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I think we’ve all been hypnotized… June 18, 2012

Posted by contrapuntalplatypus in Environment, Nature, Saving the World, Social Media, Truth is Stranger than Fiction.
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hypnotized

I think we’ve all been hypnotized…

…why keep polluters subsidized?

(To the tune of $1 trillion a year, no less?!?)

That’s the subject of today’s Twitter storm to #EndFossilFuelSubsidies. The Rio +20 summit begins in two days in Rio de Janiero, and one of the questions that will be addressed is an agreement to end enormous subsidies – estimated at 750 billion to 1 trillion annually – to fossil fuel companies.

Now, 1 trillion dollars is a LOT of money. It’s so enormous that it’s hard to wrap one’s mind around at all, frankly. But here are some stats for comparison which might help you to make some sense of it:

* For $10 billion a year (1% of 1 trillion) we could ensure every child in the world has the chance to go to school.

* For $30 billion (3% of 1 trillion) we could provide clean water to everyone on the planet, saving the lives of the 2.2 million people, most of them children, who die each year from waterbourne disease.

* For $30 billion a year (3% of 1 trillion) we could end world hunger in 10 years, saving the life of one child every six seconds.

* For a mere $3 billion a year (0.3% of 1 trillion!!) we could end malaria deaths worldwide, saving the life of one child every 45 seconds and the lives of 1 million people every year.

Heck, we could achieve ALL of the above, and still have over $900 billion left over.

With 1 trillion a year we could create the world we all dream of. A world where no child goes hungry or without an education or dies from an easily preventable illness. We could subsidize renewable, clean energy that will last us for centuries to come. We could ensure workers worldwide are paid fair wages and work in safe, clean conditions instead of toiling in unsafe factories for pennies per hour. There’s no end of the list of what we could do, really.

So, with that in mind, WHY on earth are we wasting this golden opportunity, paying fossil fuel companies – who make mega-profits in any case and definitely do NOT need handouts – to pollute our earth, raise CO2 emissions and warm our planet?!?

This is, frankly, obscene. It’s the kind of thing you couldn’t believe if you didn’t actually live on our planet. It’s like something you’d read in a Kafka novel or see in a crazy sci-fi dystopian movie. It’s like deliberately slamming our collective head into a brick wall over and over and over (once for every year we go on doing this). It’s such insane, self-destructive behaviour that, really, I think the only reason it continues is that it’s so unbelievable that we can’t really wrap our minds around it. So we don’t think about it, and they’re able to go on pulling the wool over our eyes.

Like I said…I think we’ve all been hypnotized.

No longer. It’s time to think about it and then to stop it. Please join me.

It's time to end fossil fuel subsidies!

– The Contrapuntal Platypus

On Trial in a Parallel Universe September 15, 2011

Posted by contrapuntalplatypus in Human Rights, Saving the World, Social Media, Through the Looking Glass, Truth is Stranger than Fiction.
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I imagine it just like a scene out of a movie – a courtroom movie.

Set in a parallel universe.

You’re sitting in the defendant’s box, your lawyer beside you. Gazing out at the room, the judge’s stern face, the weary expressions of the jury members, you try to look relaxed. Confident. Innocent.

After all, you know you’re not guilty. You left the scene long before any shots were fired. There’s nothing to connect you to the crime – no murder weapon, no fingerprints, no motive, nothing. In a few hours you’ll be free, and hopefully they’ll get back to tracking down the guy who really did it. Beside you, your defence lawyer is confident and smiling. This should be an easy case.

The prosecution calls their first witness in, and you blink, surprised. It’s a close friend of yours, a guy you’ve known for years. Why would the prosecution ask him to testify? That’s right, he was there the night the cop was shot – you vaguely remember seeing him before you took off. They must be desperate. Well, he’ll straighten them out soon enough.

Your friend’s being sworn in, and now the lawyer’s ready to ask the first question. He doesn’t waste time. Did he see the shooting?

Yes, your friend answers. He’s oddly nervous, casting twitchy glances around the room. He doesn’t meet your eyes.

And can he identify the murderer?

A pause. Then – “Yes,” your friend answers. Then he points right at you. “It was him. I saw him shoot the officer. He’s guilty.”

For a long moment, you can’t seem to make sense of his words. You must have misunderstood, he must have pointed somewhere else – maybe there’s another suspect on trial that day?

You stare at your friend pleadingly. He doesn’t look back.

The ground seems to lurch and spin beneath you.

