Thursday, 14 June 2012

Remember Iran: The Protests, the Repression...and the "Hope That Runs The World"

On paper, the Iranian Presidential election and the response to it happened three years ago. But every day of my life, I almost feel like the streets of Tehran are still green. Such was the intensity of the sudden protests that they almost etched themselves on the memory of everyone who followed them.

However, as I spend this year's anniversary remembering, the people I recall most are those I did not witness. 

I remember young men and women whom we did not see that went out to protest in the provincial capitals. People in places like Yazd, Dezfol, in Zahedan or Sari --- the discontent was not just centred in Tehran, Mashhad, and Tabriz.

I remember young men and women who never before had been involved in human rights activism. Men and women who had steady jobs, were going to university, or trying to get into it. 

I remember those who have no knowledge of computer technology, who never used a proxy, never forwarded proxies to friends, never went on Twitter or Facebook or Blogfa. 

I remember those who never read news. Those who do not want to be journalists or bloggers.  Those who do not know a journalist. 

I remember those who did not support Mir Hossein Mousavi or Mehdi Karroubi or Grand Ayatollah Montazeri. People who wanted to shield themselves from political or religious matters. People who just wanted to live their lives. 

Yet they all went to protest. The people who were apolitical, did not care about news, human rights activism ---  I remember those people. Undoubtedly, they formed the majority who marched. They wore green ribbons, green shirts, green scarves --- any green item they could get their hands on. 

Millions of them. 

And I think about them.

In my imagination, I see them trying to proceed with their lives. Trying to get over the events that transpired three years ago; trying to forget the missing friends that are in prison, the missing classmates who are no longer allowed in education, the vanished human rights activists, journalists, and lawyers who are either in prison or in exile. 

Trying to get over survivor's guilt. 

I asked myself. Can they? Is it possible for them to forget what happened? To proverbially get over it? 

How can you forget when you go out on the street en masse and thenare brutally forced back into your homes as if you are not adults trying to seek a better future for your children, but children who are notallowed to have a say about what your life --- and the life of your offspring --- should be. 

I remember those people. The Iranians who simply cared enough to take some time off from their daily chores and show up on their streets to ask for something different. The ones who now have to go about their lives feeling humiliated at the hands of their oppressive rulers. 

I do not think they have forgotten that humiliation.  More importantly, I do not think they have given up on a better future for themselves and for their children. A future where their elections aren't rigged. A future where they can vote for whoever they want --- not just a list of "approved" regime candidates. A future where they are not routinely stopped and harassed for long hair or not wearing their scarves low enough on their heads.

I do not think they've stopped dreaming about lower food prices, better wages, low unemployment, and a future where they do not live in a country considered an enemy by much of the world.

I remember them as I believe they remember themselves today. And I think they want their dignity back. 

There is a great saying in Urdu: "Hope runs the world." Iranian live with that humiliation because they have hope for a better future, a hope that was not quashed by their forced removal from the streets.

As long as that hope stays alive --- which may have to be a very long time --- Iran's purported leaders will not be sleeping in peace.  

from EA WorldView: EA Iran

Posted via email from lissping