Friday, December 30, 2005

Iran: The Younger Generation's 'Tehran Blues' - RADIO FREE EUROPE / RADIO LIBERTY

Iran: The Younger Generation's 'Tehran Blues' - RADIO FREE EUROPE / RADIO LIBERTY

The Hejab Wars

Although the hejab wars have been a constant feature of the past two decades, not all youth are openly defiant to the Islamic codes of appearance. There are still many young girls, particularly in smaller towns and cities, that choose to wear the chador in public; many boys who dress in the bland, traditionally religious uniform of plain shirts and trousers. However, as it becomes more and more difficult to forestall youngsters' exposure to what is happening beyond Iran's borders, this is undergoing a rapid change, even among strict traditional religious families. Parissa, a 16-year-old high-school student whose parents have brought her up wearing the chador since the age of nine, told me how every day in her life was a constant show.

"On my way to school, as soon as I get far enough from home, I turn into a back alley. I carefully fold my black chador and stuff it in my schoolbag. I daub my cheeks with some rouge that I have stashed away in my bag, and then I walk towards the school. At a safe distance from the school, I wipe off the rouge and put on the chador again."

Being a relative of mine, she confided in me that she sometimes saw a young boy and that they walked together a short distance hold hands.

"Do you call up each other?" I asked.

"Why, of course not. My parents have their eyes and ears glued to the telephone!"

"So how do you communicate?"

"Why, of course, through the web. Whenever I'm allowed to log on to the web for some research work, he comes into the same chat-room as I do."

Just because the president is crazy, doesn't mean everyone else is.