The Green Wave

Spring and summer of 2009 were a heady time for the youth of Iran. The candidacy of comeback reformist Mir-Hossein Mousavi (along with his charismatic activist wife Zahra Rahnavard) promised a blossoming of democracy and freedom not seen during the regimes of the Shah or the Islamic Republic. Green scarves and banners emerged, symbolizing the opening up of life and activism. Young men and women marched and danced in the streets and staffed polling stations for the June election. Then, when the people realized that the outcome-projected so clearly in favor of Mousavi-was manipulated to give President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a landslide victory, their fury led to massive street demonstrations. These in turn provoked a brutal government crackdown in the form of beatings, torture, and murder. As the regime silenced conventional media outlets like newspapers and state-run television, new ones took their place: cell phone camera footage on YouTube, Twitter feeds, and eyewitness blog accounts. Up-to-the-minute tweets and harrowing images of the shooting death of young protester Neda Agha-Soltan showed the rest of the world what Iranian citizens were up against, and the Green Wave became a model for a new-media people's movement. This account by filmmaker Ali Samadi Ahadi is likewise a documentary for the twenty-first century, in which vivid animation, Twitter feeds, and blogs, alongside more conventional on-camera interviews, drive the moving narrative of a youth revolt against one of the most repressive regimes in the world-a revolution in flux, yet evergreen with hope.

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