Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Nerves & Giggles

Tagged as:

Irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, panic attacks, headaches, and other nervous disorders… Almost everyone I know in Iran suffers one of these ailments.

One more: “Why don’t Iranians just overthrow their government…” and I am going to puke. Ever overthrown a regime? Not an easy thing… I assure you.

“My aunt has the bill, I swear I have seen it myself, for the 4 bullets that were used to execute her son. When she asked: ‘where is his grave?’ she was shown a mass-grave where hundreds of others were also buried. This was 20 years ago.”

We were talking about the cartoon furor which, despite what you might think, is not such a furor in Iran. Not that Iranians are not observant Muslims, just that they are sick to death of the manipulation of Islam for political ends. (For those of you who read Dutch:read Erdbrink's eye-witness account of the demonstration in front of the Danish embassy.)

“The mullahs have always controlled our understanding of Islam,” a friend tells me. “They are losing that control here. Partly it’s because of the revolution. We have to study the Koran in school. Now, we ourselves know what is in it. We don’t need the mullahs.”

Iranians also have experience with limits on their freedom of humor. It was a capital crime to make fun of a mullah. Now it’s the number 1 Iranian past time. (How else could a frankly pro-Islamic film like Marmulak get banned? BTW, if you have not seen it, see it. It is great!) As a rule, Iranians are highly unlikely to support any efforts to limit their freedom of humor.

“Did you know that it is impossible to pick a mullah’s pocket?” a friend asks me. “It’s just too deep.”

3 comments:

Gene said...

Hi ET,

I'm wondering if people in Iran are getting any news of the strike by Tehran bus workers, and the subsequent imprisonment of hundreds of them.

I've been reporting on it at Harry's Place, and today I joined a demonstration on behalf of the workers in front of the Iranian Interest Section in Washington.

The strike has largely been ignored in the Western media, which is much more enthralled by the cartoon craziness. Finally The Washington Post published something today.

There are more links here.

ET said...

Of course "Harry's Place" is "forbidden" in Iran & a dial-up connection makes it hard to use anonymizers to get around that.

The strike is the most important issue in Iran. It is almost not mentioned in Iran, but there is nothing that represents the average Iranian more than the arrested bus drivers. They are poor, hardworking, and sympathetic. The one taxi driver who discussed their plight with us almost cried when recounting the stories he had heard. Most Iranians have little sympathy with the students who demonstrate for democracy: they ultimately do not trust them. The bus drivers are another story. This may, in fact, be the biggest story to keep quiet in Iran. No thanks to the Western media for ignoring it.

I wish I could have marched with you.

A friend said...

It wasn't totally ignored by the western media. It was on FOX and in the newspapers.

What IS being ignored, are the demonstrations that have been held in the U.S. and Europe in support of the bus drivers. And that's unconscionable.

The mainstream media could be such a help to the democratic moevement in Iran. Yet they do so little. After all, they don't want Iran to be freed under Pres. Bush. And that's what's most important to the msm.
It's disgusting that their politics and hatred of Pres. Bush take precedent over the lives of millions of Iranians.

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