TEHRAN — One year after Iran’s disputed presidential election, the familiar rhythms of life have returned here. Through a widespread, sustained and at times brutal crackdown, the government has succeeded in suppressing a protest movement that shook the nation for months after the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which the opposition said was fraudulent.
But the veneer of calm masks what many here call the “fire under the ashes,” a low-grade burn of cynicism and distrust. The major demonstrations and protests are gone, but the hard feelings remain, coursing through the routine of daily life: A young woman who worked for years as a volunteer in a children’s hospital said that she now saw her volunteerism as a “tool of resistance” because it highlighted a failure of the government to provide adequate care.
The son of a prominent official told a friend he would no longer accept money from his father because the father worked for the government, which the son considered corrupt.
A medical school professor recently picked up a green marker to write notes on a white board for his students, and then with a smile chose another color, saying he might otherwise be arrested for using green, the color of the political opposition.
“Maybe on the surface it seems like everything is over, but everyone is keeping the fire under the ashes alive so that when they get the chance they can bring it out into the open again,” said a 30-y… >>>