And that’s just the start.

The next two hours seem to go by in slow motion as witness after witness comes to the stand. Some are your friends, some you just ran into on the street once or twice, one of them you got in a fight with a few years back. A couple of them you’ve never seen in your life. One of them – a guy who was always looking for trouble – had been there that night, and you’d actually wondered a couple times if he had shot the cop.

But they all agree on one thing as they point to you. “He did it. He shot the officer. Guilty.”

Guilty.

You stare at the judge’s severe, implacable face. You hardly dare to glance at the jury, but when you do you find them watching you coldly. You can tell what they’re thinking – you see it in their eyes. Murderer.

Even your defence lawyer is watching you, brow furrowed. You can practically see the thought written on his face – maybe he did it after all?

You’ve got to be dreaming. Please, let me wake up now. This is insane. This is madness. This can’t be happening. This is a court of justice, for God’s sake.

But as the parade of witnesses continues, and the mountain of evidence continues to grow, even you can’t help but start to wonder if you really are innocent.

*******

I don’t know exactly what it was like to be Troy Davis at his 1991 murder trial. But that’s how I imagine it when I read the evidence now available, from Amnesty International. Of the witnesses that testified against him, all but two later recanted their testimony, citing police coercion as their reason for testifying.

Their affidavits – recanting their testimony – are here, and they make heartbreaking reading. Most said the police wouldn’t stop asking questions, wouldn’t let them go, until they gave the answers they knew the police wanted to hear: that Troy Davis was guilty. Several were given pre-written statements to sign. One of these witnesses, totally illiterate, could not read the witness statement he put his name to.

This is the sort of story I’ve gotten used to hearing about from Iran. A country where torture and arbitrary imprisonment are the norm. A country where your guilt is all too often pre-determined and the security forces won’t stop until they get the answers they want. A country where the innocent are punished and it is the guilty who determine their sentence.

Not the United States of America. I’m not an American citizen but for me, as for so many across the world, the United States has always represented freedom, justice, hope. The world’s first modern democracy, where all are equal before the law. A place where people are always presumed innocent until proven guilty – “beyond the shadow of a doubt.”

What has gone wrong? How has the system failed so badly as to let something like this occur?

I’ve contacted both Gov. Nathan Deal (phone (404) 651-1776, fax (404) 657-7332, email here, web contact form here) and the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles (phone (404) 656-5651, fax (404) 651-8502) asking them to grant clemency on Monday – Troy Davis’ last hope. I urge every reader of this blog entry to do the same. Yes, every phone call, every fax, every e-mail matters.

IMPORTANT: JUST IN (yes, literally as I write this blog entry!) – Please contact Chatham County (Savannah) District Attorney Larry Chisolm as well. He can support Troy Davis’ request for clemency for seeking to have the current death warrant withdrawn. You can contact DA Chisolm here.

If you’re like me, and making phone calls to people in government totally freaks you out, THAT’S OKAY! YOU CAN STILL HELP! Fax (especially) and e-mail are also effective.

The very real truth is that this is Troy’s last chance. If the Board rules against him on Monday, then – barring a miracle – he’ll be executed the following week. Put to death for a crime that, in all likelihood, he did not commit.

Please, let’s do everything we can to stop this atrocity from occurring.

– The Contrapuntal Platypus

Give Back their Childhood…for 7 Dollars January 11, 2011

Posted by contrapuntalplatypus in Childhood, Human Rights, Saving the World, Social Media.
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How much does it cost to give a kid back their childhood? Just $7.

“I knew this boy from before. We were from the same village. I refused to kill him, and they told me they would shoot me. They pointed a gun at me, so I had to do it. The boy was asking me, “Why are you doing this?” I said I had no choice.” Susan, a 16-year old girl

“As a soldier, I had 24-hour sentry watches and was forced to keep alert. The days were abusively hot, and I often scoured the hillsides many miles for firewood, split the wood, and worked the farms.  The nights in the mountain winds were freezing. It was then that the reality of my life often hit me and I would lie awake and cry with no blanket and little hope.” Sanan, a 9-year old boy

“The soldiers found me and put me in jail for deserting. For three or four days, I couldn’t eat or sleep.  The food was horrid.  The smell was worse.  We slept in our own feces.  I cried and screamed for mercy.  During the days, we were slave laborers with no sleep at night…I had been in jail just a little over a month when one of the staff from Project: AK-47 came and negotiated my release.” Neso

Today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day (and to my delight “Trafficking Awareness” is currently a trending topic on Twitter!) One of the most horrific forms of human trafficking are the use of child soldiers, in which children as young as 5 are bought, lured or simply kidnapped into the army and forced to fight. Often young children, both boys and girls, are subjected to repeated rape and physical abuse. Those not forced to participate in armed combat (often younger children and girls) are assigned work in the army camps, forced to train in brutal conditions, or – considered expendable – sent to perform dangerous activities like spying or clearing mines. Their childhoods are stolen. It’s estimated that there are over 300,000 child soldiers active today.

