Sunday, May 07, 2006


…Iran’s 911.

Saw a police minibus parked on Jordan Street. A bunch of young girls were crowded around it, their big hair lifting their scarves high above their heads.

What does proper Islamic dress mean? “It’s just fashion,” a friend answers. Holland’s Moroccan women who choose to wear Islamic dress all by themselves would be subject to harassment in Iran. Why? Fashion. That’s all.

A friend was picked up. “I knew enough to call 110 when the military police started harassing me and my friend. I mean, their job is to pick up wayward soldiers, not harass women. I got through to the police. ‘Give the phone to the military police,’ they told me.”

She did. The police told them that the way the two women were dressed was none of their business. “Hand the phone back to the women,” the officer on the other line said.

“We told them to leave you alone and quit harassing you. We will call back in ten minutes to make sure you are okay.”

The police called back in three minutes. They called again in ten minutes and again in twenty.

There are so many different police-type organizations roaming the streets of Iran: the Basigi on motorcycles, traffic cops who lazily direct the traffic into bigger and bigger jams, military police just kind of hanging out, diplomatic police, intelligence, and the police police, to name a few.

This is why when some mullahs got upset about plastic manikin breasts, only a few of the offending plastic breasts actually got sawed off. “Why didn’t all of them get sawed off?” a visiting friend asked me.

“Because the police actually have to *want* to enforce that law. It’s too perverse for most of them.”

Anyway, lesson here… call 110 no matter who approaches you with no matter what kind of id.

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