Tagged as: Iran: Party Talk
“Things have gotten much worse for us since Ahmadinejad took power,” a young university student tells us at a party. “Our choice of classes is limited. Many of our professors have been replaced. They even removed the benches from the campuses so that boys and girls cannot sit together.”
“They removed the benches?”
“Yes. People still sit on the walls, but all of the benches are gone. The worst part is that most Iranians are happy with this.”
“You think so?”
“They do not want boys and girls talking together.”
I have argued with Iranian friends that the regime does indeed represent many of their wishes, but they always disagree with me. My observation has been that most families want to control their children. They want to control who they see, where they go, and what they do. It is the very small minority who afford their children any measure of freedom. By children, I mean anybody who is not married yet: even then, the control continues.
The Iranian regime is parental. It cares for your soul, it punishes you for disobeying its rules, it shelters you from disturbing information, it reads your diary, and it destroys your porn stash. It is sometimes abusive, sometimes distant, sometimes illogical, sometimes it is even loving. Sometimes your mom will let you do something that your dad disapproves of; sometimes the opposite is true.
In Iran, you remain a child: dependent on the whims of your overprotective and abusive parents; sneaking out behind their backs; secretly disobeying them; expert at playing the good child.
Back to the party…
“They are especially controlling of their daughters,” I say.”
“You would be surprised how much boys are controlled in smaller towns and villages. Iranian families do not want their boys doing anything that they do not know about or approve of. They can be just as controlling of them as of the girls.”
“You are lucky you come from a family that allows you to be independent,” I tell her.
“Yes I am. We are different from most Iranian families, so we have to constantly lie about who we are and what we do. We even have to lie to relatives. It is so hard to always pretend.”
“It can be that way in America too. When your family is different from what is normal, people sometimes get in your business.”
“That’s because there are so many Christians in America. Sometimes they can be just as controlling as Muslims.”
A new group of guests arrive. They shake hands without introducing themselves which is normal for Iranians. “How have you been?” Our host asks.
“Well, you know… waiting for *them* to come.” We may not know their names, but we know who “them” is. “We have our bags packed. Toothbrushes, pajamas, a change of clothes, all neatly packed and waiting by the door.”
“When you are ready for them, they never come,” a young artist jokes.
“That’s true!” the woman laughs. “Exactly why we should always be ready.”
BTW, link to new post at Mideast Youth