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Spencer Neff

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04:07 pm: Beautiful
Azadeh Moaveni is an Iranian expatriot who grew up in California and later returned as a journalist. This is from the introduction of her new book Lipstick Jihad, and I just love it. I'll be reading this one soon, hopefully.

While the vast majority of Iranians despised the clerics and dreamed of a secular government, no easy path to that destination presented itself. In the meanwhile, revolutionary ideology was drawing its last, gasping breaths. Its imminent death was everywhere on display. You saw it in when the Basiji kids, the regime's thug-fundamentalist militia, stopped a car for playing banned music, confiscated the tapes, and then popped them into their own car sterio. You saw it when the children of the senior clerics showed up at parties and on the ski slopes, dressed in Western clothes and alienated from their parents' radical legacy. It was there outside the courthouse on Vozara Street, where young people laughed and joked as they awaited their trials and lashings, before brushing them off and going on to the next party.

Iran's young generation is transforming Iran from below. From the religious student activists to the ecstacy-trippers, from the bloggers to the bed-hopping college students, they will decide Iran's future. I decided I wanted to live like them, as they did, their "as if" lifestyle. They chose to act "as if" it was permitted to hold hands on the street, blast music at parties, speak your mind, challenge authority, take your drug of choice, grow your hair long, wear too much lipstick. [...]

As I sort through the clothes [from my two years in Iran], peeling veil from veil, it is like tracing the rings of a tree trunk to tell its evolution. The outer layers are a wash of color, dashing tones of turquoise and frothy pink, in delicate chiffons and translucent silks. They are the colors that are found in life—the color of pomegranites and pistachio, the sky and bright spring leaves—in fabrics that breathe. Underneath, as I dig down, there are dark, matte veils, long formless robes in funeral tones of slate and black. That is what we wore, back in 1998. Along the way, the laws never changed. Parliament never officially pardoned color, sanctioned the exposure of toes and waistlines. Young women did it themselves, en masse, a slow, deliberate, widespread act of defiance. A jihad, in the classical sense of the word: a struggle.

-- Azadeh Moaveni, "Lipstick Jihad"

Current Music: Scriabin - Op.8 No.11
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