Is Iran’s Government Making or Breaking Young Adults?

(Post 1)

-Intro-

“I’m not in charge of judgments in Iran. The judicial system in Iran is an independent body of its own, and it follows the laws, and it must operate according to the law” — former Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Iran is known for having a very strict government. The president and the judicial system are almost connected at the hip. Although Ahmadinejad’s statement says otherwise, the people of Iran have continuously dealt with higher authorities not keeping their word.

Many young adults living in Iran, especially women, have limited rights and are not permitted to live the life they desire. Women are obligated to wear a headscarf and cover their bodies from head to toe. The topic I am advocating for and expanding on is the whole issue of the Iranian government regulating every move the young adults make and how they are punished for, more or less, being themselves.

-Why Does This Matter To Me?-

Being of Persian background, I am aware of the way people are treated in Iran. Hearing about the government’s unfair actions is heartbreaking because I am around the same age as these young adults that are getting in trouble for their actions. Any topic regarding Iran or the way Iran limits their people is interesting to me because I have relatives living there. My cousin, who is twenty three years old, is dealing with these issues every day. I compare and contrast his life to mine and realize how lucky I am to be living in a country that is a little more lenient; America has plenty of issues of its own. America deals with inequality everyday, especially with the way policemen treat minorities.

The people of Iran protesting in the streets. (Photo Credits: Atta Kenare)

The Persian culture revolves around respect. As much as the people of Iran would like to respect the laws made by higher authorities, there is a point at which they can no longer handle the way the government holds them back, like a dog on a leash. However, the government controlling the way young adults act could also be a positive thing. It could be a way of keeping the country in order and could minimize the number of less serious cases presented. Issues similar to this, are commonly found within countries that are more lead by their military or is influenced by a specific religion.

-Insta Fail-

Recently, Iran was facing a whole scandal of their people posting pictures on Instagram that the authorities disagreed with. Women were seen uploading images of themselves without the mandatory hijab; men were also caught taking pictures that the government did not approve of. This sparked a lot of issues between the Iranian government and the people living there. Online modeling was an interest that was just beginning to spread in the country of Iran, until a numerous amount of these online models were arrested for not abiding by the regulations stated by their government.

One of the women, Elham Arab, who were arrested for posting pictures online without a hijab. (Photo Credits: Potkin Azarmehr)

New York Times author, Thomas Erdbrink, wrote an article called Iran’s Hard-Liners Crack Down on Models Not Wearing Head Scarves, which shares the stories of a number of young adults that have come in conflict with the Persian government over pictures posted online. Twenty six year old former bridal model, Elham Arab, had posted pictures online of herself without a head dress and her bleached-blonde hair. Persian hard-liners spoke up and questioned her, forcing her to delete her Instagram account.

Reformist journalist, Mojgan Faraji, believes that the hard-liners, “‘…Are doing such things to show us [Iranians] who is in power…But in the end, they [Iran hard-liners] lose, as the gap between them and the society is only widening’” (Erdbrink). I have to agree with Faraji’s argument against the Persian hard-liners.

Our society today is completely veered around social media. We are beginning to depend on social media for many things, such as finding relationships, job opportunities, and for expressing ourselves. Social media is starting to become a worldwide culture and limiting the young adults of Iran, who initially are the ones creating this new culture, will simply result in them rebelling more than they normally would.

As long as men are present, it is a part of the law that women need to keep their hijab on. Although I understand that being strict with posting pictures online of women without a headdress is an appropriate reason for the government to get involved, ultimately it is the individual’s choice to express herself the way she chooses. There is no reason for restricting someone from doing something, especially if it is not harmful to themselves or anyone around them.

-Party Foul-

New York Times author, Thomas Erdbrink, also wrote another article, Iranian Students Lashed 99 Times Over Coed Party, in regards to a situation in which the young adults of Iran are punished for holding a co-ed party. In Iran, it is illegal to have mix gender parties, consume alcohol, and dance, especially all at the same time. More than thirty men and women were arrested after receiving an arrest warrant for the party. They were sentenced to ninety nine lashes after being questioned. The women were said to be “half naked”; they were found not wearing traditional Islamic attire: the headdress, scarf, and long coat.

Persian women protesting for the students arrested for the co-ed party. (Photo Credits: Maryam Rahmanian)

Esmail Sadeghi Niaraki, Qazvin prosecutor states, “‘We hope this will be a lesson for those who break Islamic norms in private places’” (Erdbrink). It is upsetting to see the authorities treat young adults this way. They are at an age where socializing is a big part of their lives and limiting them will only cause them to act out.

If the government comes up with a compromise, they would not have to deal with so many of these cases. This issue is mostly present in the bigger cities. I disagree with the Niaraki because I am around the same age as the men and women that were arrested for this co-ed party and there is no other way of really socializing besides getting a group of friends together and celebrating. The hard-liners are just trying to create tension between the different generations, which will ultimately cause further issues.

-Conclusion-

Social media and communication are things people of all ages are constantly encountering. Limiting the use of either, especially in today’s society, will only create tension between higher authorities and the people. Is anyone doing anything to help this issue? Yes, in fact many men are wearing a hijab in attempt to help advocate this issue; pictures and videos of these men have gone viral. People are doing what they can to slowly solve this issue in Iran. Although the young adults were punished for breaking strict laws, it is unfair to restrict them from expressing themselves and growing up into well-rounded adults.

(Video of men wearing a hijab to protest for women in Iran)

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