Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Compulsory national dress, smoking ban, and no women in stadiums

By Aussiegirl

Well, look at it this way. Modern life isn't easy, with all the choices you have to make every day all day long. So the Iranians have had one choice eliminated -- no longer will the modern Iranian woman have to stand before a yawning closet full of clothes and make up her mind what to wear that particular day. No, just refer to the official catalog and then choose the appropriate costume.

>>> AsiaNews.it <<< Compulsory �national� dress, smoking ban and no women in stadiums

15 May, 2006
Compulsory “national” dress, smoking ban and no women in stadiums
by Dariush Mirzai

Tehran (AsiaNews) – In Iran, it will shortly be compulsory to wear a “national costume” that may be chosen from an official catalogue, and it will be forbidden to smoke even in one’s own car. And, in a country where it seems as if characters from Kafka and the Tartuffe of Molière are in power, women will still be banned from entering stadiums, despite the promises of Ahmadinejad, because this is what the ayatollahs have decided. [....]

To safeguard morality and national identity, the Iranian parliament has been at work with mullahs and designers to come up with a collection of common national clothes (obligatory). On 14 May, MPs adopted the bill of law. In a country where national minorities add up to around 50% of the population, this norm could mean an attack not only against globalization but also against internal cultural diversity. To make this farcical Islamic-Maoist project concrete, the regime has visibly understood that Sharia and state laws are not enough. The Trade Ministry is planning to impose very high taxes on imported clothes and to force banks (nearly all state-owned) to concede credit to Iranian clothes producers. There is good news for women: they will no longer be the only ones to wear Islamic clothes, because men will also be obliged to wear something in the Pakistani style. [....]

As for the total ban on smoking in public places, including private cars, where the Islamic veil is a must (and which, according to Iranian laws, do not form part of the private sphere), this is a battle that the Health Minister, Kamran Baqeri-Lankarani, a doctor, has been fighting for a year. The fines imposed will be significant (10 euros, at least the first time, and then 1000 euros) if the law approved on 9 May by Parliament is not blocked by the “Council of Guardians” or by the Supreme Leader, and if the police accept to apply it across the board. This is a cruel irony: in Tehran, around 5,000 people die every year because of air pollution, emitted by cars without catalytic silencers, which consume 18 litres of petrol per 100km for a price of seven euro cents per litre. (subsidized by the State). But there are some things that are taboo in a country where petrol, a divine gift, costs less than drinking water.


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