Wednesday, May 17, 2006
The Words We Use
I read an article in The Sun (if you don't get this magazine, go RIGHT NOW and start subscribing).

The article highlighted Nasrin Alavi's book We are Iran: The Persian Blogs. I haven't blogged for a few days because of this article--because it was so moving.

Our words are so important. Our creativity, or mundane thoughts, or personal diaries, or our lists of things done and left undone is what makes our blogs so wonderful. Everyday, we sit down and write, and we leave those words out there in hyperspace. We do not fear our words being stripped away from us. It is not something with which we concern ourselves. We are free with our language and our opinions and our beliefs. Somewhere in all of this freedom, we forget the importance of words, grammar, speech, metaphor.

I am such a terrible writer compared to these souls in Iran.

In Iran, it is illegal to have a blog. Should one have a blog and voice dissent about the current political and religious mores, one is considered a treasonist, and capital punishment is allowable in such circumstance. To have a blog in Iran can be a death sentence. Yet, these people take that chance to be heard, and to voice opinions that do not echo those of the current government.

In Iran, it is illegal for women to wear makeup or show their hair. Many of these brave women do so, anyway, because until 1979, Western dress was the norm. Then, rights were slowly stripped away. Lipstick is commonly removed from a woman's face with a razor.

In Iran, it is illegal to dispute the law of Islam. Individuals voice their cynism of the religious leaders loudly on their blogs, risking arrest and possible bodily harm. But they do it--because they have their words.

In Iran, it is illegal to show public affection with one's mate. Holding hands is frowned upon. Kissing is absolutely off limits. Yet, the power of love between two will shake and rattle this decree; on any given night, Iranian couples are hugging in the dark, between shadows, hiding from the police forces made up of young boys.

And these composers of thoughts--thoughts that are illegal to possess--manage and construct their ideas with such fluency and beauty. Every story they write, every missive they relay, is one of introspection and careful wordsmithing. It is because their words are so precious. Their words are jewels in a dry, dusty desert of literature. It becomes evident that every Iranian who blogs is a literary master. Even the most mundane accounts related by the writers have a deeper connotation. It does not take a Rhodes scholar to hear the truth about Iran through the lines of these blogs.

When we write, or blog, or sing, or laugh out loud, we are living. If these rights are stripped from us, then we simply survive. But life, as we all know, persists. It persists in these illegal blogs of Iran. It persists when a young woman dons a head scarf just a little too far back from her brow, showing a sleek cap of hair. It persists when a man decides to skip religious services and drink coffee, instead. It persists when a husband tells his wife how much he loves her.

Think about your words. Craft them--nurture them to the best of your ability. We write because so many cannot. Let us not forget this liberty; let us hone our freedoms into writs of history.

I leave you with the brief excerpt from the article:

October 29, 2003:

"My daughter wanted to get her nose pierced. I resisted and told her
that she was bound to regret it and that she should wait until she was a bit
older and then decide for herself. She looked at me then and said:
"Piercing your nose is no big deal. Maybe I will in the end regret it, but
that's not the whole world. It is a small wish. By banning it,
you're turning a small wish into my ultimate dream. Why do you want me to
have such insignificant dreams? If I can fulfill these small wishes and
not grow up with such trivial dreams, don't you think I will have a better life
waiting for me?"

We too had such insignificant wishes, and even when we grew up they didn't
come true. There were so many times we wanted to go somewhere, and they
wouldn't let us, and it became a dream. So many times they even stopped us
from running. It came to the point that we weren't even allowed to take
small steps.

This is Iran"


Written by FRITZ
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Name: Fritz

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