PARIS, 10 July (IPS) Younger Iranians, including the students, fed up with 25 years of constant religious propaganda by the regime, are looking to new ways to succeed in life, far away from the official ideology.
In an article published Saturday by the French centre right newspaper “Le Figaro”, Ms. Delphine Minou’i, the paper’s correspondent in Tehran says the “new source of imitation for the young Iranians are no more the grand ayatollahs, but those who have made fortune thanks to their initiatives.
The article coincides with the fifth commemoration of the students revolt against the Islamic Republic, an event that had been prohibited by the authorities, deploying massive police forces in Tehran and other major cities to prevent any demonstrations by the students.
The Iranians live in an environment that is closed on them
Although the date passed without major demonstrations, but officials admitted the arrest of some five hundreds “trouble-makers” they said had “nothing to do with the students.
As the regime stopped the students to mark the savage assault on students who were demonstrating peacefully in their dormitories the closure of a popular newspaper, the Office for Consolidating Unity, the Iranian student’s largest organisation called on the United Nations to help them identifying the culprits of the nightly raid that resulted in the arrest of hundreds of students, the wounding of hundred others and the death of at least one.
“Since all our efforts to have the culprits brought to trial have reached no conclusion, we call on international organisations to put pressures on the Iranian authorities in the identification of those responsible for the savage operation against the students”, the OCU said in a communiqué.
“As all good Shi’ite who respects itself, Babak Moradi possesses a "marja’", a "source of imitation", spiritual guide to which the Iranians refer traditionally in important moments of their life. But contrary to his coreligionists, the young Tehrani of 24 years didn't choose an ayatollah in turban and white beard. His "marja’" is called Jack Welch, the former Chairman of the American giant General Electric”, the article starts.
"I read a great number of his books", confess Babak, who has just finished brilliantly studies in industrial management at the Shahid Behechti University. "He is an aged and experienced man, but has remained young in his head. For me, it is very important. He is creative and looks toward the future. He is a true manager, but above all, an excellent coach". He adds.
Tired of the repetitive speeches of the religious who rule the country since twenty-five years, the new Iranian generation sulks the politics. For the commemoration of the student’s riots of the summer 1999, the majority of the students opted for silence. Disappointed by the failure of the reforms initiated in 1997 by President Khatami, disgusted by the return in strength of the conservatives that have taken back the majority in the new Parliament and controlled closely by the police and judicial forces, they are in quest of new models of reference.
To the collective mobilization experienced by their parents at the time of the revolution of 1979, they prefer a more individual approach, a violent, underground revolt. Hence the hitherto boom of the reading of books touching to the spiritual, to psychology, to the techniques of communication and to the individual's success.
"My generation lived the post-revolution years, then the Iran-Iraq War. Today, the religious are incapable to meet our expectations. There is no freedom, no economic outlets. My only way to escape is the reading of books that gives me the keys to success", says Forouzan, a 35 years-old secretary. "The Iranians live in an environment that is closed on them", analyses the Iranian novelist Moniroo Ravanipour, who also keeps a small bookstore. "They live in a stuffy environment that they cannot change. Therefore, while reading these books, they try to change themselves", she says.
On the Avenue Enqelab, just in front of the university of Tehran, the windows of the bookstores overflow with books to the appetizing stocks: How better to know oneself. The Alphabet of Joy. The Vitamins of the hope etc.. Hossein Sadeghi, bookseller of 25 years, also specializes in this kind of works. "It is an excellent business. These are the books best sold. I sometimes sell more than a hundred of them in a week", he says.
"The religious don't know how to speak to the young. When I read their books, it is true gibberish"
Hossein Sadeghi knew how to evolve with his time. After the election of Khatami, seven years ago, and the softening of censorship, political and philosophical essays quickly conquered the Iranian public, thirsty of novelties. But the fashion is the translation of the works of American "gurus" like Anthony Robins. "The translation of his last book is now in its 24th print", Sadeghi points out.
“House made” gurus have also made its apparition in Tehran. "Not only you must respect the other, but you must respect yourself first”, is the advise of Fakhrian Khoshiar, in his book “Recover confidence in oneself in one day”. One has also to add the specialized magazines that offer a multitude of miracle recipes. The more in vogue is called ”Movafaqiat” (Success). Its director even proposes seminaries based on "the techniques of the success".
“One is well far from the religious ideals that the regime tries to impose. "I am Moslem and I accept the Islam", says Maryam, adding, "but the religious don't know how to speak to the young. When I read their books, it is true gibberish", she says. ENDS STUDENTS SITUATION 10704
Editor’s note: This is a free translation of Ms. Minou’i’ article.