Taboos are falling like dominoes – summary translation
Published in “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” on December 15, 2009
Source (German): http://www.faz.net/s/RubDDBDABB9457A437BAA85A49C26FB23A0/Doc~EB1FC369F650B4463BF92DCCF8809E65D~ATpl~Ecommon~Scontent.html
Translator’s note: I can only give a summary of the above article, since the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung does not allow to spread their articles without payment.
This article starts by mentioning the situation of women in Iran who manage to emancipate themselves in spite of being forced to wear headscarves. Why have Iranian men recently started to put on veils? The answer is: Solidarity with Majid Tavakoli.
The article reports on the circumstances of his arrest on Monday of last week during the protests on occasion of the national Student Day, when he gave a speech at Tehran’s Amir Kabir University, although he was aware that he was facing the risk of going back to Evin, the notorious Tehran prison, where he had been held twice before. As we all know, Majid Tavakoli indeed got arrested.
The article further explains how government owned news agency Fars published the photo showing Mr Tavakoli dressed in the “typical garment of Iranian female students” (quotation), a chador with a blue headscarf underneath. This article names all facts that are also mentioned in the translation of another article, to be found here
Apart from those facts, this article also mentions that this picture was published next to a photo of Abdul-Hassan Bani Sadr, who allegedly fled to France in 1981 dressed in female clothes, and calls this action “rude”.
The article goes on to introduce the campaigns on Facebook and YouTube that were launched in support of Majid Tavakoli, and pays special attention to the group photos that are described to be a reference to the time when Shah Reza Pahlavi banned the headscarf in 1936, ordering to take photos of all families of the Iranian nobility, with the women having to pose with bare heads.
The article also published the photoshopped likeness of SL Khamenei in a chador, not failing to mention his “rosy cheeks and lipstick”, concluding that the leader has become a laughing stock, dancing and rapping on YouTube, while facing growing political criticism. According to this article, “taboos have started falling like dominoes since last summer”, which is proven true by slogans like “death to Khamenei”, public reports about the situation in Iran’s prisons, and revelations of raped men (this is stressed by an extra exclamation mark).
The article goes on to describe how Iran’s youth – young men as well as young women – in Tehran has long ago started to boycott the official gender patterns forced on them by the government of the Islamic Republic. The message of the government to the young male supporters of the opposition movement is supposed to be “You are not men”. Their answer, however, seems to be: “we don’t care to comply with your definition of men”. Young men show their opposition to the official pattern of virility by the way they look and dress – neatly shaven, plucked eyebrows, some even with waist long hair – whereas the young girls, while growing up, try to preserve a boyish look for as long as possible, in order to as much as possible delay the day their freedom ends.
The article refers to statements of Iranian supporters of the opposition saying that the regime has started to reveal its true face since summer, by their numerous defamations and infamies crossing one red line after the other. In response, the opposition in creative, charming ways confronts the regime with its own mistakes, causing a gradual decomposition of the regime. The regime desperately tries to gloss over the reality in the country. The article names just two examples for those attempts: the propaganda banners blocking the Tehran University campus from views from outside, and the nuclear conflict that is used to distract the attention of the Western world from the reality in Iran. The grotesque competition of the Iranian government of announcing the construction of ten, then twenty new nuclear sites draws international attention to the all-dominant nuclear question, while at the same time fueling the internal conflict the regime so desparately needs in order to be able to survive.