This is a Tehran dispatch from an anonymous student in Iran who has been blogging for The Washington Note and other sites and publications, including the New York Times, as “Shane M.”
The dispatch that follows appeared in Salonand at Juan Cole’s Informed Comment.
A clip from Tehran Dispatch: Basijis Hang Around, Do Nothing. . .
And on the 13th day Michael Jackson died. Voice of America and BBC Persian are back up, if intermittently, and we crowd around like the rest of the world for the latest news. It is almost a relief. Being a full-time revolutionary is hard work, difficult to sustain. Seeing the non-stop coverage, the obvious distraction of his passing, we grimly joke that Michael was a martyr for the cause. At least he had the decency to delay his death until the worst violence had already passed.
Things are going back to their regular marks. In the afternoons the parks fill up again with old ladies and young couples. There’s badminton and soccer for kids to play at night. Well-dressed men in jackets and dress pants exercise on the cardio equipment provided by the city. The scenes around the squares, lately the places of so much celebration and trouble, are almost back to normal. Traffic is back. A car flies towards Ariashahr Square, a young man with slicked back hair and aviator glasses leans out of the passenger window chest first. He removes his shades and turns his palms upwards, beseeching the ladies in the car next to him to pull over. Unimpressed, or maybe they’re being coy, the girls pull away and race ahead of their pursuers. The two boys give chase. Cops and basijis hang around the circle but do nothing, what do they care…?
Every young person I see I wonder, What were you doing three weeks ago? Who were you then? I look for signs of subversion. A girl wears a green headscarf. A kid shifts gears in his Kia Pride with an arm encased in a green cast. What does it mean? Together, in a crowd, the color green added up to something. Alone, spread apart and without context, they are just moments of coincidence.
— Steve Clemons