Iran News ...


Dream World

By Roya Monajem, Tehran

It is a couple of weeks after the end of the presidential elections which we were hoping to put an end to the stagnant air always dominating the country before such "major" happenings. Manifesting itself first in the domain of economy and land estate business, the stagnancy gradually penetrates and fills the whole air which when breathed in during inhalation, it transforms into a feeling of suspension dominating our whole ordinary existence. As time passes, this feeling of suspension in turn transforms into a feeling of suffocation and a corresponding craving for the days to pass faster and the game of election to be over and done with. From one perspective, everybody knows life will continue more or less as before, at least inwardly. Yet from another perspective, a few things may change outwardly for the better or worse. For example, no matter how many of us might have felt betrayed by Mr. Khatami, particularly during his first term of presidency, but the heavy oppressive and deadening air ruling the country particularly after the onset of war with Iraq did indeed ameliorate after his election. Breathing got easier particularly during the very early part of his presidency.

But what might happen this time?

As it could have been expected, it happened that the people of Persia, who did not appear very happy with the political management of their country and were foreseen to adopt a passive role in the recent presidential election, again startled themselves and the world by their significant participation in the election. Of course, from one perspective, it was not that astonishing or unexpected. Who could foresee their similar involvement, particularly in the last three presidential elections?

"Things will get better," said the prosperous shop-keeper of our neighborhood, the day after the election when they were still counting the votes. But the difference in the number of votes already indicated who would be the next president. I must have looked at him with astonishment if not suspiciously in response as having said that he immediately continued: "Is it very important if women don't wear short overcoats and if they cover their hair properly?" Looking at myself with my thin scarf, a colorful reproduction of one of Gauguin's paintings of nude Hawaiian women (it is amazing how nobody notices the image) and my very short overcoat, I automatically repeated the answer lots of women of this country said when Islamic Republic enforced the compulsory law of hejaab. "Not at all, as long as the country prospers and freedom and justice rules the country!"

This automatic reply, made the observer in me to burst out laughing and I had to make a great effort to hush her up!

"Do you still believe that such things can happen in the world? Don't you want to put an end to this sort of wishful thinking and dreaming? Or are you just a coward and give such a response to hide your real position?"

Leaving the shop, I tried to take a deep breath in and in exhalation breathe out all the nauseating emotions that were overwhelming my whole being as the result of the rapid remembrance of the past 25 years of my personal and 'national' life.

The air breathed in suggested that the mental psychological pre-election mood of suspension will continue for some-times more for sure.

Will they really attempt to turn the wheels of history backward again?

The shopkeeper's comment, at first sounded really shocking. "Just imagine, out of all the things that he could put forward to defend his vote for the new president, look what he chose," I thought; but after a bit of contemplation and remembering the fact that he is just an ordinary Iranian Moslem Turk male, I reached the conclusion that the question of 'women' can very well be his main concern.

"His daughter will soon teach him the lesson, as the children of very many of our high clergies and 'civil' religious rulers have been forcing their parents to "modernize" their views in this and many other respects in recent few years. Through association, at once I remember a similar, yet opposite, situation going on during the early years of the post-revolutionary period. when addressing those who were against religious traditionalism including the enforced law of hejab, it was said in the words of some well-known clergy, 'we know you don't observe our codes of conduct at home, but no matter what you do, your children are singing and learning our revolutionary songs.' It was during the same period when mothers would betray their sons and sons would betray their parents, as they can very well do today, but in the opposite direction.

The young generation brought up under the religious ruling regime is very different from us, the young generation of twenty five years ago. In those days, it did not seem to be a very big deal to obey the enforced rule of hejaab and justify many other things with the dream of possible actualization of progressive changes promised by the 'revolutionary government' of the time. Twenty five years ago, internet and satellites were not yet an indispensable part of life. For at least a decade we as the young generation of the time had no ways of really knowing what was going on in the world and what an unprecedented speed the rate of economic and social changes have acquired. This is the main difference between the young generation of today and us as the ex-young generation.

Having said that, it becomes apparent that it is not that easy to make the wheels of history to revolve backwards!

The promising above thoughts could very well relieve the pre-electoral feeling of suffocation, if the comment of that shopkeeper had not produced so much doubt in me IN relation to realism of the above words. For although it is true that the young generation will definitely 'revolutionize and modernize' their parents' views as the history can witness, but this is really a cultural change which compared to economic and social changes, it always lags behind like a lame creature racing with healthy competitors.

So after all, there can be a temporary (comparatively much shorter period of) backward turning of the wheels of history again since the number of men and women sharing the views of the above shopkeeper is for sure quite significant. Disregarding the young generation, they still make a "cultural majority."

Reaching the possibility of such a dismal prospect, I noticed how the air of suspension was transformed back into suffocation! Immediately the survival instinct entered the scene and pulled me out of the world of human history and perhaps destiny. Subsequently, some switches were automatically turned off and some turned on with the result of 'remembering my promise to live only in Here and Now; so the curtain goes up for another 'act' of the "play of life" to begin as follows:

Feeling blissfully happy to be near the shores of Caspian Sea, and dancing in a gesture of craving to embrace all the heavenly bodies seen above the head in the dark clear sky, all sorts of things cross the mind, including the laughter I caused because of talking about Mr. Karoubi as though he is still the head of the Parliament! They laughed because I appeared as ignorant as a villager in one of the remotest and most "uncivilized" spots of this or any other country on this beautiful planet of ours. I can't even remember when did the last Parliamentary Election take place here?

Or perhaps this is just the warning sign of the onset of the Old Age Dementia, or perhaps Alzheimer's Disease! And the irony here is that this writing is going to appear on a news page of some Internet Site called Payvand which means 'connection' in Persian.

Who are we and connecting with whom? Is there anybody home?

"Whoooooooooooo?" whispers the wind. "Everybody is asleeeeeeeeeeeepp" utter the tongues of waves licking the shores of the Caspian Sea.

"It is now many many centuries, from the perspective of history and many many thousands centuries, from the perspective of human existence on Earth that we fell asleep. No?"

... Payvand News - 7/7/05 ... --

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