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While We Were All Asleep


'No country has ever been fixed by its people sitting behind their computers.'

'No country has ever been fixed by its people sitting behind their computers.'

Blogger Maryam, who is in her mid-twenties, believes that young Iranians have been deeply apathetic in recent years and are therefore to blame for the reelection of Mahmud Ahmadinejad. She believes wearing green wristbands, chanting slogans, and campaigning on Facebook will not lead to real change, and calls for action.

I have read and heard a lot these days that our generation has been sacrificed. Especially after the recent events, I can see the hopelessness within my age group. Perhaps I will be the same one day and believe in it all. Believe in sitting in one corner and moaning about the cruelty of life.

For some time now, I’ve been thinking, Why us?! Why should this all happen to our country now, with us being its youth?!!

I think we have been sacrificed because we wanted it to happen. We are a lazy generation. Not incompetent, but we are reluctant to look for a solution and accept responsibility. We are being sacrificed because we have veiled ourselves from the responsibilities that we ought to accept for our country’s future. And what could be a better excuse than arousing sympathy for ourselves in others?

Seriously, when will we stop blaming our past rulers for our current misfortunes, holding other generations responsible for the cruelty being incurred upon us, blaming our fathers and mothers for not having done anything for us, waiting for payback from the politicians whom we thought might be better leaders for us but weren’t? When? Just take a look at ourselves -- we are always looking for someone to blame.

I think about what have my generation and I done for ourselves that we expect others to do for us. How long can we run away from the truth? Whatever we face across our path, in the end we come back to our own actions. We didn’t want to act; we didn’t want to get involved. Our generation is one of fugitives; everyone escaped in one way or other.

I think about what happened so that Mahmud Ahmadinejad became our president. Whether we want it or not, he is going to remain our president for another four years. No matter where we go, we shall be told that realities cannot be changed with slogans such as “Ahmadinejad is not my president,” and calling Mir Hossein Musavi president. I try to ponder over what our generation did to itself to deserve such a president.

In fact, this selection and this election was a slap in the face, a wakeup call for all of us to realize that we have been asleep for 10-20 years, or were pretending to be asleep.

Our generation fell asleep, and the result is our suffering. Years have passed and we have continued to remain either uninvolved or silent against the repression. There was also fraud in last year’s parliamentary elections as well (something that I saw with my own eyes). But when we become hopeless, stay out of it, and say “they are all the same” and “politics is disgusting,” when we don’t vote and do not take part in the elections, how can we understand the fact that corruption lies deep within the history of this country and is not only restricted to the past couple of months? The state broadcasters have been lying to the people for God knows how long -- why hasn’t anyone protested against this?

When all the power of my generation is demonstrated by going onto their rooftops at night and shouting “Allahu Akbar” or shouting slogans on the streets with a cloth that covers their face; when my generation spends their time updating their profile pictures on Facebook; when all the power of my generation is in writing blog posts and sharing feeds on Facebook and friend feeds; writing slogans and coloring billboards green; when my generation evades Iran and passes judgments on others from abroad; when all they do is fill up nasty comments on a journalist’s page....

When my generation is not creative enough; when all they could come up with is some fixed time to plug in their irons or gather at some venue; when they await statements from here and there; when they are still looking for the “victim” and the “culprit”; when my generation is daydreaming about its president; when my generation still believes there is democracy in the country; when they are afraid of accepting responsibility; when the leaders of my generation are 60-70 years of age; when my generation thinks there is nothing they could do; when they are hopeless; when my generation is suffering from several physical and emotional pain -- do you then expect them not to arrest, not to rape, not to do whatever they feel like? When we are powerless, actionless and speechless, do we expect them to watch us? Unfortunately, they don’t see us -- and not only don’t they see us, but they shut us up.

We haven’t done anything for ourselves and from what it looks like, we are not going to. It’s surprising that we have yet to hear something new and original. It looks as if we did want this to happen after all so that we could call ourselves the wasted generation. It is as if we longed to blame someone, so that we could moan once again like before (more intensely this time) over the quality of this government. We waited to keep ourselves out of it, pretend to be asleep and carry on with our personal lives. Seriously, how important was this society and its people for us in the past 20 years, 12 years, 8 years, even 4 years? Did we even bother to follow the news and notice the events around us? How much did we involve ourselves in these? Did we offer any suggestions, or merely wait for others?

I regret my behavior; that I didn’t do anything for my country; that I didn’t want to. I was like my other friends who believed that this is not a country to live in. After these elections, I changed my perspective. At least I, who claim to be concerned about my country, ought to stay here, ought to stay and do something (despite the fact that I do not know what to do yet but I do know that nothing is going to change with these protests and gatherings). At least I have dealt with myself. I could either not pass any judgment about my country, living my life as I want to, or when I do comment, I should be able to accept the responsibility for what is happening in my country. At least I have realized that no country has ever been fixed by its people sitting behind their computers sharing feeds.

Something has to be done. I have to do something.

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.

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