The Graduate Student Council and the Caltech Y Social Activism Speaker Series present
A Series on Iran: Struggle of a Nation
NY Time Foreign Editor
"Tumult in Iran: The Islamic Revolution at 30"
7:30 PM, Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Ramo Auditorium, (Bldg 77)
Free, no tickets required.
** Reception after event with the speaker **
Three days after the June 12 election, Iran rises up. Full of fear, people
descend toward the broad central avenue between Enquelab (Revolution) and
Azadi (Freedom) Square. But when they see the vast crowd -- later
estimated at 3 million people -- their fear evaporates. Seldom have
dignity and silence achieved such power. Whenever there is a murmur,
people say, “Sokoot, sokoot” (silence in Farsi). People all have their
arms raised and are making the peace sign. A solitary military chopper
passes: they look up and wave their hands. A banner says, “Silence will
win against the bullets.” Ahmadinejad has called his opponents “dust.” A
man says to me: “We are dust but we will blind him.” I ask a young woman
her name. “My name is Iran,” she says.
Young and old, shopkeeper and student, men and women march side by side.
“We were hoping that after 30 years, we would be allowed a little choice,”
says one student. I clamber up on a pedestrian overpass shaking from the
number of people massed on it. I look back to Enquelab, forward to Azadi:
no end to the crowd. I wonder what would happen if this immense throng
wheeled toward the palace with the opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi
—- ready to stand or fall beside his followers -- at its head. I write in
my notebook: “Iran is on a razor’s edge. Will Moussavi allow the moment to
pass?” One thing was clear that day: the Islamic Republic, 30 years after
the Revolution, would never be quite the same.
BIO: Roger Cohen is the foreign editor of "The New York Times." He joined
"The Times" in 1990, and served as a foreign correspondent for more than a
decade before becoming acting foreign editor on September 11, 2001, and
foreign editor six months later. Previously, Cohen served as foreign
correspondent for "The Wall Street Journal" and "Reuters," reporting from
the East Mediterranean, South America and Europe. Cohen has recently
appeared on Charlie Rose and Tavis Smiley shows, and his accounts of the
unfolding drama in Iran have been widely read. Cohen is also the author of
"Soldiers and Slaves: American POWs Trapped by the Nazis' Final Gamble"
and "Hearts Grown Brutal: Sagas of Sarajevo," an account of the wars of
Yugoslavia's destruction. He has also co-written a biography of General
Norman Schwarzkopf, "In the Eye of the Storm."
This event is made possible by the generous support from the Moore
Hufstedler Fund. The Series on Iran: Struggle of a Nation is a forum aimed
at bringing various perspectives in raising awareness of and encouraging
dialogue on the recent events in Iran. For more information about this
event or the series, please contact the Caltech Y at 626.395.6163 or email