May 19, 2014


Tehran treads social liberties tightrope (Amin Shahriar , 5/19/14, Asia Times Online)

In hindsight, the liberal urban middle class was very much in a minority when the Iranian revolution, or the Islamic revolution as it is referred to by Iranian authorities, overthrew the secular regime of the shah. Being traditional and religious, the majority of people had no difficulty coming to terms with the standards advocated by the new regime and the dissenting minority was easily silenced. 

The war provided the regime with justification to violate people's social freedoms for eight years. Unfortunately for the Islamic regime, the population composition of large cities have undergone a fundamental change, creating threats for the regime at every turn. 

The silent move towards requesting social liberties has long begun. Now that the kids born in the 1990s are coming of age, they don't appear to agree with their parents or even their elder siblings. Called third generation revolution kids, they are much less attached to the revolutionary values and not in the least concerned about religion and politics. 

Teenagers and young adults seem to prefer a lifestyle resembling that of Western countries. Drinking is no more a taboo and young boys and girls have very liberal relationships which were almost unheard of about two decades ago. The rate of divorce has increased and now there are a large number of uninhibited single and divorced young women who have economic independence and, therefore, do no seek marital support to meet their financial needs. Many of these young people have opted for a lifestyle that is by no means congruent with what is portrayed by officials as the single right way to live. 

The media have of course had a very strong role to play. According to official statistics, about 70% of Iranians tend to watch satellite television. This means that they are not as susceptible to the government propaganda as they once were. The Internet has also removed the geographical boundaries, making it possible for young people in Iran to become part of the youth culture globally. Social networks have expedited this shift. 

Posted by at May 19, 2014 6:35 PM

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