Iran Hopes

A Weblog on Iranian Affairs (Formerly Iran Votes 2005)

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Basijis took (or were taken) onto streets on Saturday afternoon to display their joy as well as power. Enghelab and Vali-asr streets was full of these men. They blocked the roads while chanting slogans against Khatami and Rafsanjani.There was also an implicit messages for women to remind them that from now on they will have to observe 'Islamic dress code rules'.
Vali-asr road enjoys a highly symbolic status in Tehran. It is the longest road in Tehran, connecting the north and nouth ends of the city. It is a beautiful road, famous for its old, tall, and thick trees, and of course for its shops. It has a rather political signifcance too. In early post-revolutionary days, it witnessed occasional clashes between Pasdaran (members of Sepah) and women whose dressing style did not, in Pasdaran's view, meet the Islamic rule. Vali-asr road has since retained its reputation of a locus for clash between modernity and (strict Islamic) traditions particularly between 'modern' women and 'fenatic' men. I recall when I was at high school, our 'religious teacher' used to complain about the ‘disgraceful’ road, by saying that "when one (i.e a man), walks on the Vali-asr road, his "tool for sin" would constantly go up and down!", which would make us assume that there was certainly something wrong with his, and many of his likes, "tool for sin".
It was perhaps for similar concerns that in 1990's ultra hardliners of Ansar convened a number of mass prayers in Vali-asr square to 'decontaminate' the street from the effects of the sins. Seemingly, a new era of decontamination has just begun. But this time it will not be limited to Vali-asr square. Nor will women be the only target for the hardliners. During the past eight years, the fundamentalists have been able to identify their friends from their enemies. They have a long list in hand and will go after them one by one. Throughout these years they were planning a war to take revenge. This should not surprise us. Ahmadinejad and his supporters are still living in the years of Iran-Iraq war. They still glorify war and killing. To realise this, one only needs to have a look at Ahmadinejad’s website and his speeches during his campaign. There are frequent references to jihad, conflict, war, gun, and of course martyrdom. His supporters are refer to Ahmadinejad’s recent alleged victory as the ‘conquest’ (Ghalabeh). And of course they are deeply wrong. Iranians, particularly young generation Iranians, are not living in the spirit of war. No doubt that Iranians love their country and will still embrace martyrdom to save their country against foreign threats. But they are not in war with each other. They do not see one another as enemies in the same manner as Ahmadinejad and his supporters want them to do. So, if Ahmadinejad wants to emabrk on his jihad, there will be more than one Vali-asr road in Iran where he will have to fight


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