When I was at university, I remember I had an Ethiopian friend who had been a school pupil during the Marxist rule in Ethiopia. I once asked him if they were taught about Marxism-Leninism at school during those years. He shook his head and sighed as if I had touched a sore point. He told me with much grief how they had to stay behind every day after normal classes and learn about Marxism-Leninism, and God forbid if one of the students in the class raised his hand to ask a question, the other kids would gang up and beat the crap out of him after the class outside. Reason being that any question asked prolonged the pain and the suffering of having to stay behind and listen to all that nonsense, whereas kids wanted to finish school asap and go to the beach or the cinema and enjoy themselves. Yet for another friend of mine who was a student in Chile, under Pinochet, where Marxist literature was banned, going along to secret "study cells" and learning about such matters, not only was not boring but it was actually a cool thing to do.
The point I am trying to make by giving the examples above is that when any state wants to force feed you with some unwanted ideology, the natural reaction is to regurgitate it and puke it up. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, there are many such examples. The population is so continuously bombarded with empty meaningless slogans like the revolutionary Islam, the dispossessed, joys of martyrdom, the Graceful Supreme Leader, the combatant clergy and the hypocrisy of it all makes them run a mile as soon as they hear these things or such repeated phrases have become the butt of day to day jokes.
Another symbol of defiance to the ruling clerics in Iran is wearing a tie. Ever since the inception of Fedayeen of Islam in 1946, a fundamentalist Shiite terrorist group, which set about killing secular Iranian intellectuals like the great Iranian historian and linguist, Ahmad Kasravi, a tie for Shiite fundamentalists has been a symbol of a cross and Christian domination of Islamic people. I remember reading an article about, Navab Safavi, the founder of this terrorist group and a disciple of Ayatollah Khomeini, in the newspapers after the 1979 revolution, and how he would only allow a reporter interview him if he removed his tie first. The way the article described Navab Safavi's insistence at the reporter to remove his tie was as if it was the ultimate act of piety by this single brain cell terrorist.
Hence you never see an Islamic Republic official wear a tie. You will never see an Islamic Republic diplomat, statesman, embassy staff or anyone with an official position wear a tie. Instead they either wear those round collar shirts, or round neck sweaters or button up their shirts all the way to the top. For this reason, wearing a tie, especially on special occasions, for the Iranian youth is a must and a symbol of defiance to the mullahs.
I remember during the making of the Dispatches documentary, Iran Forbidden, I was at the end of my tether, trying to tell the Iranian dissident students, that this documentary will be for the English speaking market and here the students wear T-shirts and jeans. But whatever I said it did not stop them from wearing a suit and a tie for the interviews. Once I was called up to the sound studio and asked to translate a badly recorded scene. A former Iranian student was ringing his friend back in Iran. To my horror and despite my repeated requests, he had put on his best silk shirt, tie, cuff links, white socks , the lot. The sound engineer, who had only seen that scene and didn't know what the documentary was about, asked me if the subject was a second hand used car salesman? and I was resigned to go through the whole spiel of why Iranian youth insist on wearing a tie, repeating some of all I have written above to make him understand. Although I think the sound engineer was just sorry he had asked me the question in the first place.
When some news agencies reported a few days ago that thirty-two Iranian students who showed up to their graduation ceremony with a tie were told their final exams could be annulled as a form of punishment for not having removed their tie, I was inundated with my non-Iranian contacts as to why that may be the case. Hence I thought I write this post, it will now be easier to refer them to this post than to explain to them who the terrorist Navab Safavi was and the roots of the ruling clerics in Iran now every time I am asked the question.
great posts .... apparantly ahmadinejad after making his speech in the US denying the existance of homosexuality in Iran went with his cabinet on a trip to qazvin ... on hisw way to the mayors office he noticed that one of the main streets was called "koocheyeh bache kooni" ... he told off the officials telling them that such a name is un-islamic and against revolutionary principles and demanded it be changed immediately ... next day the street was duly renamed "koocheyeh rais-joumhour ahmadinejad - bache koonieh sabeq"
Great subject - I posted it on Searchles.
Finally! I have always wondered why the Iranian officials never wear a tie.
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