Up on the Roof…. in Tehran

From the rooftops of Tehran, “Laleh Azadi” sends us an extraordinary essay, a “scream” into the darkness, rich with irony and insight, sadness and hope. Worth pondering in full, consider these excerpts:

“We put all our emotions into screaming “Allahu Akbar” into the night from the rooftops. We must stay under the radar during the day but the night brings a small sense of freedom. The streets are quiet and the heat has subsided so we can breath and use our voices. The calls that begin around 10 p.m. each night have gained strength since last Friday. There are more voices — both desperate and defiant — from young and old, men and women. It is the way we remind each other not to give up all hope, and it is our call for a leader.”

There’s something haunting here. In the west, we tend to associate darkness with fear, foreboding, even evil. The darkness is something we “curse.” Yet for Iranian reformists, the night becomes a sanctuary, a source of courage.
Laleh gives us more than raw emotion; she provides a different window for the outside world to comprehend the terms of the struggle:

“For many, this movement is about reclaiming the spirit and intent of the Islamic Revolution — even if most of us were born after it. We want to fight for the principles our parents fought for thirty years ago — the right to be free from tyranny, the right to choose, and the right to a voice. We see Khamenei and Ahmadinejad moving the Islamic Revolution away from democratic pluralism and towards authoritarianism.”

By day, the loudest voices of protest presently come from senior clerics, something Laleh wishes to explain:

“It might seem surprising to outsiders that the loudest voices of dissent are coming from the religious seminaries and Muslim clerics in Qum, but this is not unusual for Iran. Since the revolution, human rights activists, feminists, and even left-leaning politicians have found their greatest ally in Islam. Hence, the use of the color green — the color of Islam — for this resistance movement. It is as if to say to the conservative clerics who rule the country, “You cannot suppress us with religion. The martyred Imam Hussein is our example and Islam is our religion. It protects us, gives us a voice, and compels us to be compassionate for all humanity.”

In Laleh’s real world, all is not black and white, nor is it velvet. It’s green.

6 thoughts on “Up on the Roof…. in Tehran

  1. scott h

    ah yes, stick to the ideological script, somebody else is behind this. These folks just couldn’t possibly protesting of their own volition now, could they? Because they’re not protesting economics or against America, they must somehow be deluded pawns….
    Alas, for all too many of our friends on the left regarding Iran, Hamid Dabashi (not exactly a right winger) has a point…. about “the colonized mind…. is still a colonized mind”
    (even as I lament how personal his attack went on yet another friend)

  2. brian

    ‘ah yes, stick to the ideological script, somebody else is behind this. These folks just couldn’t possibly protesting of their own volition now, could they?’
    FYI scot
    ‘Secondly, Iranian citizens were selected or volunteered on the Internet to chat on Facebook or to subscribe to Twitter feeds. They received information —true or false— (still via SMS) about the evolution of the political crisis and the ongoing demonstrations. These anonymous news posts were spreading news of gun fights and numerous deaths which to this day have not been confirmed. Because of an unfortunate calendar overlap, Twitter was supposed to suspend its service for a night to allow for some maintenance of its systems. The US State Department intervened to ask them to postpone it [13]. According to the New York Times, these operations contributed to spread defiance in the population [14].’
    you must be very naieve scott…or a mole///

  3. s.e.

    Yes SH is annoying and he continues to treat Tehran as Iran but linking to a 9-11 hoaxer won’t help.

  4. iranlaya

    Oh, Brian….sorry to disappoint you but this is all about Iran. What an insult to the millions of Iranians who are fighting for their freedom! Stop following this utter nonsense….

  5. Salah

    Fatwa by Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, who is Ahmadinejad’s mentor, Iran version of Bin Ladan :
    * Those who are opposed to the Velaayat-e Faghih (guardianship of the jurist; the backbone of Iran’s political system) should get a passport and leave the country.
    * People are sheep; their opinion does not matter.
    * If people do not give their consent to the Islamic government that he advocates, it is permissible to obtain their consent by force.
    * Islam does allow use of violence to govern an Islamic nation.
    * Iran’s Supreme Leader is selected by God; the task of the ayatollah is to discover whom God has selected.
    * The powers of the Supreme Leader are unlimited. He can act above and beyond what Iran’s Constitution allows him to do.

Comments are closed.