In the aftermath of recent movement in Iran, calls for civil disobedience frequently have been heard from various political intellectuals. As many of us know, ‘Civil Disobedience’ includes a series of actions that can be taken with a minimum cost and by ordinary people in order to weaken the government without engaging in violent confrontations. By definition, it is defined as:
“…to active refusal to obey certain law, demands and commands of a government, or of an occupying power” (Wikipedia).
During the uprising events, Iranian people are encouraged to take part in actions such as strike, writing on bank notes, silent gatherings in streets (without chanting and demonstration) and some more. I argue (humorously) that due to some socio-cultural characteristics of us Iranians, these actions in fact are not much effective in weakening the government. Most of these actions are part of the ordinary course of social life in Iran, so it would not make much trouble for the government!
1- Strike: with a very low rate of job efficiency in Iran, a strike to weaken the system and halt the economic flow would be sort of meaningless. The system is already in disarray and has been such for a long time! Regular jobholders; especially those working in governmental or nongovernmental institutions almost only have a physical presence in their job places without their works having much of usefulness and efficiency. It has been a well-known trend among Iranians to have a lax job environment with limited productivity. However, I admit that this may not be applicable to employees of key economical structures such as oil industry.
2- Writing on bank notes: There has been a long pattern of destroying bank notes in Iran. Nothing creative and new about it! The age of banknotes in Iran, due to lack of care and regardless of political motives has always been short. Writing various forms of scripts; from love letters to suicide notes, poems, swearing and so on, has been a pass time and a lame way of self expression; so the government already has gone through the trouble and won’t be bothered.
3- Silent demonstration: Tehran and big cities in Iran have become so populated that one can’t say people are silently demonstrating on the streets or are just out there to do their daily transportations and routine social intercourse . Central streets are always busy with massive crowd of young, wandering and unemployed people. If there is no “marg bar dictator” chants; there is not going to be much of excitement and out of ordinary, so that the protest cannot be recognizable!
4- Honking: You cannot drive a car in Iran without excessive honking. It would be insane! As such, honking protest would not be recognizable again.
Please note that I am not discouraging civil disobedience as a valid strategy for the movement. But due to specific socio-cultural conditions of us Iranians; ideas for civil disobedience should be unique and more creative 🙂