Protests erupted throughout Iran in 2009 after incumbent Mahmood Ahmadinejad was declared winner of a highly disputed presidential race. The so-called “Green Wave” of protest included violent clashes with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, the jailing of protesters and journalists, as well as injuries and casualties. Few foreign journalists were granted visas to enter the country, resulting in an information vacuum filled by so-called “citizen journalists” who uploaded cell-phone videos of and tweeted about the violent clashes. Alongside this emerged video chronicles of nightly chants by residents of Iran's densely populated cities shouting “Allah-O-Akbar” from their rooftops. By tracing the roots of this protest tradition, not only in the Iranian revolution of 1979 but also in Shi'a rowzeh khani performance, this essay examines rooftop chanting as an enactment of a counter-politics through sonic performativity. The threshold space of the rooftop figures here as a space of political improvisation.
1 January 2015