Monday, February 16, 2004


“Postcards from Iran” is the title for a series of writings about contemporary life in Iran. Check out these fascinating pieces put together by Abbas Azimi who writes about the net; Pooneh Goddoosi who gives you a sense of what a party might look like around here and Maria Sarsalari who gives you a glimpse into the lives of our nouveau riche, as well as this piece about the red tape. All together interesting collages.

I couldn’t ignore the not so well hidden disdain lurking behind the words. I am not dismissing disdain , mind you, as a viable reaction to what goes on around here. There is so much nastiness in this country—utterly disheartening. It is one thing to play the victim card to undermine the legitimacy of the regime, and quite another to admit that folks mirror their abusers in a pathetic way.

For you see, something doesn’t add up. There is way too much money around here. Avarice and gluttony too pronounced. Too little empathy. Too many self absorbed people walking around. Poverty and callousness are infuriating. Abuse is omnipresent. Here is a regime that tries to impose homogeneity on the population with little success, but the result is not a defense of heterogeneity, but a replication of a limiting commonality of measurement in alternative modes. People criticize government efforts and then rush to create their own Procrustean bed to lie on. A hard nut to crack.

It doesn’t have to be this way. But why does life take this particular form. Why do people who want to leave en masse to enjoy a better living standard at the expense of the European or American tax payers (at least initially, as four million Iranians do), don’t see the need to speak up in defense of the Afghan children denied access to schools? Why is it that people whose relatives are living it up by participating in the civic life of other societies are so venomous in attacking Arabs who live here and participate in Iran’s social life?

Why is it that of all music available, heavy metal is so fashionable? Why are people so judgmental and fashion conscious? Why is there so much bigotry? Why is there so little effort to feed and care for so many abandoned children and the vagabonds? Why such limited variety of forms of cooperation? Why so many hustlers? Why…

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