Mehdi Saharkhiz Speech for youtube

When many of us have the time to watch a video we turn to one site: Youtube. Youtube’s popularity is due to many factors, one of which is humor. How many of us in this room have laughed when we have watched a video of a toddler biting his brother’s hand or a music video done on a treadmill, 

or when a 16 year old kid beats Lady Gaga in the most watched video category? We clearly see how important a role Youtube plays in our lives, day in and day out.

We laugh, we dance, we even watch those fail moments, when a ramp is missed or a jump is blown and for a minute in the middle of our smiles, maybe some of us thank God it was not us on the bike or the car. Most people in this room can think of a moment on a video they watched on Youtube that brought a smile to their face.

 

But, for me Youtube is a place where I cried my eyes out as I watched an innocent girl bleed through her eyes. Youtube is a place where I have watched my brave fellow Iranians chased by thugs with batons on bikes who had zero shame using violence against their fellow countrymen and women. For me, Youtube is the cry for help from men surrounding a bleeding Iranian citizen whose “crime” was asking for his right to demonstrate peacefully.

Youtube became the outlet-the way to share the message of a sea of people on the streets of Iran as they marched in complete and utter silence in June 2009 after the fraudulent presidential election. Youtube took the place of the mainstream media who had done little to cover these brave Iranians and their stories until their blood was shed.

Youtube was proof of the opposition against the fraudulent elections, the Sea of Green. Youtube became the place to view the atrocities occurring in Iran, when no other media outlets paid great attention to Iran. The videos of Iranian police as they drove over a helpless body in the middle of Tehran, not once but 3 times, were viewed by thousands of people across the world. Youtube has been an instrument used by the brave people of Iran to display evidence of widespread oppression. With the aid of these powerful Youtube videos as evidence, one day the Iranian people will be able to condemn all the governmental criminals in a court of law.

Also, Youtube has the rare and unique power of being able to deliver messages of oppression to governmental leaders. For it was Youtube that was the vehicle in which President Obama was able to hear the voice of the people: you are either with us or with the Iranian government. 

Youtube also has given me a chance to stand here a few miles from the White House and talk to all of you. It has given me a chance to send a message to President Obama that he should never negotiate with a government that has no fear or shame in killing its citizens to stay in power a few more years. 

So yes, of course for many, Youtube is a place to watch a short video for pure entertainment. But for us it became the heartbeat and voice of a generation of oppressed Iranians. For us it became a place where people around the world made videos to support the Iranian people in their quest for freedom-A place for Iranian artists to share their music, and mix it with those horrible pictures out of Iran. Youtube became the way for us Iranians to express our needs, hopes and frustrations. 

Youtube is a story of lives cut tragically short. It is about the hope that innocent blood has not been shed in vain. For the people of Iran, each second of a video is history recorded and archived forever. It is the instrument and reason that the world watched and has heard us. Without Youtube it could have not been possible. Each moment is etched into our minds as we watch them over and over again. And maybe more importantly, the images remain when the video is through playing.

It is these videos that are the keys to our future.

The bright future not only for Iran but for the world.

It is the reason each politician has to be careful of things they do and every police officer has to protect the people. 

As the people of Iran put it so perfectly: Now is the time when the world is watching. And they’re still watching -all thanks to one website: Youtube.

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