Syma Sayyah, Tehran
I love the country but I can't stand the scene.
Payvand.com - What amazes me most these days is the speed of things. My mind can hardly catch up with one event before a new one unfolds and takes you into another world and at the same time there are a lot of physical things that we do, such as taking part in the peaceful and usually quiet marches around central Tehran. I know that people have in the past quarter of century gained a serious depth of understanding of political maturity and appreciation of the political role at large and need for a civil society and above all its means and modes of operation. That is why I think so many people from so many different backgrounds from so many different parts of this country came to uniformly ask for one thing, the true and proper exercise of their rights. I have read the article by Roger Cohen in the New York Times about Iranian "Civic Courage and Democratic impulse" and it has been an honor for me to be among so many of my fellow citizens last week when we all went to the many mostly calm and moving rallies together.
But never was I prouder than today when so many of them took their lives in their hands, and with hope and courage and with a determined spirit went to join other thousands in the city center where Mr Mousavi and Mr Karoubi had jointly asked them to gather to show their opposition yet again to the recent election outcome. They all knew that it was going to be rough. In the taxi I asked some why they were going and they said that it is a duty, this is a chance for democracy and we must take it, this is a light of hope for us and our future generations, we cannot help but come. When I asked if they knew of the danger and are they not afraid they all said yes, they knew there was serious danger yet they felt compelled to come. Those with children wisely only sent one of the parents just in case things went badly! I found it amazing. As we got to the city center there was heavy traffic. So we got off and headed west along Enghelab Avenue.
I was flabbergasted how different this same road felt only two days ago! There was such serious tension; there were all kinds of military attired groups including police with battle helmets, batons and other gadgets. It is one thing to see these things in movies, it is quite another to confront them in person. It is just simply hard to swallow. But we quietly walked west towards the university and then hoped to get to Enghelab Square.
We never got anywhere near it. From Valiasr crossing we felt a heavier police presence and even before we got anywhere near the university we were stopped and pushed by soldiers into one sidestreet. We got back from another, and went to the side and moved on but a little near the university gate as the crowd got thicker we saw the water cannon being used against the people (which could be even welcoming in the hot afternoon sun) but then the police started to get nasty and began to shout and push and people started to run and people were pushed over; and I heard people screaming and shouting. I lost my friends as I jumped into the joob (gutter). I heard glass being broken and felt the batons. I felt my eyes and throat hurting - obviously they had thrown tear gas in our direction. At that moment I felt a baton being used near me and I heard someone shouting get out of the joob, it is a trap. Then I looked up and the heavenly hand of a young lady pulled me out and I was near a wall and walking very fast north trying not to trip over the motorbike that had fallen on the ground or people who had fallen. Some people opened their door to people and then shut them as they did not want any unwelcome guests later. People started to light fires using paper or rubbish. But I was lucky as by a second miracle, a few streets from where I had dived into the joob, I found my friend and I was given a nice clean bandage soaked in apple vinegar. Thank you my dear friend who held my hand as we were running along, dashing here and there in the streets near Tehran University. It felt so good to be looked after.
By now we were in Bozorgmehr Street and saw people being rushed towards us. The security forces would divide people and then rush them by scaring them and hitting them and that way disperse them. Very effectively they divided the crowd by frightening the hell out of them. A couple of times people started to say Allah-o-Akbar as they saw the police motorcycles passing by, and when a young lady who had been injured was getting into a waiting ambulance, some people went and got her out and put her in a car, that was passing by with difficulty, to go to a hospital. When I asked why, I was told that the ambulance would have taken her to a government hospital and there they had to report her case to the authorities! I was amazed!
However, since we were sent off into the side street and there was a very serious police presence from where we were towards the square, we decided to go back. Therefore, I have no idea how many people were there. I heard from other people that Mr Mousavi and Mr. Karoubi and Ms. Faezeh Hashemi and Mrs. Rahnavard and Mr. Khatami were there and Mr. Mousavi had made a short speech to state that he was ready to be a martyr of freedom. A friend who was at Azadi Square said that some people were sitting on the ground when she got there, but that her husband had persuaded her to leave. We heard helicopters flying over the area. Some people talked about heavy confrontation closer to the Square.
We had begun to walk home when we stopped to catch our breath and have a snack (balall- barbeque corn dipped in salty water) by Park Laleh. There we met new friends. It is amazing that at such times it becomes easy to make friends, as you all have been through such similar ordeal, so much that you immediately develop a bond of friendship. We started off passing more police all along the road and at dusk saw heavy smoke coming from south of where we were. Eventually after changing three taxis, where at least one of them was on their side and one we all felt a little too inquisitive for our liking, and with a lot of further walking, I got home three and half hours later but in one piece, tired but undamaged; and moreover hopeful that the Iranian people's wishes will come true only if we believe in it and are ready to show that we are serious about it!
I love the country but I can't stand the scene.
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... Payvand News - 06/21/09 ... --