Thursday, July 06, 2006

Iranian People: Behind the Veil

While I am in Iran much of my experiences are with all kinds of people. As I mentioned that I will be shooting video of people that I know...friends, family, friends of family, and people that I will meet.

In Iran, the demographics are really quite interesting, where 70% of the population under the age of 30.

People always ask me about the veil in Iran, and I often bring up a point that few people know about it. As I was reading in this article, one of many describing the history of the veil in Iran:

In 1936, as a part of a Westernizing national effort, Iran's monarchy had banned the veil. Women who wore the veil despite the law were routinely arrested and had their veils forcibly removed. Eventually, as dress code rules were relaxed, women were allowed to re-veil, although the practice was largely frowned upon, particularly by the somewhat Westernized middle- and upper-classes.

After the Islamic Revolution, hijab soon evolved from a voluntary display of solidarity to a compulsory demand on women in Iran. Protests on the part of women's groups went unheeded, and the arrests and punishments of women who dared to defy strict codes of appearance became commonplace.

I imagine that eventually what will happen will be that those who want to wear the veil will wear it, and those who do not want to wear it will not. It is already apparent that women dress so differently all throughout Iran.

The veil that bothers me the most is the misunderstanding and miscommunication between the people of Iran and the US. However, today it is possible to use technology and new forms of participatory media to help us imagine, explore, and discover new ways of communicating with people around the world.

This communication can only begin with us, where we are now. I feel that I am but one vessel, or one path of many, in bridging the gap between two places that I have never felt to be as separate.


At 11/21/2006 4:28 AM, Anonymous Mr. Black said...

i thought this was a very interesting article. keep up the good work .


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