Here in the Philippines, there are always demonstrations, usually by the leftists, but if things get bad enough, the opposition always reminds the government about the “People Power” revolution that overthrew Marcos.

At that time, thugs associated with Marcos assassinated exiled politician Ninoy Acquino who had just returned to Manila to run against Marcos in the presidential election.

But Marcos miscalculated, and Ninoy’s wife Cory took his place, and won the vote.

Marcos tried to stop the counting, but Cory hid in a convent, while General Ramos (head of the Army) backed her as the obvious winner.

Marcos however arranged military units from his province to go in and arrest Ramos, but a million Filipinos, led by Cardinal Sin (his real name) and a bunch of nuns singing hymns and praying to Our Lady of Fatima blocked their way (this last part is sometimes left out since Ramos is a good Protestant and gets annoyed at the mention of papist idols).

Well, anyway, Marcos soldiers didn’t fire on them, and the result was democracy.

Well, democracy as it is practiced in Manila…full of graft but working in it’s own way, and even though a lot of people here in the provinces resented a later coup (Labeled “people power II, but actually a palace coup by some of the Manila elites), elections and politics continue to be a blood sport– literally, since despite the fact that Marcos confiscated all weapons, a dozen people are killed in fights over elections each year.

Well, now we are seeing demonstrations in Iraq about a disputed election. If you watch CNN, it appears to be only some of the “usual suspects” (college kids) letting off steam: which is why President Ahmadinejad was quoted in various western press reports as saying the riots were like those seen after losing a soccer match.

Yet the internet suggests that the frustration might be deeper.

Now, I know little about Iran, except that I know a lot of physicians from there. But I do like photos (I share a  photo blog with my granddaugther). So one photoblog I frequently check is TehranLive, which usually posts wonderful photos of malls, landscapes, and people doing their own thing…until I saw his photos, I didn’t realize that Tehran has neighborhoods and young folks that remind me of my grand nieces and nephews in Makati (the sophisticated business district of Manila). His photos are full of internet savvy kids that carry cellphones on which they take photos and text their friends constantly.

Lately he’s had photos of demonstrations in support of Mr. Moussavi, an opposition candidate, and his photos remind me of PJ O’Rourke’s comments that successful revolutions usually have the best looking gals backing them…

Well, as this photo shows, there are indeed some cute gals supporting the opposition.

But after the election, the photos on his blog were of injuries, defiance, and injured students.

Unlike People Power, when there was little good alternative jouralism being done. Some of the best “alternative news” reports came out from rogue journalists like Rolling Stone’s PJ O’Rourke., who covered the election and described the chaos, the vote counters hiding out from fear, an other first person reports that were missed by the nightly news program.

In contrast, nowadays dissadents have Facebook, You tube, and Twitter.

Of course, the government has shut down some of these portals, but the young students have software to get around the attempt at censoring the story.

And the best reports are on alternative news sites.

Michael Totten has a good report, which includes links from twitter from inside the country…these of course would only be rumors…but he has a video from the city of Esfehan too…

PajamasMedia has updates from the US based Iran Press agency…big demonstration due Tuesday… and reports that the country is using Hezbollah as , bringing in men from Palestine and Lebanon because local policemen won’t shoot their own people.

And then there are the youtube home made videos that are being downloaded that show what is going on.

One indeed hopes and prays that justice will be done and that the popular opinion will prevail and that a moderate president will take over.

It worked here in the Philippines, but one is aware of failed democratic uprisings in Burma and Zimbabwe to be too hopeful that popular opinion will prevail.

So Iran is in our prayers….After all, even nukes are not a danger if they are in the hands of a moderate president who is more interested in improving the economy than using Israel as a scapegoat for corruption and poverty.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She blogs at Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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