Back in the day, when I still lived in Iran, whenever I saw the van of morality police, parked in a crowded path, I liked to stay in a corner and observe how people going to deal with these predators. To some extent, this Ideological section of the Iranian police force, so called “The morality police”, are hunters, and ordinary secular Iranians are the hunt. Especially if you consider the fact that many of these so-called enjoiners aren’t police officers. They are volunteers, serving under the title of honorary police. They really see themselves in the middle of an Islamic crusade. The Islamic republic knows they can’t 100% trust real police forces on this and need troops who actually believe in it.
Different people, act differently when encountering the morality police. a teen girl, walking with her mother, changed their direction right after they saw the van, like a swimmer noticing a shark. rational choice. But some people prefer a civil disobedience adventure. A boy and a girl, the boy wants to spin and turn quickly. the girl disagreed, held his arm and pushed him forward. The shark came close, as an observer I thought it’s prepare to attack, but they only gazed into each other’s eyes, gazing full of hate. The predator wasn’t in the mood for violence that day and the young couple were gone. Regarding several terrifying films of beating girls by the morality police in Iran, we know the couple above were lucky
Since the 1979 revolution, several Martial units had the responsibility to make sure that Iranian society looks Islamic. No alcohol, No boy-girl relationship, No eating and drinking in public during Ramadan, and of course No female without hijab. Officially They call it “enjoining good and forbidding wrong”. There is an office with this title in every town. The “enjoiners of good” are part of any Iranian life experience. When dating the opposite gender, or wearing clothes as you like, and even sometimes drinking water! is illegal, it would be so hard to never break any law. In Iran our teenage hood begins with breaking these tough Islamic laws. Basically all Iranians have so many memories how they avoid unpleasant encounters with morality police (except for those who born in religious and loyal to the regime families).
Whenever someone call this bizarre rules a dress code, it makes me really angry. there is no code when there is no democracy, It’s all and only tyranny. And tyrants won’t response to the people. If you ask the Iranian authorities (as I did when I was a journalist there), they will tell you the “enjoiners of good” only guide people with their words, not to the use of force. Arresting girls for wearing inappropriate hijab is very, very rare, and all the negative reports about them are conspiracy. but anyone who lives in Iran knows that this cat and mouse game often turns brutal. In the past two decades, dozens of videos and reports have been published on the internet, indicating the savage approach of enjoiners.
Now a young girl is dead in their custody. A pure catastrophe, shocking but oddly not surprising. She wasn’t the first victim of Tehran’s dictators, and maybe not the last one. I thought about many poetic lines to write here, but Murdering innocents on purpose, it’s beyond all emotions. When the disaster is so huge, only realism would work. We supposed to face our deepest fears to the use of poetry. Well, our fears are in the streets! As Theodor Adorno said: To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric.
Insisting on mandatory hijab, makes a serious Paradox for the religious groups who are faithful to the Islamic state. The problem is, in 1963, when Khomeini began his movement, his problem was women’s voting rights, not establishing a modern Islamic civilization, as they say today in Iranian schools. Khomeini just wanted a country to rule with the Islamic law in it. He was just like the Taliban. No horizon for the country and no planning for the future. Having a horizon and concerning the future came to Islamic republic of Iran from Lebanese Shia groups.
Now, this insisting on the matter of hijab, brings this question, if our goal is to create a new civilization era, why do we cling to a simple issue like hijab so hard that brings all this troubles and also push people to hate Islam? This unanswered question makes the cult of Islamic republic fans, smaller but the residuals will be more radical.