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The burnt generation
Gap between official slogans and people's perception of the state

By Amir Azar & Mehrzad Pedram
November 9, 2003
The Iranian

It's 9 a.m. in the morning on November 4th and I'm leaving home because I've got a job lined up. By the look of it, there's something wrong in Tehran. The main roads have been blocked off and people have set out to move on foot. No, no.... not to attend a mass rally in support of Student's Day. Most of the roads have been obstructed due to the rally and people have no means of transpiration other their own feet.

Students standing around in groups grab my attention. These are the ones for whom "Student's Day" has been coined. These are the very adolescents of eminent good sense who are forced to rush out into the streets and attend a rally. They are the ones whose unawareness of the whole affair -- the political manipulations and witch-hunts in particular -- is being exploited.

It reminds me of an incident a couple of years ago. I was a high school student. I still remember how we felt compelled to take part in a planned demonstration against imagined imperialist, racist and Zionist powers. If we had not attended, we would not have gotten full marks under the strict code of conduct at school.

We had nothing to do with politics and its manipulations. We spared no effort to stay away from the rally and go for a stroll somewhere far from school. To us, the rally was an object of ridicule, so instead of shouting "down with Israel", we called out "down with Ismail".

So many years have gone by in this rapidly changing world. It seems worthwhile to say that individuals who rolled up their sleeves to chant anti-American slogans at that very moment are now chasing peace and prosperity in the U.S. It seems crazy; it's a bitter pill to swallow.

Stuffing the youth of yesterday with those crazy anti-American slogans has had dire and serious consequences. These days when students take to the streets, they chant anti-government slogans. These are not the ploys devised by the U.S. and its allies, but the spill-over effects of a regime that sides with bloodshed, genocide, assassination and murder.

Yes, your guess is as good as mine. They are the burnt generation awaiting an opportunity to take to the streets to express their disapproval of their spiritual leadership's aggressive policies. They will take to the streets not against the "ruthless" U.S. and the racist Zionist regime in Israel, but against mullahs who have been plundering and looting Iranians lock, stock and barrel for years.

Ignorance, obsession, and hatred, plus addiction, prostitution, torture and imprisonment and a grab bag of plights are among the innumerable "achievements" of these 25 years for which our leaders feel proud of; they stand upright with their noses in the air.

To safeguard its corrupt entity, this government has retracted its revolutionary stance whenever a major challenge has been posed to its vulnerable stability. Signing the additional protocol the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) was the latest embarrassing retreat.

November 4th marks the occupation of the American embassy in Tehran. It's exactly 24 years since that tragic incident took place. It is not something to be proud of, instead we should be embarrassed.

The folks who climbed the embassy walls in fury, are now feeling shame. Some are even behind bars of a government they once defended. Abbas Abdi is a shining example.

Times have changed. No one gives a fig to official demonstrations. There is no doubt young people today are well aware of the credibility gap between what holders of power say and what they do. They are acutely aware that they are poles apart.

I remember a question raised by a twelve-year-old student of mine in language school. It read: "Do you like a country where there are loads and loads of mullahs?" For the average person, that's what the problem has been reduced to.

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