Shahrzad of the year 2000
by Ziba Kazemi


Ashura - Photo by Ziba Kazemi



The establishment of the Islamic Republic has opened, for the first time, the way to religious islamists, who have revealed their doctrine and imposed on Iranian people the ‘’dictatorship of the Mullah’’.


Women became their preferred targets, for they were deprived of certain of their gains including the clothing choice, which represent the symbol of the control over women.


With time, women obtained a relative and nebulous freedom, though under high surveillance. Nevertheless, they handled their freedom with a great intelligence and patience.


The young Iranian ladies have to impose themselves in an obviously shrewd and defaced way since they cannot form gathering groups. Such groups would be labeled as ‘’enemies of Islam’’ and their acts would be described as an ‘’insult to Islam’’.


So, avoiding being in an awkward position, they contradict one of the fundamental principles of Islam so often quoted by politico-religious leaders and engraved here and there on the cities walls with impressive letters. This invites then the population to moan and glorify the martyred.


For them, in particular, each event, even the one of religion, is a good opportunity to stress their interest in enjoying life and their preference for festivals. Thus as soon as there is a reason, they get involved and transform things just as they wish, pretending to comply with rules imposed by religious.


A religious gathering would also be used as a place for trysts, comical meetings or picnics in the countryside.

So covering the Ashurâ Ceremony at Abyaneh, I was also a spectator of the Abyaneh Transfiguration characterized by a pinkish shade, born at the old city of Khashan, in the center of the country. Their fifteen families, all of whom are very old persons, allowed generously the annual Ashurâ Ceremony. We are talking about the Commemoration of the death of Hussein, the third Imam of Shiite Muslims.


The show was wonderful and led to all kinds of sensations except the sadness of bereavement, the venerated ingredient of the power in place.


Colors, skillfully chosen, mixed to black and supported each other. Women were going for a walk, putting make-up on their visages as if they were in picnics of girlfriends in love with their boyfriends, holding ice cream cones. They left behind them care freeness and indifference to a regime for which they have no appreciation.

The majority of participants were women. They came here to avoid the traditional Ashurâ of cities oppressed by a black and hairy world, surrounded by drab colored standards to finally wear out and stagger under the so terrible shouts that we could not hear the reason for.


They also came here to transfigure a religious ceremony of a great importance and the philosophy of which is no longer defendable because it became the instrument of a questioned and questionable regime.

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