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Writers: Why Follow #iranelection on Twitter?

Written by Vicki Hinze

On June 18, 2009

WARNING: This is a no-edit zone…

I’m interrupting my Mistakes We Make posts, because this opportunity will not wait.

As writers, we write about people. About the human condition. We connect with readers through emotion, which means writers must be students of emotion.

Right now the people of Iran are risking death–and indeed some are dying–and being imprisoned for a cause well known to Americans: freedom. With 140% of the population voting in many districts, the people feel betrayed, disrespected and undervalued by their leaders. They are passionate and their emotions are raw.

When emotions are raw, there is no veneer. You see actions and reactions that are impassioned and that cut close to the bone. If you want to know what someone is really thinking, observe them in an emotional situation. The more intense the emotion, the more honest and overt the reaction.

As human beings, we have felt many of the emotions being felt in force right now. Betrayal, hurt, feeling helpless and hopeless and small and insignificant. I am but one. What can I do? We’ve felt that. In observing it, we remember it, and we feel the violations all over again. That creates a bond of empathy, which is why if you are following on Twitter and have been since the weekend, you see posts that say things like, “Stay safe, my brother” or “today we’re all Iranian.” It isn’t that the speakers are related or they’ve changed their allegiance to their own country, it’s that they empathize so intensely with the injustice the other person is feeling, they align.

I’ve seen acts of great courage. One man posted before going to march in the first protest that he didn’t need to sleep because “today I die.” He believed–and for just cause since 7,000 were executed for defiance before–that if he went, he would die. But he went. And thousands on Twitter held their collective breaths until he returned and posted. We all understand fear. We all recognize courage. We all . . .


Tags: character, emotion, empathy, creative writing, author, writer, novelist, books, #iranelection, writers library, vicki hinze


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