Friday, June 19, 2009

Thinking about Tehran

As I write this, it is now Saturday in Tehran, not yet dawn. Mousavi's and the other opposition candidates' supporters will be rallying in a few hours in direct defiance of the Ayatollah's orders in his sermon today. Here are a couple of e-mails received by the National Iranian-American Council (via Huffington Post). You read these, and no matter how legitimate your worries, it's hard for them not to seem small by comparison to what these people have already faced this week and will face in a few hours.

"I will participate in the demonstrations tomorrow. Maybe they will turn violent. Maybe I will be one of the people who is going to get killed. I'm listening to all my favorite music. I even want to dance to a few songs. I always wanted to have very narrow eyebrows. Yes, maybe I will go to the salon before I go tomorrow! There are a few great movie scenes that I also have to see. I should drop by the library, too. It's worth to read the poems of Forough and Shamloo again. All family pictures have to be reviewed, too. I have to call my friends as well to say goodbye. All I have are two bookshelves which I told my family who should receive them. I'm two units away from getting my bachelors degree but who cares about that. My mind is very chaotic. I wrote these random sentences for the next generation so they know we were not just emotional and under peer pressure. So they know that we did everything we could to create a better future for them. So they know that our ancestors surrendered to Arabs and Mongols but did not surrender to despotism. This note is dedicated to tomorrow's children..."

Another one below the fold, from a 30-year-old female architect [UPDATE: and a truly remarkable YouTube (with a translation). These people speak in poetry]:

The events of the last couple of days have been so moving that I haven't be able to digest it all yet. Life was already fast and hectic enough in Tehran where we wouldn't have time to get to everything, now after 3 PM everything comes to a halt and based on a collective agreement, we all leave our houses or daily routines and head towards downtown without any transportation! Believe me that every day we leave the house, we are not sure if we will make it back. Some of us like me and my family and our close friends who are among the crowd every day worry even more and each night after the rally we keep calling each other to make sure everyone is back home safe and sound. During the rallies we see such variety of bitter and sweet incidents that it gives us material to think about for months to come. We come across small kids, men and women over 75 years old, people from all walks of life.

Today I saw a blind young man accompanied by his father, many people with broken limbs, blued eyes, and many who carry the pictures of those killed in the events which breaks your heart.

Many people distribute drinks and refreshments to protestors, some wave hands from the windows of their houses showing their green ribbons, and all of this, in an unbelievable moving silence.

Remember when in middle school as a composition homework, we had to write about "Imagine you could see the seed of people's hearts." Today these green ribbons have become those seeds. When you see them you get energized, and feel that you are all one. Cheating these people is worse than any crime and it is such a loss to waste all this hope and energy. I hope we make something good out of it.

I have to add that what you and other Iranians outside of Iran are doing to support us is really warming our hearts. We are sure what you are doing is very effective. When they ask all foreign reporters to leave the country and when all of the communication channels are disconnected, it is your voice that takes our voice to the outside world.

Many criticize us and wonder what does Mr. Mousavi have that is so special? They argue that after all he is one of the many in that corrupt system of the Islamic Republic and will never act against it. My argument is that this is not about Mousavi, but about people realizing that they are not followers like a herd of sheep that goes anywhere it is summoned to go. They will know that the individual will does matter and that their actions can be effective and can speak louder than any specific person; this to me is the most important aspect of these events. Now either Mousavi or anyone else who will end up in power, they will have the understanding of what people want and what they are capable of, and how they can voice their requests. This is the significant and important step and now that Mousavi has chosen to go ahead, we will support him.

I had so much to tell! It is so good talk to each other.

And the YouTube (the translation is below):

Tomorrow is Saturday. Tomorrow is (inaudible).

Tonight, the cries of Allah-o Akbar are heard louder and louder than the nights before.

Where is this place? Where is this place where every door is closed? Where is this place where people are simply calling God? Where is this place where the sound of Allah-o Akbar gets louder and louder?

I wait every night to see if the sounds will get louder and whether the number increases. It shakes me. I wonder if God is shaken.

Where is this place that where so many innocent people are entrapped? Where is this place where no one comes to our aid? Where is this place that only with our silence we are sending our voices to the world? Where is this place that the young shed blood and then people go and pray -- standing on that same blood and pray. Where is this place where the citizens are called vagrants?

Where is this place? You want me to tell you? This place is Iran. The homeland of you and me.
This place is Iran.

1 comment:

Pam said...

I've been glued to the coverage of this whole event - wishing I could take coffee or bake something for them, wishing I could supply the crowds with rocks. It's been fascinating - and with the US electing Obama and now this in Iran - the world seems as scary as every, but so much more hopeful. I've been following alot of on Andrew Sullivan's blog 'The Daily Dish' - I don't do Twitter, but boy does it make me feel like I am in the middle of the crowd - there is urgency in those 140 or less characters! I wish kids were in school and there history teachers were following this with them - it's a remarkable unfolding, regardless of the outcome.