Project AK-47 exists to give children like these their childhoods back. After negotiating their release from the army, they provide the children with housing, food, a quality education and a supportive, caring “family” to replace the one that they’ve lost. How much money does it cost to do this? Just $7 a month.

That’s right. $7 a month – less than the cost of two lattes – is the difference between an abused, terrified child forced to kill others and a happy, carefree child living a normal childhood. Though there are many worthy causes to support, that has got to be one of the best deals, in terms of results per dollar, that I can think of. (Which is why I’m sponsoring three – for the average cost of a single Chinese takeout meal a month.)

I urge everyone who reads this, and wants to do something real to combat human trafficking, to go to the Project AK-47 webpage and sponsor a child. Just do it. It’s probably one of the best investments you’ll ever make…and instead of one more killer, our world will have one more child who can live a normal childhood.

The Contrapuntal Platypus

Ten Reasons to Support Project AK-47

1. Maximum impact per dollar. When was the last time you could save, feed, house and educate a child for $7 a month?

2. There are over 300,000 child soldiers in our world today.

3. Project AK-47 negotiates child soldiers’ release, thus ensuring their safety after release and spreading awareness. (Often the army will freely let them go if they’ll be provided with education.)

4. Project AK-47 doesn’t move rescued children to another country, but rather gives them the tools they need to become the country’s next generation of leaders – putting an end to the cycles of violence responsible for child soldiers.

5. As child soldiers are often seen as expendable, they’ll be told to perform dangerous or lethal tasks such as mine clearance, spying or suicide attacks.

6. Project AK-47 doesn’t just rescue children from a life of combat and dangerous military duties, but from repeated physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

7. Though more people have become aware of human trafficking in recent years, few realize the extent to which children are used as soldiers in today’s world.

8. Buying and wearing a AK-47 dog tag inscribed with the name of a child soldier is an easy way you can help to raise awareness of this issue.

9. Think back to your own childhood…what price tag would you put on it?

10. And last but not least: no kid should be a killer.

A 2011 Teaser (Contrapuntal Platypus is Back!) December 31, 2010

Posted by contrapuntalplatypus in About Me, Human Rights, Saving the World, Social Media.
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Yes, I’m finally back…after a month of piano festival application/Christmas recital craziness, Rumikitty chaos (it seems he did eat the string and it is now, er, gradually reappearing) and a family-wide epidemic of Norovirus – aka stomach flu – perfectly timed for Christmas Eve. Yay! 😉

Thank goodness December is almost over (and I survived, if barely). Here’s to a more consistent* year of blogging!

Now for the 2011 Contrapuntal Platypus Teaser…

While thinking over my 2011 New Year’s Resolutions, I realized that I wanted to (1) post more blog entries and (2) do more for various human rights causes worldwide. So I decided to combine the two, and begin the year by posting a special Human Rights Challenge…for any who dare to take part 😀 All will be revealed tomorrow at midnight!

Until then…Happy New Year’s Eve!

– Contrapuntal Platypus

* On this topic, I was chatting with a friend online who’d been thinking of blogging for a while, but who told me he preferred to “finish what he’d started in 2010” first. (I’m bad about that too as you can probably tell if you’ve been following…)

At once this reminded me of a joke I’d seen floating around the Net:

“Dr. Neil proclaimed the way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you have started.  So I looked around my house to see things I had started and hadn’t finished; and, before leaving the house this morning, I finished off a bottle of Pinot Noir, a bottle of Chardonnay, a bottle of Baileys, a bottle of Kahlua, a packet of Penguins, the remainder of a bottle of Prozac, Valium prescriptions, the rest of the Cheesecake, and a box of chocolates.

You have no idea how good I feel.”

On Being a “Modernized” Society August 6, 2010

Posted by contrapuntalplatypus in Environment, Nature, Philosophy, Saving the World, Social Media, Through the Looking Glass.
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Earlier today some excellent news was announced: the former UN water advisor has condemned Botswana’s government in its denial of water to the Bushmen, just a week after the UN declared clean water and sanitation a basic human right. This is definitely a step in the right direction for the Bushmen and all people on our planet lacking access to water.

