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Iran: Tehran's "Weather" is getting hot

By Syma Sayyah, Tehran

Tehran weather has been so strange lately. The comings of summer and its hot days are things that we all know too well from experience and expect it. It may come sooner than later but for sure it will arrive, at some stage. There are many days when the sky turns gray and there are many signs of a serious storm coming. There are even times that we get a short spell of rain but nothing really happens. This year we had an unbelievable rainy spring. One can easily see the outcome from the greener parks and even "hayat khoneh" or little house gardens. Many say that if this continues Tehran will be as green as London soon. However, most recently and rather suddenly the long awaited summer arrived and it has become so hot that if it wasn't for the gentle breeze that bellows occasionally, and give citizen a short time to catch their breath, I don't know what might have become of us.

Photo by Ali Moayedian

I believe no one would go out if they didn't have to. Once out they will be met with the usual traffic chaos, mad and maddening driving techniques, the general Iranian short-temperedness and a great rush to get to nowhere. All of this mix is added to the unbearable heat along the usual pollution of noise and fume to tag along your route no matter what means you choose, may be except the metro at off peak times which might feel like a sanctuary from all that above. There is no point in turning your car's air-condition on, as the combination of traffic jams and heat will, most likely, make sure that radiator will come to the boiling point. And then you will really have a "great day!" I always wonder how all this chaos works. I may even become a believer in my old days.

Recently, we have had other changes and that is hot too. It gets cooler once in a while but then again it seems to flare up out of nowhere. I remember a discussion I had with a friend a few years back, when the "weather" suddenly took a turn and I was asked how would I feel if my kids where young and at university now? I said that if they did go to join their fellow students I would die of worry and if they did not go, then I would die of shame, as their mother. I still feel the same, simply because this is just part of being young and I believe that one can make a difference and should try and make it happen.

The "unhappiness" with the status quo are true and real. Contrary to what many might think, hope or even dream of, the sticks are, above all, mainly economics, but then a lot is attached to economics. What comes from the outside may give things a touch of color here and there. Fact remains that life is simply too expensive for most people. Many things are beyond an honorable worker's reach. One can survive for sure, but then they see fast expensive cars in city streets; and of-course the house prices being so high. I remember not that long ago one could buy a house for the same price that now buys only a few square meters of a badly built apartment almost anywhere in Tehran. Many want to leave or rather escape in order to obtain a good life and restore their hopes for a better future. Young people have lost much of their hope, and that's why they may go for broke! Job situation is bad. When there is a job, proper training is missing as many who could have filled them have left the country and joined the Brian Drain. Iran hits the top of the list in this regard. Those who can afford a decent "life" want to freely enjoy theirs and they join the queue to leave too. These people carry a better future of the country with them to far corners of the world. We are losing our national treasures.

For many others nothing happens, except the inconvenience of getting where they intend to go or the noise or the fear of things getting "unsettled." Many fear this because it means that there might be time when they must choose and take side. Many truly are afraid of this option. Once I asked a friend who was in a terrible state and badly needed help, why didn't he ask his father for help. He told me that as long as he has not asked his father he can carry on thinking that he might have said yes, but if he did ask and his father said no then he has no hope left and he needed that to carry on.

A kind reader reminded me that Iranians do not need to be preached from outside. I agree with him 100 percent and more. We don't need to be preached period. We have been preached too much and for too long. This time, the people, the future, the youth, hopefully have realized that it is up to them to make it happen. If they want change then they must do something about it, take responsibility and be prepared to pay the price. Majority of people seem to want reforms that are closer to a more just secular democracy. They meet in the evenings, sometimes in city streets or around the squares or in the small local parks, in order to hear what others think or have to say, instead of listening to silly radios or TV and satellite stations. This shows their new spirit and independence.

I am sure that many seasons have to come and go before we reach the promised Spring, and this time, it seems to me, that deep down and truly, the events have nothing much to do with outsiders or nor much with those of my generation. We can at best be just sympathetic observers or by-standers and onlookers. They need time and need to learn to lawfully formalize these get-togethers and use their power and energy in a positive and subtle way to achieve their goals. Let's hope and pray that they reach them peacefully. Amen/Ensha-allah!

... Payvand News - 6/26/03 ... --

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