How do you know it’s election time in Iran? Easy, you won’t have any Internet service. The government of Iran has put a lid on Internet service and access to social networking Web sites of late in a move that is seen as an attempt by the government to keep public dissent and discourse, under wraps prior to Parliamentary elections slated for later this month. The leaders of the Iranian government are concerned that the same protests and riots that followed the 2009 election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could happen again, especially given that social networking and the Internet were the main conduit for the protesters last time.
Iranian officials have denied any foul play with the interruption of Internet service, which some say has been restored but that it is much slower and some Web sites are still not accessible. Experts say that the Iranian government is probably testing several types of tools that they plan to use as the elections draw near in order to censor all activity on the Internet or to simply remove access to certain Web sites for a great many users. Iranian citizens fear that the government is reading its plan to take over Internet service in Iran completely and thereby will have complete control over what every Iranian citizen is able to view on the Internet. Government officials scoff at the notion that they are preparing to take over the cyber waves and claim that their intention is to ramp up Internet service and to filter out Web sites that are considered to be unclean. So much for freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and a few others that are precious in the West but not so much in Iran.
In fact, one member of Iran’s Internet filtering committee, Mohammad Reza Aghamiri, says that the Internet is an uninvited guest in Iran and because of the numerous problems that it has caused it needs to be filtered and supervised. Iranian dissident groups say that the government shut down access to the Internet in response to a rumored rally and protest that was being planned to force the government to release political prisoners being held since 2009, most of whom belong to the opposition Green movement.
Iranians are a lot more sensible than given credit for and they are not mere robotic followers of the theocracy ruling their country. If the mullahs think that they can silence the voices and concerns of their citizens they best turn to their history books, and recent history in the Middle East to see that they may very well be the next ones to be ousted from power in the Arab Spring…though they aren’t really Arabs. So, let’s keep hoping for a Persian Spring.
Increases in Job Incentives
One of the interesting things about modern job searches is the fact that many people who are now looking for jobs are doing so in the later years of their life because remaining occupied by getting a job through a hiring service is more entertaining than retirement options. Most people don’t have the money to do anything of note during their retirement and it gets fairly boring for the average person who might not want to sit around all day during their golden years. Many older workers are choosing to work rather than be sedate and not otherwise occupied.