On one of the forums where this news was posted, another user and I got into a rather intense debate about the issue. He argued,

The Bushman, I’m afraid, are fighting a futile battle. Sad, but true. The best they can hope for is for some well-meaning benefactor to archive their language, customs, stories, and history. Botswana (and SADC generally) will not halt their aggressive agendas for a tiny minority with no political representation — modern state formations (to include governments and corporations) just don’t work that way….The only way the “Bushmen” as you call them will survive is to modernize like everyone else in the region. This is a sad reality. Very sad indeed. But it is reality.

In rebuttal I discussed various civil rights movements and argued that the Bushmen’s cause, far from “futile”, merely depends on making their access to water a matter of self-interest for the government. (If, say, an effective international boycott of Botswana diamonds was launched, my guess is the borehole would be opened pretty fast.)

Looking back over the debate in retrospect, though, I realize I entirely glossed over one of the most interesting aspects: his use of the word “modernize.”

*******

What is a “modernized” culture? We who live in first world countries certainly like to think of ourselves as “modern”. In fact we take it for granted that we are, and that being modern is a good thing – so good that it’s inevitable, really, that the whole world should “modernize” as well and follow our shining example?

But what does it mean for a culture to be “modern”? If you asked people to pin it down they’d probably (after some hemming and hawing) come up with something like: “A society that makes full use of the most advanced, “cutting-edge” scientific and technological discoveries.” From which we assume, we’re a highly scientific society, and therefore we must be modern…right?

Wrong.

By this definition, there is really no way of life so hopelessly un-modern as our Western lifestyle. We ignore the latest scientific data about climate change, depletion of natural resources, and the carrying capacity of the globe. We reject new energy developments such as solar and hydrogen fuel-cell power in favour of  inefficient and harmful centuries-old fossil fuel technology. We fail to make adequate use of scientific findings regarding urban sprawl and mass public transport in city development, instead trusting the inefficient hundred-year-old automobile to accomplish the task. To run our vastly complex global monetary environment, we trust ourselves blindly to economic practices developed hundreds of years ago using much smaller models with no inherent limits to growth.

Our lifestyle is not modern. It does not reflect the most up-to-date scientific knowledge, data, or worldview. It fails to take into account or make full use of the latest developments in economics, statistics, environmental sciences, and technology. It is not a system that will successfully carry our world through the 21st century without total collapse and ensuing chaos. It is creaky, backward, primitive, unsophisticated, stubbornly regressive, hopelessly obsolete. We, the people of the Western world, are living an outdated lifestyle.

*******

“Well,” you might logically argue, “if we’re not modern, than who is?” Excellent question. What sort of lifestyle would reflect our most up-to-date scientific knowledge about the planet’s limitations? What culture possesses the tools, the necessary know-how, to survive in a world where resources are not unlimited or even plentiful, but scarce? Not us. For all our technology we have not even begun to figure out how to live within the limits laid out by our new scientific worldview. Who has? The Bushmen.

The Bushmen’s lifestyle is compatible with our scientific knowledge. Ours is not. If we continue to lead our current lifestyle without adapting to our new circumstances, we will no longer be a “modern” society. We will not even be a primitive society. We will be gone, and the so-called “primitive” societies that we dismissed as “un-modern” – if we have not “modernized” them out of existence – will continue. Because they are sustainable. They will have the knowledge necessary for survival in a world where resources are no longer unlimited, or even plentiful. Drop an average Westerner in a desert where food and water are scarce, and they will die. Drop one of the San people there, and they will be at home.

That is one alternative – the unpleasant one. The other is that we learn what we can from the truly “modern” societies – those whose lifestyle respects scientific facts about our earth’s limitations – and adapt our own culture as necessary. Before it’s too late and we no longer have the option…to modernize.

– The Contrapuntal Platypus

(For more reading on the Bushmen and how their survival techniques may be essential during a global water crisis, check out James G. Workman’s Heart of Dryness.)

Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink… July 26, 2010

Posted by contrapuntalplatypus in Nature, Saving the World, Social Media, Truth is Stranger than Fiction.
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Need enough water to fill a swimming pool for tourists on the arid Kalahari reserve? Operate a diamond mine? No problem, according to the Botswana government. But the Bushmen of the Kalahari have been denied the right to access drinking water on their own land, in one of the driest regions on earth.

