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Saturday, June 20, 2009

"A Decade of Quiet Practice"

Azadeh Moaveni writes:

Of all the images I've seen emerging from Iran this week, those of fiery women beating policemen and leading protests have moved me the most. Throughout the past decade, Iran's extraordinarily sophisticated and well-educated women have sought for peaceful change through the existing system. Accounting for 60% of university students, Iranian women emerge from university armed with career expectations and modern attitudes toward their role in family and society. They have patiently petitioned the state to grant them more equitable rights before the law. But at each opportunity, they have been treated with contempt. Their vibrant presence in these protests is signalling to the government that they will not tolerate its discrimination and disdain any longer.

In 2001, I recall attending a football rally in western Tehran where young people flirted with political protest. Riot police quickly emerged from the shadows to beat protesters with batons. A girlfriend and I were among those beaten, and walked home along the city's riotous thoroughfares comparing our bruises, and wondering whether the newspapers would report what had happened the next day. When they didn't, I took pictures of my bruises and emailed them to friends.

The world seems astonished by how quickly young Iranians have commandeered the internet to spread news of their protests. The truth is, they've had a decade of quiet practice.

link: Young iranians have been growing steadily more angry for years | Azadeh Moaveni | World news | The Guardian


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