Monday, February 22, 2010

Eye Witness: My best friend is back and she reports from Iran!

She is one of my most "militant" fellow greenbeans. She was one of the smartest kids in school, our math-wiz. She is one of the strongest persons I have even known and yet one of the most sensitive and delicate ones. She is a medical doctor now. I am taking this letter VERY seriously; and I wish to share it with you. I am taking the city names out; but she is writing from a central province of Iran. ### is where she grew up; XXX and YYY are little cities in that province, and $$$ is where she lives now. She permitted me to publish this.

Hi dear Naj

How are you khanomi [lady]? I am glad to be back, missed my friends and my relaxing life here. I love Iran but I can see that it will get harder to live there as times goes by. I spend most of my short trip in ###. I heard little about 22 bahman news there . I wasn’t able to upset my elderly father by having a trip to Tehran on 22 bahman. ### was extremely controlled and people were isolated. At least a week prior to 22 bahman, internet were disconnected or too slow to be used, BBC and other sources were blocked. Some people had access to VOA. Most ###'s went to [the sea] for shopping; as a result, there was heavy traffic on the way to and from [the port]. Some public sectors forced their employee to attend the government demonstration . I did not see any green sign in ###. streets were quite and parandeh par nemizad [even birds didn't fly]. I took photos. Every state had to send 10 thousand people to Tehran to attend the government demonstration. High speed internet in some public sectors was very well controlled. People were caught and given warning just a day or 2 after visiting a website like balatarion or VOA. They also received a warning SMS the night before 22 bahman to not attend the rally other wise they would face jail and ....some young people went to Tehran for green demonstration but my cousin said the roads were blocked in Kashan to stop them from reaching Tehran. Sadly I talked to a few simple minded people who did really believe Ahmadinejad was trying to save Iran from USA and Israel... people were preoccupied with their routines . One of my cousins said they have underground meetings and they attend Tehran for green demonstrations without telling their family. I found myself more curious/nervous about 22 bahman news than almost most ###'s that I met. I nervously was trying to find a channel on satellite to give me all news but it was not very successful and eventually I gave up following news. My in-laws had access to VOA. Sadly superstition and religious beliefs among ###s were grosser than ever. Even in a national newspaper there was a warning about the intensity of superstition (by 2 mullaas ...) As you may also know ### has been the most unsafe city of Iran, lately. And I truly believe this statement about superstition is right ...
From a medical point of view, foresee a medical disaster soon in ### with possibly treatment resistance bugs that will kill people. Everyone acts doctor and the amount of self medications is GROSSSSSSSSSSSS....medical ethics do not exist there as well...
In XXX, Niroye entezami was defeated in the court as they gave wrong information to XXX people that resulted in the chaos that we all heard about. They are to pay compensation to people who were injured/died in the clashe. In YYY emamzadeha [the saint graves] are getting robbed, lol their graves are dug, likely in order to get access to antiques! This has resulted in gor be gor shodane ememha lol [goor be goor shodan = changing grave, a form of damnation]

Tehran, overall I spend about 3 to 4 days in Tehran. Superficially, people have more freedom. They are not picked on because of the type of cloths they have on. I saw several Iranian females not wearing their scarf in the international airport just prior to the checking point when I arrived there.

The air pollution was ++++++ , people seems to have they normal activities, you don’t see much different but you hear things like: gathering in front of Evin everyday which I am regretting to miss seeing that. I attended an NGO conference and was surprised by the level of their activities. Unfortunately greedy obstetrician who did the speech annoyed me so much with her stupid ideas , she showed slides of plastic surgeries that she had done on her patients and got attention of several females who desperately were waiting to take her business card.....

The centre for defending human right and lawyers without boarders were extremely active, some of the lawyers are exhausted trying to help political prisoners including adolescents. Generally there was an optimistic view that situation will improve gradually. It can’t be worse as they had already experienced a long standing coup d'etat that was unsuccessful. Economically, the government is collapsing.

I went to Tochal on my last day and it was amazing. There were singing saromad zemston [a popular green song, adapted from an older one: winter's over] and dancing in station 2. Apparently in station 7 there is a free life ... I am so proud of the Tehranies. They are smart and I am sure they can’t be defeated.

