June 18th, 2009
01:30 PM ET

Watching Iran: From the streets of Marrakech

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/06/18/iran.election/art.tehran.bridge.gi.jpg caption="Moussavi supporters rally Wednesday in Tehran, Iran. Released by Fars News Agency of Iran."]

Gary Tuchman
AC360° Correspondent

What is happening in Iran is fascinating to people the world over. But the prism through which those in the Islamic world observe it is so much more unique and nuanced.

I am currently on vacation with my family in the exotic and delightful city of Marrakech, Morocco. Morocco is one of the most moderate Muslim nations, yet it isn't a place where you would organize large scale protests against the government if the impulse struck you.

Skating on my rollerblades through the medina (the old walled city) is a great way to start up conversations here, and Moroccans I am meeting want to talk about the images they are seeing on TV.

Most people I've met are exhilarated about the concept of autocratic and dictatorial regimes no longer being able to completely control the message. They are aware that many of the world's nations operate under the axiom that if you don't allow bad news to get out, then you don't have any bad news.

But now, with YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, they have this feeling that power is now with people who've never had it before. One man in his twenties told me "with the Internet, comes truth."

But that viewpoint is not universal. Particularly with older Moroccans. Like all over the world, the internet concept is not understood by many of the elderly here. And a few older men told me they think the video we're seeing of demonstrations is fake. One man, who sells pastries and refreshments, assures me "it's part of a CIA plot to make Muslims look bad."

He asks me how do I know the video is authentic, and I tell him we cannot verify the source and the circumstances behind the videos we receive, but we are using them because the Iranian government is banning CNN and other news networks from independent reporting. I tell him my standard belief that honest, vigorous journalism is an antidote to untruths.

He then tells me my Coke is on the house. I don't know if he agreed with my message, but he was kind to the messenger.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Gary Tuchman • Iran
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Robert I

    I feel that the same thing is happening in Venezuela where the free press is being eliminated as time pass by.
    This way totalitarian rulers like Chavez can spread their false illusions of better goverments and leave a whole country in the dark and manipulate anything and any one who they feel is an obstacle to their causes.
    I wonder why the American goberment doesn't do any thing to stop these extremists who are against people's will.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  2. Lilibeth

    Gary, you're blogging about this on vacation...I admire your dedication. Yes, it's amazing how twitter has been instrumental in conveying to the world with what's going on in Iran. I actually don't twitter but I see the good in it. Enjoy the rest of your vacation.

    Edmonds, Washington

    June 18, 2009 at 12:43 pm |