Images of Violence in Guinea

If you've been keeping an eye on the junta running Guinea (that's just regular Guinea, not to be confused with Guinea Bissau or Equitorial Guinea), you'll know that the current iron-fisted military leader has fulfilled none of the promises he made upon taking power a year ago, and has seen public opposition to his rule grow. A week and a half ago, a rally against his government turned into a bloodbath, as soldiers killed as many as 157 people, and viciously targeted women for rape and sexual abuse.

As it turns out, a number of protesters snapped photographs of the violence on their cell phones, and the images of sexual violence-- seen as particularly heinous in this Muslim country-- have further grown and solidified opposition to the government.  From the NYT:

Violence in GuineaCellphone snapshots, ugly and hard to refute, are circulating here and feeding rage: they show that women were the particular targets of the Guinean soldiers who suppressed a political demonstration at a stadium here last week, with victims and witnesses describing rapes, beatings and acts of intentional humiliation... The cellphone pictures are circulating anonymously, but multiple witnesses corroborated the events depicted.

As in Iran earlier this year, mobile phones have empowered the citizenry to witness atrocities committed by a repressive state, and to share what they saw-- not just with the few thousand other people who were there, but potentially with millions of people across the country and around the world. 

Also as in Iran, with opposition growing, the government in Guinea faces a choice: Crack down harder to ensure control, or yield to popular demands.  It's hard to know how this will play out, but at a certain point, repressing a vocal, active, networked population of 10 million becomes very difficult.