Time for an awakening

Nasrin Alavi, Open Democracy, February 2:

A campaign in mid-2008 in the Islamic Republic of Iran against “bad hijab” – scarves worn in a way that reveal a woman’s hair and thus violate the country’s rigorous public dress-code – saw many women arrested and an even larger number cautioned. At the time a university student called Shadi offered me a handy obstacle-course roadmap of Tehran, which she and a group of her friends had compiled. This contained advice on how to avoid the “annoying hassle” of arrest, in part by highlighting all the major centres and thoroughfares in Tehran where police-cars and police-vans are deployed.

The roadmap seemed to sum up the mood of many young people like Shadi that I’d met in the previous couple of years; outmanoeuvre and outwit the authorities, rather than risk a direct confrontation.

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