By the way 22 bahman in Tehran was very controlled and hokomat nezami started a week prior to that. Checking at nights create intense fear ....Probably the most restricted demonstration since election but the government can’t continue doing that due to high costs.

As soon as I arrived back in $$$ I read all detailed news a.... I think we should take it easy and relax. Green movement will continue and changes will happen gradually. Iranians overseas are much more tense and eager about news than Iranian who live in Iran. Practically in Tehran you can read the Keyhan and get all news by guessing lol

You know I am not good in reporting, that was my observation in my short trip. I feel very relaxed after visiting Iran. I do recommend it to you. I think if you don’t visit it soon, it may get harder or may be impossible to do it later...sorry for the sporadic writing and not proof reading ;)


Pedestrian said...

"I think we should take it easy and relax. Green movement will continue and changes will happen gradually. Iranians overseas are much more tense and eager about news than Iranian who live in Iran."

I agree with your friend! I can in fact feel it in myself when I am inside or outside. What makes me hopeful is that this movement/thing/whatever is really slowly coming into being, like good, old wine or ghormeh sabizyeh ja oftadeh.

I know this also implies the dangers: it can morph into many shapes, and the worse in terms of state violence in all aspects of our lives from the environment, to human rights, etc is not yet over ... But I also think that if it does manage to morph into something mature and respectable and LONG TERM, it will be a grand thing indeed.

Publicola said...

Dear Naj,

a great posting of yours, arriving just in time!

a convincing letter coming from your friend's pen!

an appropriate response by Pedestrian!

[My subjective, personal commentary:

An Iranian election result of more than 35% – this only the officially conceded, highly controversial figure – is a dead sure basis for decisively changing, for reforming any (!) society from head to foot, to the quick, down to atomic scale so to speak:

The German ecological party „The Greens “ was elected into parliament in 2009 with 10,7%. This [over a span of 20 years] long-term percentage of about 10%, rarely more than that on a national level – a relatively rather modest and relatively rather small figure when compared to the current Iranian election result - has led to the (globalising) fact that

all parties in Germany (and in Europe, where the ecological parties have been achieving similar results over the long term) are not able to exist as a eligible political parties and are not able to put up any (!) candidate of any (!) party for election
without a pronounced ecological and environmental party program !
Of course it takes it time !
Profound changes are not brought about within half a year !

So what consequently to expect of an Iranian – longterm (see the figures of formerKhatami elections) – election result [at least and officially admitted:], that is triple those election results of European ecological parties ?

Not only ecology is in accordance with mainstream thinking and has been so for some decades, starting that avalance of ecological demands and ecological treaties - globally .

Democracy is by far more contagious [than any ecological program] and might [some day] radiate from Iran into the Near and Middle East, not limiting itself to Iran.]

Continue [-more or less relaxed-] please !

Best wishes!

Publicola ("German")

Mona said...

Thank you & your friend for this interesting report!
But, to be honest I am pessimistic about the result of this peaceful change!
I know, it's inevitable to change the government. we need a big change.But, before that we need a big change in our mind.
We need bigger change in our culture, not just in Tehranian, in at least 60% of Iranian.
We unfortunately, do not have enough wise,educated, independent and reliable people to lead this movement.
I fear of repeating the historian error, which happened several times to our country!

Anonymous said...

The air pollution was?

looking to photos you posted this and really it's not bad as your friend try to say.

Is this letter from you friend real or???

vagabond said...

I have a request. Since your blog (as well as your friend pedestrian's) is my one stop source for all things Persian, I am making this request. Can you write a post about Indo-Iranian relationship in ancient times. I have noticed I can follow a lot(say 20%) of the conversation in Iranian movies, this in spite of the fact that I have never been exposed to Persian language before. I have also heard that there is reference of Punjab in Shahnama ? Is it true ? The other thing a friend recently asked me if there is some place called koh-e-Kaaf in Iran ? I know this is a difficult time for you people, as your country is going through a great crisis. If you find time for such a post sometime (whenever it is possible) I will be grateful. I would be eagerly waiting.