It’s a big one ‘cos its been a while, first off Neda with a great post translated from a Persian blog:-
1- Tehran, airport: They remind her again to fix her hejab, and cover all the hair inside the head scarf. The agant who’s suppused to stamp her passport for exit says: why do you travel so much to and from Iran? you’re a spy! and calls another officer to arrest and take her to custody to question her. It’s two hours before the flight.
They search her bags and laptop and tell her repeatedly to “tell the truth”. She calls every one she knows and asks for help. at last, half an hour before the flight she enters the plane with eyes red and swollen and tears on cheeks.
2- Torento, airport: Everybody is asked from which country they’ve come. Iranians all mention Amsterdam, the city in which they changed their flight, but “iran” is the words that jumps out of her mouth. The police gives her a different look and takes her towards the red line. They search all her bags, even her books.Then the agent helps her to pack her bags again and says in a comparetively kind voice:
Next time we asked, don’t say Iran.-
Earlier she posts about running into a car with her scooter and then pressure to conform:-
I’m in my favorite café, studying “parental care in Amphibia” which is an amazing topic. But then thoughts come to my head like every time I try to use my brain in a good way.. thiking how much I don’t understand those people who ask: “so.. is it too hard to study this late or what? I mean.. girls in your age usually are married and have kids”-
And violent men:-
It’s late at night and we are walking. it seems every body is sleeping, nobody in the street.. well, almost nobody. he is just like a kind polar bear, I’m thinking.. Suddenly a female voice comes out of a parked car; Stop it! and then, voices of slapping someone on the face.. No shouting!! A male voice now.. we’re now approaching the car.
The girl now talking in a lower voice, trying to making it up to him; like nothing’s happened, and he’s not the one who was slapping her just second before..
I can’t feel my hand slipping off his hand, getting into my jeans’ packet.. Pune has never been so cold in April… I’m thinking.-
Then David at ddmmyyyy with some coverage of the crack down on non-‘islamic’ dress:-
That night I’d popped out with my father, traveling by car we couldn’t help but go through Tehran’s notorious Jordan Boulevard – notorious among other things for being a road not unlike a catwalk. As we inched forward I noticed the traffic had slowed for different reasons to usual. One-by-one police officers glared in at the drivers subsequently ushering the women drivers to the side whereby further police and a blacked-out van awaited.
If a headscarf falls in a far away forest and nobody is there to see it, will they make a sound? I thought while I sat watching the the police decipher the morally correct with no great ease.
“My friend was cautioned”, said one girl at work the next day, “yes mine too”, said another. We all shared our stories and although this annual tactic is expected we all agreed that the level was way beyond what has been seen for the last few years at least.-
And he links to another blog which I will now introduce: Meet View From Iran, “Chronicling the adventures of an American in Tehran with guest appearances from her Iranian husband. Unofficial home of “Norooz 2007”. They also have stories about the crackdown fever:-
“Please fix your scarf,” the taxi driver said to me. “Not because of me, but because the religious police are checking. I don’t care what you wear.”
“It’s not good enough?”
“Make it good enough for them.” I fumed a bit and then retreated into my thoughts. Up front Keivan and the driver discussed the crackdown on hejab.
“I was taking a young woman and she had her small dog with her. The religious police pulled us over. They said, We are impounding your car, arresting the girl, and letting the dog loose on the streets where it will be killed. I said, Hajh Agah, (Mister Hajh: a term of respect given to a man who has made pilgrimage to Mecca) you can’t do that. How can you take my car from me? How will I earn a living? And this young woman, what is wrong with her hejab? She is properly covered. There is no law against having a dog. And you have to consider that maybe the dog was sick, and we just came from the veterinarian.” Riding in the car was testimony to the fact that he was able to talk his way out of the arrest and that the dog survived. –
She lays out her love for Iran warts and all:-
Iran is far from monolithic or doomed… It is diverse and delightful and filled with people who are unbelievably welcoming. Can you imagine Iranians traveling to America or Europe and being met with sincere kindness by 99.9% of the people they run across? Yet, when I travel Iran, I *am* met with kindness. Yes me. An American. I tell everyone who asks that I am American. Yes I do. I tell everyone. I tell the Revolutionary Guards and the soldiers and the police and the school girls and their mothers and brothers and fathers and friends. I tell cab drivers and business men and oil execs and refugees. Everywhere I go, I am met with kindness. When Iranians say to me, “It’s your government we hate, not you.” I say, “The government represents me. I may not have voted for it, but you must hold me and other Americans responsible for its actions.” Yes. They should, but they don’t.
The West sees images of Iranians throwing smoke bombs and burning flags and shouting down with America… You don’t see the 16-year old girl trying out her English with me. You don’t see the soldiers who greet me with jokes. You don’t see the families who have served me countless dinners. You don’t see any of this.
The West has chosen to demonize Iran. I don’t agree with Iran’s politics; I don’t agree with its legal system; I don’t agree with a lot of things here. Iran is flawed. Well aren’t we all…?-
This can’t be said enough and the Iranian bloggers say it well, the war pimps always look to dehumanize and demonize a country so their idiot supporters think they are being righteous in attacking it. No country would pass the kind of scrutiny the west applies to its enemies, not least America itself. And criticising Iran is not support for attacking it, I have to say that because wingnuts might take coverage of the Hejab crackdown as evidence they should load up the bombers. The Hejab crackdown is a good example of authoritarianism and how idiotic it is:-
I will tell you this: enforcing hejab makes me feel insecure and mistrustful. I am nervous walking down the street. I do not trust anyone. Why should I? I am wearing this scarf and manteau by force. Therefore, there can be no trust. If I had come to the decision to wear hejab on my own, and wore it because of choice, faith, or even subtle social pressure, that would be different. But I wear hejab because of force and that force has been even more visible the past week. Force will never allow me to make a religious choice of my own free will. It’s a ridiculous notion.-
There are also links to other articles at that post, maybe Jack Straw could give it a read too.
Ok, part 2 including flickr photo extravaganza (Happy Birthday Hamed) & Jadi’s latests will commence on Friday.