For years the Kalahari Bushmen of Botswana have been fighting for the simple right to live on their own land. In 2006 they won a major court battle: they were allowed to return after repeated government attempts to force them into resettlement camps were ruled illegal and unconstitutional. A victory…or so it seemed until last Wednesday.

On July 21, the Bushmen were told by the High Court of Botswana that, though they can live on their ancestral lands in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, they cannot drink the water found beneath them. They may not use the already existing borehole or drill a new one. Even friends outside the reserve are barred from bringing them water. In one of the most arid regions on earth, its ancestral inhabitants have been told that they have no right to this most basic and precious necessity of life.

It isn’t as though there’s just not enough to go around. Oh no, Wilderness Safaris’ luxury tourist hotel on the reserve has been granted water – a whole swimming pool of it for wealthy tourists to bask in on their getaways. A lucrative diamond mine (Gem Diamonds), also located on the Bushmen’s land, has given the go-ahead for operations…on one condition: it can’t give any water to the Bushmen (in case some of its workers should be tempted by, say, basic human compassion or something equally dreadful.)

Ah, but wait, there’s one act of apparent altruism the Botswana government has undertaken: in recent years it has in fact drilled several new boreholes in the Kalahari Reserve to provide water for the benefit of…wildlife. (In other words, to benefit the tourists that come to the reserve for safaris, and hence, Botswana’s tourist industry.)

The irony and unbelievable injustice is such that this story could easily be mistaken for satire. But it’s not. Nor is it just “discrimination.” This is out and out attempted genocide, as one of my Twitter friends put it. Years of harassment, arbitrary arrest, and forced relocation, confiscation of their livestock, deliberately preventing those who have returned from hunting or gathering food, and now the denial of water to an entire people can amount to nothing else.

The Bushmen aren’t asking for much. In their own words, this is their only plea: “I want to go home.”

When the evictions happened in 2002…we suffered because they just dumped us in New Xade and left us there. We were given tents and then from there, we started building out own huts. There was nothing there for us. We didn’t know what to do. We just spent our days cooking and building huts, waiting for our food. We missed the land. We missed how Metsiamanong looked and how we knew about the land. There was nothing good about New Xade.

We were very happy about the [2006] court ruling and were very pleased to come home. Here, we know where to find food and berries, we know the land and we know what to do. I will stay here forever. It is very difficult to live here without water. If the borehole at Mothomelo is opened, everything will be fine.

We are really starving without water. We want to ask the world to campaign for the re-opening of the borehole and to bring our goats back. It will make us sick to go back to Kaudwane [resettlement camp]. We don’t want to be beggars. We have our own rich ancestral lands. We want to stay here, we can get everything we need here. The area [Kaudwane] doesn’t belong to us. We have no powers over that area. Being given food is not good. In Kaudwane, if you don’t have food, you have to go and beg the government for it. Here, if we are hungry, we all go out and find some food.

This is a people that simply wants to live with dignity and pride in their rich cultural heritage. They don’t want government assistance or handouts: food or education or living expenses or cash. They’re not demanding a share in the luxurious safari tourist hotel or the diamond mine (which to my mind would be perfectly reasonable, given that it’s on their land). They’re not even asking the government to provide them with water, which one would think would be a given. This, one of the oldest cultures on our earth, only wants something very simple: the right to drill for water on their own lands and to hunt and gather food as they have done for tens or hundreds of thousands of years, without being harassed and terrorized. Nothing more.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has issued a video message in support of the Bushmen.

Please lend your voice as well to share their story and protest their inhumane treatment:

1) The best way you can help is simply by spreading awareness. Please share this blog post and Survival International’s article on your Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz, blog or any other social media networks.

2) Write to the Botswana government (their e-mail is currently bouncing, unfortunately, but Survival has an online letter form you can use to easily print out a letter);

3) Write to your MP or MEP (UK) or Senators and members of Congress (US) or Member of Parliament (Canada). Inform them of the Bushmen’s ongoing struggle and, specifically, the June 21 court ruling. Ask them to apply pressure to the Botswana government to reverse this unjust and inhumane policy.

4) Write to your local Botswana high commission or embassy.

5) Visit the Bushmen’s own website and read their stories. You can also e-mail them or write to them with a message of support.

If you have any other ideas for campaigns of support (online or elsewhere) please post in the Comments section!

Thank you for reading.

