A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Now That All the Country's Other Problems are Solved, Iran Cracks Down on Water Fights in Parks

Facebook and Twitter and the Internet have already been identified as evil Western tools in Iran, but now they've found a new threat: the SuperSoaker Revolution. After an apparently exuberant if harmless fight in a Tehran Park in July, in which young men (and young women) enjoyed a water fight using water guns, Iran's authorities, led by the religious police (why do I find that term an oxymoron wherever it is used?), are cracking down. AP here; a piece in The Wall Street Journal here,  and one from the UAE's The National here.

Gad: they're scared of water guns now? Isn't it better to give the young people an outlet of some kind than to bottle it all up?

This quote from The National's account may offer a clue:
"The people who involve in such actions are either stupid or not respectful of the law," Mr Radan said. "The police will not allow them to achieve their goals and will confront the main organisers" of such events.
In late July, several hundred youths took part in a huge water fight using plastic water pistols as well as bottled water at the same venue in heat-weary Tehran, arranging the event on Facebook and through mobile text messages.
Ten of them were arrested as photos of boys and girls in drenched clothing emerged on social networking websites and eventually made their way into the media, to the anger of conservatives.
The chief of the country's morality police, General Ahmad Rouzbahani, warned then that the police would act forcefully against such events happening "in public places, or anywhere throughout the country".
Okay. Facebook was involved, so the threat of organized demonstrations — if you can organize a SuperSoaker fight, you can organize a political demonstration — may be part of it.  The reference to "photos of boys and girls in drenched clothing" suggests that someone, perhaps "the chief of the country's morality police," got tied in knots by the idea of young women in wet T-shirts, though there is no indication that was the result. And are the women allowed out in just T-shirts, anyway? Was this a wet chador incident? I doubt that, somehow.

And maybe it's just the idea that there's something seditious about young folk having fun.

When water guns are banned, only  criminals will have water guns.

1 comment:

David Mack said...

Iranian authorities hang young Iranian water hooligans out to dry?