Publicado em 12 de julho de 2007
Traduções disponíveis em: فارسى (original) .

Beauty humiliated? Or humiliation beautified?

Temas fortes ligados: Mulheres e responsabilidade .
Temas largos ligados: Human Rights . Women .

Being a woman in Iran today

Tuesday, 25th May 2007

You are sitting in the car, your eyes wandering in the beautiful green eyes of the spring, having lowered the window to let the wind carry the livening sound of the flute from the cassette player to the trees.

You hear a motorcycle howling next to the car. Your eyes turn in the direction of the sound. A man in uniform signals you to stop the car.

Your heart slides down your veins. You hear it crash on the ground. A faded feeling returns after 10 years. Fear? Insecurity? Or fear of insecurity?

The experience of this slipping, down the slide of the veins, has always been accompanied with joy and a sweet excitement in your memory. As a child, you would skid down a real metallic slide and your motion would wrap a pleasant wind around your small torso and hurl your free falling hair up. How light you were!

Enter love in subsequent years. A slide on which every time the sliding of your heart would be the motion of your words and a dancing wind in the height of your being. Something resembling a verse or a magic. A combination of excitement and joy.

For years, fear, insecurity and humiliation have occupied the seats of love, beauty and confidence and have driven them out of their fatherland.

You must get off the car. You switch off the music. You pull the headscarf forward, even though you know it is too late. There is nothing wrong with your hejab, your cloak is long and your trousers are ankle length. You think of all your uncommitted sins and all the innocent sinners around you. Whom have you talked to in the past few days?

You get off. He asks for your documents. You give them and he pockets them. You ask about the problem. The motorcyclist puts the walkie-talkie under his arm, takes off his helmet. He says, your headscarf had slipped back along the expressway. He had been instructed on his walkie-talkie to stop the car and detain you. You ask, what is wrong with your hejab in his opinion. He says nothing wrong now, but he doesn’t know how you have been seen a quarter of an hour ago. Anyhow, he has his commands and he is only a soldier [1].

A pawn? Are you not a pawn?
You are reminded of chess. The chessmen, black or white, are only men. And the pawns are always the first to fall victim. Victims to masterminds? Or unthinking strong hands?

You try to talk to the solider. He says they will not bother you; you will give a moral undertaking in the Vices Department! And a fine for a few days in the parking lot. That is all.

That ‘all’ means a few days of chasing for your documents. That ‘all’ means looking at yourself through the eyes of insult and humiliation. That ‘all’ means many other things which are both this and that. Although neither this nor that.

Screams from the other side of the square draw the attention of you both. A woman, having lost her headscarf, hands and face red, is screaming. She is swearing and resisting attempts to push her into a minibus which is not empty. They hit her in the stomach with a baton. She writhes in pain; she coils in, just like the Human Rights Charter.

The women get off the minibus, but they get on again at the threat of the batons.

A woman, clad black allover, shouts: If you don’t keep quiet, you will all be imprisoned for threatening the national security.

Right there, you wipe out the previous formula from your mind and write a new one, national security is unequal to individual security.

The soldier tells you: ah, you see? One of “you”. Some people just don’t want to behave themselves.

You feel a wave of warmth within you upon hearing “you” and the fact that you belong to a group of the non-behaving.

Another woman is pulling at the chador of the black-clad woman, crying and saying that her child is alone at home, if they let her go, she would promise not to leave home without a headdress from tomorrow on. No use.

What about you? Do you want to behave? How should you behave? Beg others?

You ask the soldier: Why did it turn out like this all of a sudden? You ask: Is the form of a woman so important for others to be worth so much violence? His grin resembles a sentence, “what a stupid question!” and he shakes his head. He says he has no power.

He asks you to go with him as soon as possible and leave the car in the parking lot before they catch you. He leads you out of the scene like a criminal.

You read in the papers tomorrow that the new clothing design has been submitted to the parliament. A few days later you hear here and there that the accepted design may only be used in four colors. Black, brown, navy blue, gray. The colors that don’t appear in the rainbow of beauties. Dead colors. The same as your earth. You also hear that one of the MPs has said that the parliament is no place to decide about fashion and clothes and those who have any problems with the Islamic hejab, could leave Iran! Leave or be forced out?

Two weeks later, you see faceless dummies of women in shop windows sporting cloaks in identical forms and colors, black, brown, gray and navy blue. The only permitted colors. The faces look at you with no sound and no eyes. You ponder if this conformism and abolition of differences aim at anything other than achieving formlessness. There would be no organisation or protest in formlessness. And the word “you” rings in your head, just like the enjoyable wrapping of the wind around the small torso of a little girl at the top of the slide.


[1] The word used means both a soldier and pawn in chess.


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