Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The battered children's revolt

As the world witnesses a steady ratcheting up of officially sanctioned violence in Iran, it's important to note that this escalation rises from a base of normal daily low-grade terror.

Yesterday, this snippet of an interview in The Independent with Mohsen Makhmalbaf, the Iranian filmmaker who is serving as Mousavi's unofficial spokesman, opened a window on the extent to which the Iranian people, more than half of whom are under 25, are accustomed to being bullied by the regime:
If Mousavi was to become president, he said....there would be an end to the “constant harassment of young people which means that virtually every young person in Iran has been beaten up by the security forces.”
That's largely children beating children, as the "shock troops" of enforced conformity in Iran are the often teenaged Basij.

Update 6/25: A pseudonymous Iranian journalist writing in The Nation gives a fuller account of the daily harassment of Iran's young:
The Islamic Republic is not a dictatorship in the normal sense of the word. Its practitioners believe they are doing God's work on earth. Guiding the wayward by persuasion and coercion is among their chief tasks. Nearly every young person in Iran, particularly young women, can recount dozens of stories of humiliation and discrimination at the hands of government agents and supporters. For them, each rock thrown at the police, each hand-to-hand combat with the militiamen and vigilantes, each confrontation with the heavily armed Revolutionary Guards is not just an act of political defiance but a cathartic experience of personal liberation.

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