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Stoning YouTube, Facebook, And Google In Iran

By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL

The "stoning of the devil" is one of the rituals performed at the hajj during which pilgrims throw pebbles at three pillars that represent the devil.

Muslim pilgrims throw pebbles at pillars during the ritual known as the stoning of Satan in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, during the hajj. (photo by Amellie from Brisbane, Australia)

At a recent exhibition of digital media in Iran, a similar ritual was reportedly staged against YouTube, Facebook, and Google -- apparently because the Iranian authorities consider them to be evil.

picture from the exhibition, which was held last month, shows three black pillars representing YouTube, Facebook, and Google, and stones on the ground.

Stoning of YouTube, Facebook, and Google

Here is another picture from the exhibition, widely shared on social media, that appears to show the stoning of YouTube.

Blogger "Uranus," who shared the picture, writes that YouTube was stoned because the videos of "the crimes" of the Iranian establishment are available on the website. "Those that you don't want anyone to see because just watching five minutes of your actions will result in washing away years of your brainwashing [efforts]," Uranus writes.

Many Iranians who used their phones to document the 2009 postelection violence by pro-government forces posted the videos on YouTube. One of those YouTube videos documented the last moments of Neda Agha Soltan, a young woman shot dead during the antigovernment protests who became one of the symbols of the opposition movement.

Iranian authorities have in the past warned against the use of social-networking sites.

Copyright (c) 2011 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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