Friday, July 10, 2009

Politics: The Politics of Fear

With the passing of Michael Jackson, Iran was finally moved to a backseat in international news. With fewer and fewer official protests (one of which involved freeing green balloons--not exactly a game changer) and foreign media still banned from reporting, I don't find this surprising. The nightly screaming of Allahou akbar! doesn't make for much of a news story, and life in Tehran is generally going on as usual.

But that doesn't mean that the election is forgotten by any means. Every taxi driver I encountered shared his complaints. Ahmadinejad jokes abounded. And so did police officers.

If, in fact, the leadership of the regime thought that its people were satisfied with the election, would there be so many officers in shoulouq (rowdy, chaotic) areas? It's clear they're scared that their citizens will continue to make a scene, and according to the news I've heard recently, they are using the anniversary of violence at the University of Tehran to do just that.

But, by the same token, the people of Iran continue to be too scared to really take a stand. I heard so many complaints of government inefficiency, of corruption and lying--but not a single story of what my family did or even thought they could do to combat it.

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