O Iranie i wolności gościnnie

Ásta (z Islandii), którą poznałem w Iranie,  uczestniczyła ostatnio w jakiejś konferencji dla młodych zaangażowanych organizowanej w Strasbourgu przez Radę Europy. W swoim wystąpieniu, z nieosiągalnym dla mnie wyważeniem i elegancją, a przy tym potrafiąc słuchacza nieźle zaskoczyć, przedstawiła swój obraz Iranu. To jest świetny, wartościowy tekst (Ásta spisała mowę swą) i dlatego Wam go tu niżej załączam. Poczytajcie, warto.

Pisany jest takim w miarę podstawowym angielskim, więc dacie radę, jak nie to Wam gógl trenslejt pomoże. Pozwolę sobie tylko przetłumaczyć dwa fragmenty:

"Irańczycy czują się zapomniani. Czują, że ich głos jest zagłuszony i że wszystkie zachodnie media skupiają się tylko na tym, jak bardzo ich władze są szalone i czy dysponują one bronią atomową czy też nie. Nigdy nie zapomnę kursu taksówką naszego pierwszego wieczoru w Teheranie. Taksówkarz, starszy człowiek ze zdjęciem Imama Chomeiniego w oknie samochodu, poprosił naszego Couchsurfera o tłumaczenie. Powiedział: <<Proszę, proszę powiedz im, że nie jesteśmy terrorystami!>>."

"Niesamowicie łatwo jest przyjmować wolność za pewnik, ale jest też niesamowicie łatwo zakładać, że wolność, którą znamy, to wolność właściwego, jedynego typu jaki istnieje. Kto wie więcej o wolności: ten, kto wie, że jest uciskany, czy ten, kto sądzi, że jest wolny? Wolność, której Irańczycy potrzebują obecnie najbardziej, to wolność od naszych uprzedzeń."

Traveler's thought on Iran and freedom

Ásta Helgadóttir

Hello, my name is Ásta and I'm going to tell you a bit about my travels in Iran last summer and ask at the same time some questions about freedom, because it is incredibly easy to take freedom for granted.

Just to give you an idea how it is in Iran, which is a theocratic and authoritarian country, a strict dress code is to be followed on the streets, shorts are forbidden for both genders, women are to dress conservatively and cover their hair at all times. To make sure this is enforced, the morality police, or fashion police as I like to call them, inspect people's clothes on the street and make sure everything is morally allright. The fashion police consist of three hundred thousand policemen, just about the same number as the population of Iceland, my home country. Drugs, alcohol and homosexuality are of course forbidden and can result in execution. It's illegal to host foreigners in your home and there's no such thing as free media in Iran and speaking against the government is downright dangerous. The internet is of course highly filtered and censored. Between me and my travel companion, we managed to break all these laws in two weeks, except the homosexuality part. And for the record, a bottle whiskey is cheaper in Iran than in Iceland.

I can't possibly tell you about everything that happened during my two weeks in Iran, but I can assure you that it was fantastic. People there were kind and proud of their country, and everyone wanted us to have a positive experience. My travel mate and I had decided early on to use CouchSurfing, a social networking site where people let you stay on their couch for free while you're travelling. That way we met people we otherwise would not have met and, more importantly, got the chance to talk to people in a place where they felt safe.

There was a one couch surfer in particular who addressed the importance of tourism in Iran. He told us it was important for us to be there, not only because we get to experience this wonderful country and get to see the real Iran, which is completely different from what's portrayed in the western media. It's also necessary for the Iranians to meet us, especially for girls and women and see how independent a woman can be, traveling with a backpack and in mismatched clothes. I hadn't realized this before, that just being there and walking down the street can have influence. Although Iranian women are in a way oppressed and face serious restrictions of personal freedom, mainly because of religion and social pressure, they are at the same time strong and in a way independent. I never felt like I wasn't respected for being a woman or foreigner in Iran. It's important to notice that it's not only the women who are oppressed – it's the whole society. The whole society puts on this little play while outside to follow the rules of the regime while living in fear, but like they say, when the cat is away, the mice will play.

In Iran there is a generation of young adults who have never known anything but the regime and the ideologies of the government don't represent the people.

Brain drain is a big problem for Iran. Hundreds of intellectual and aspiring young people move away from Iran each year to study in Europe and North America. The majority of them don't return because of economic issues, ideological change of mind, or because the living standards in Europe and America are better than in Iran. The loss of people - intellectual, well educated young people - is what weakens the resistance against the regime. The trade sanctions imposed on Iran don't make living in Iran easier. That's not the point either, but economic pressure like this isn't working. The real damage is done to the people.

The Iranian people feel like they are forgotten. They feel like their voice is being choked and all the western media focuses on is how crazy their government is and whether they have nuclear weapons or not. I'll never forget the taxi ride our first evening in Tehran. The taxi driver, an old man with a picture of Imam Khomeini in his car window, asked our Couch Surfer to translate for him. He said, “Please, please tell them that we are not terrorists.”

The Iranians want us to know about their history and want to share their world views. And we'll give them freedom by listening. We'll give them a voice by allowing them to be who they are and not fighting to change them into something they are not. Their biggest concern right now isn't that the women have to wear hijab outside or that the country is in fact Islamic. Most of the people we talked to realize how the current regime isn't fair but resistance is dangerous. Access to Twitter, Facebook and other social media is essential, and it's essential that we listen. If they are to find the strength to rise against the current regime, we first have to give them a platform to speak on. We have to show this people that we are ready to be there for them, but we have to listen. Our kind of freedom is not necessarily the only one or the right one.

One day I want to visit Iran without wearing a hijab. I would one day, like to walk in the streets of Tehran wearing a skirt going just below knees. I know that many Iranian feel the same way.

It's incredibly easy to take freedom for granted but it's also incredibly easy to assume that the freedom we know is the right kind; the only kind. Who knows more about freedom: the one who knows he's oppressed, or the one who thinks he's free? The freedom the Iranian people need the most right now is the freedom from our prejudice.

Ásta leży po prawej od pomidorów


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