Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On shredded paper

So the latest, and amazing news, are the demonstrations at state security offices throughout the country, beginning with Alexandria. In addition to the goal of toppling state security (and the verdict is still out it seems), folks in Alexandria liberated political prisoners still held in prison. Incredible. Activists breaking people out. And the other amazing project has been people in the offices trying to save as much documentation as possible and to prevent the agency from shredding and burning its records. So, activists went in with digital cameras and started taking pictures which were and continue to be posted online. It is really amazing, and while there does seem to be some pushback at several sites, I remain in awe of the brilliant things protestors continue to do in the interest of transparency, justice, and history.

Among the photos were several of bags of shredded paper from the offices. This reminded me of something I read a couple of years ago (and had not heard before). When the US Embassy in Tehran was taken over in 1979, US diplomats anticipated the impending attack by shredding all of its files. Iranian activists, however, saved all of the shredded paper and spent years putting it all back together! The results of the years of hard work was the publication in multiple volumes of all of these shredded documents. I hope those bags of shredded documents meet a similar fate to those from the US Embassy in Tehran.

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