So goes the apothegm of Nikolai Gavrilovich Chernyshevski, the nineteenth-century intelligent who, among other things, wrote a novel whose title—Что делать? What Is to Be Done?—Lenin re-used (and which the Volgi uses as a trope hereabouts).
Kolya Ch. meant that the worse conditions got, the more likely a revolution became. History hasn’t exactly proved him right, but nor has it proven him wrong. In this light, this story out of Iran is potentially good news. Iranian women are no shrinking violets, despite the anonymous, oppressed face they present to the world as Hefty-bagged non-entities. When Khomeini first decreed fully-covering garments, women rebelled by wearing the garments to comply with the law, but continuing to do everything they’d done before, driving, skiing, etc., to show their unbowed spirits. They eventually prevailed.
That was a generation ago, but the youth of Iran, if anything, seem to be less sold on the Islamic Republic than the rest of the country. Putting the screws to half the population is a way to alienate particularly the urban middle and upper classes who were so critical in overthrowing the Shah. Perhaps this is Ahmadinejad’s plan, for complicated internal political reasons. More likely, he’s indulging the fanatic’s love of cruelty wrapped in ideology.
Let’s hope that the people of Iran find a way to rid themselves of their odious government, and that the rest of the world (meaning, alas, mainly the U.S.) does everything it can to help them.
Don’t ask impertinent questions like that jackass Adept Lu.