The Contrapuntal Platypus

18 Tir: A Tribute July 9, 2010

Posted by contrapuntalplatypus in Iranelection, Saving the World, Social Media.
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To the tweeter known only as @Change_for_Iran

*******

…You’ll probably never read this.

I don’t even know if you’re still alive, although more than a year after you tweeted for the last time, I continue to pray for your safety. I don’t know if you’re still in Iran, or were forced to flee as many students were, or perhaps lie imprisoned somewhere in the depths of Evin. I can only hope against all odds that you are safe.

Today is 18 Tir, the 11-year anniversary of the brutal 1999 invasion of the student dormitories. I find myself thinking of you today, because it was your tweets the night of June 14 – the night history repeated itself and students were again attacked and killed in their dormitories – that brought me to #iranelection and to the Sea of Green.


******

I had been following the leadup to Iran’s 2009 election for weeks before on various news outlets: the buildup of support for Mousavi, the crowds of people – both young and old, male and female, religious and secular – all wearing green, the color of hope. The unpredecented voter turnout on election day. The excitement and anticipation for a new future: one of tolerance and openness rather than repression and secrecy.

And then, of course, the result, hastily announced and incomprehensible. The backlash of disbelief and shock. Then the protests began, building day after day.

As the crisis escalated, I read on the Guardian website that the best sources of breaking news were the Iranian students posting updates on Twitter. I was intrigued, but held back from investigating first-hand. It was, I vaguely sensed, something that I could far too easily spend hours doing. Besides, I had always heard that Twitter was a pointless, egotistical social medium good only for navel-gazers intent on telling the world what they had for breakfast. Far better to get my updates sifted through the convenient filter of a news website.

Until the night the dormitories were attacked. Then I knew I couldn’t bear to remain at a “safe” distance any longer. I had to see the confict as it unfolded for myself.

*******


I quickly opened a Twitter account and spent the next little while getting a feel for the medium. It wasn’t hard to identify the most reliable sources, and within hours I was hooked. Here were people my age posting news, videos, and pictures of the protests all around them. I saw clips of people targeted by Basij rooftop sharpshooters, or overwhelmed by teargas, as they walked and chanted for freedom. Others bravely ran back into the path of gunfire to help the injured. And every night the cries from the rooftops spread wider and wider throughout Tehran: Allaho Akbar! Marg Bar Dictator!

But it was your tweets above all that drew me in. The stories of you and your friends – ordinary students caught up in a situation far from ordinary, which you faced with courage and determination. There was one who could find the humour in anything, even when the dormitory attackers returned. I laughed out loud when you said he had given the Basij leader the nickname “King Kong!” And another who, dedicated and serious, went on studying for exams in every spare moment between protests.

I was supposed to be practicing for a music academy the next week. I couldn’t practice. I could barely sleep. My whole mind and heart was caught up with the unfolding story in Iran, the scenes of courage and determination I had seen.

And then came June 20, the first huge crackdown. A day of teargas and clubs, relentless, mindless brutality. And you stopped tweeting for the first time.

I couldn’t believe it. I feared you were dead, and yet my heart refused to accept that somebody so young, so vibrant, so full of life and determination and hope for the future, could just vanish from the world. Day after day, in minutes snatched between classes, I scanned for any sign of your tweets and watched in horror as the crackdown intensified and one by one other tweeters vanished. Sleep was impossible. On the fifth day there were reports of a massacre in one of Tehran’s central squares, and I gave up all hope. How relieved and overjoyed I was when you reappeared that afternoon with the news that you and your friends were safe.

Three days later your tweets stopped again and then…nothing.

*******

Over a year has passed since that date, and yet I go on hoping, for you and all the students of Iran. I, along with so many others who were caught up in your story during that fateful week in June, am still here and doing all I can to make the world aware of the Green Movement. As you made us aware, despite the risks you took and the unthinkable price you may have paid for it.

Thank you for speaking to us despite all the danger. For reaching out across oceans and cultural barriers to bring your story to us in our own language. Thank you for opening our eyes and our minds to the struggle of a people – one many of us had mistrusted and viewed with suspicion, but came to realize had a thirst for freedom and peace as great as our own. Thank you for breaking down the walls of our comfortable lives and showing us, first-hand, how much we can do simply by lending our support and our voice to those who are alone.

It is because of you, and the others who reached out, that #iranelection is not merely the story of the awakening of the Iranian people – but, even more, my awakening, and that of our world.

Thank you – now and always.

– The Contrapuntal Platypus