignant plea, IranDemokratia tweeted that Jacksons' death "is a great gift 4 the Iranian Gov because now the Headlines & worlds attention might move." A later message beseeched, "Michael Jackson RIP. But we should not forget that in Iran people are dying continuously because of a fight for freedom!"