The disenchantment of Iranian youth

Disenchantment. That is the feeling of many Iranian youth and women six months after the start of the protests sparked by the death of Masha Amini in the face of few changes that have been achieved at great cost.

The 22-year-old Kurdish girl died in police custody after being detained by the Moral Police for not wearing the Islamic veil properly in Tehran, sparking protests that have called for the end of the Islamic Republic.

With imagination and mobile phones, young Iranians protested in the streets, universities and even schools shouting “woman, life, freedom” for months. Many women even burned their veils and danced in the streets, in a series of acts unimaginable weeks before. They allowed themselves to dream of an Iran different from the theocracy founded by Ayatollah Ruholá Khomeini in 1979. But it could not be.

The Islamic Republic resorted to a crackdown that caused nearly 500 deaths and the arrest of tens of thousands of people.

Because of this repression, the protests have almost disappeared, beyond fleeting flashes, as happened Tuesday night during the celebration of the Iranian fire festival or “Chaharshanbe Suri.”


The high price in deaths and arrests has caused disenchantment among many of those who dreamed of another Iran.

“Nothing has changed,” says Kyra, a resident of Tehran who has not worn the veil for months, in a gesture of civil disobedience.

“The protest movement has not been recognized by the regime,” explains the woman, which for her means that the government is not willing to accept changes.

The authorities announced in December in a confusing way the dismantling of the feared Moral Police, a scourge of women who did not cover their heads or bodies sufficiently.

And many women continue their fight leaving their long hair in the air, without the veil, one of the symbols of Iranian theocracy.

But for Kyra it is not enough, the laws that impose the veil have not been eliminated and she believes that the problem is not only the Government.

“You can go without a veil in the north of Tehran, but in the more conservative southern neighborhoods, people will tell you in a bad way to wear it,” she explains.

“The mentality of many people is still intact in a country that is basically very traditional,” he continues. Darejani, another resident of the Iranian capital, agrees with Kyra.

“The only thing that has changed is that many women go without a veil,” she explains with her dark hair uncovered.

But this mother of two teenagers fears that the authorities are going to impose the hijab again, one way or another.

“There are banks that don’t serve you if you don’t wear a veil,” she says.

Darejani believes that behind everything that has happened there is above all a generational change and points to her teenage daughters, absolutely reluctant to cover their heads with a piece of cloth.

“What is the government going to do with my daughters and their friends?” she wonders.

Raffaele Mauriello, an Iranianologist and professor of Spanish Language and Literature at the Allame Tabatabaí University in Tehran, also points to the change of generation rather than political changes.

“It is not a paradigm shift. It is a generational step, ”he explains.

It refers to the generation of 1380 (according to the Iranian calendar, those born since 2000), who came into the world decades after the triumph of an Islamic Revolution with which they do not identify.

And he sees around him “a lot of disappointment” after the “failed” protests. “Many of the young people who have protested have seen with their own eyes that it is not so easy to change things,” she says.


But among the disappointment there are those who still see glimpses of hope. “There is more solidarity among the people,” another resident of Tehran told EFE.

“When I go down the street without a veil and I come across a woman who is also without a veil, we wink at each other or make a victory gesture with our fingers,” he says.

And he also believes that many men are now less sexist and more supportive of women as a result of the protests. “There will be changes, but they will come more slowly than we want,” she says, convinced that sooner or later they will achieve the freedoms many Iranians crave. (EFE)

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Deborah Acker

I write epic fantasy; self-published via KDP. Devoted dog mom to my 10 yr old GSD, Shadow! DM not a priority; slow response at best #amwriting #author.

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