Iranians Revolt Silently

Violence is not always a function of revolution. In repressive regimes, violent revolution may be nearly impossible. Yesterday, we witnessed a non-violent revolution in Lebanon which succeeded in bringing down its government.

Lebanon could be the tip of the iceberg in the Middle East. Its success could spur more revolts against other repressive regimes in the region. In Iran, people have revolted in a quiet — yet, obvious — way. The people’s dress reflects their distain for their government and its tenets.

Following the 1979 revolution when hard-liners overthrew the Shah and ruled the country under rigid Islamic laws, black cloaked the heads and bodies of the women. They were allowed only to reveal their face, hands and feet. According to a USA Today report, the “in” color this year is pink. Along with color, the women reveal a bit more. They wear clothes that are more form-fitting, and higher heels peak from beneath skirts.

To American, this revolt may seem tame. Keep in mind, though, strict Islamic regimes have been known to imprison, beat or even kill women for less.

The revolt doesn’t stop there. Contrary to customs, Iranian men shave their traditional beards, grow their hair long and don jeans. They openly shake hands with women unrelated to them

Other signs show revolution is underway. Weblogging has become a means of dissent. The government tries to stem the practice, but new blogs keep cropping up. Jogging Blogger provided a rather frightening account of one such journalist/blogger over at tryontheglasses. Many of these brave revolutionaries have been arrested, tortured and/or imprisoned.

Clearly, a silent revolt manifests itself within Iran. Will it be enough to transform the government and send the country down a more democratic path? Only time will tell. We should not underestimate the power of peaceful protest. Once tasted, freedom becomes a powerful stimulant.

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