«The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative.» (Paul Joseph Goebbels, March, 1933)
Since 1979 and preparing the grounds before that, the Iranian theocracy has meticulously put Goebbels’ counsel in practice. Propaganda has numbed the minds in Iran to such an extent that reacting to the basics of human rights hardly provokes indignation within the population.
Drug addiction, prostitution, and homelessness are issues best to be ignored, censored, and even fully denied by the authorities.
As for the general public, mum is also the word. In Iranian society, those with money and a social position to maintain hide the death of a member by an overdose or sickness like HIV/AIDS, as a weak heart condition or any other convenient ailment to keep up appearances.
In Iran, as it is with any other Islamic society, sex is taboo. Since no other relationship is permitted, apart from that of husband and wife, for the better-off there is always a friendly gynaecologist or urologist to repair some physical damage from unapproved sex practices, such as routinely replacing a torn hymen before the wedding.
Adultery leads to stoning for women, homosexuals are to be hanged and paedophilia is regulated by marrying underage girls, a sector of prostitution that has been given a canonical name by the religious authorities: Sigheh, temporary marriage. In today’s Iran, the pimp is often the father, brother or husband (usually an addict) and the brothel holder a religious man with a beard, turban and gown reciting the Koran in the process.
Since the Islamic Republic of Iran was born, economic hardship and unemployment has led to a soaring number of addicts and prostitutes (both male and female in each category and even underage) as in other parts of the world. Many, homeless, live rough on the streets and under the bridges, and are known as “Karton-Khab”, the one sleeping on a piece of cardboard. As from two years ago the phenomena of homelessness, addiction and prostitution have grown to such proportions that ignoring or convening up the issues is impossible. They are even voiced by the authorities in heavily censored media. However, if a branch of the media produced a disturbing in-depth report, as was the case for “Moj” (موج) news site, with a long report on prostitution in Tehran, it has to be closed down.
For the Islamic Republic of Iran, when an issue smears the positive image of the country they like to boast of to the world, but it cannot be hidden any more, a twofold tactic is operated by the authorities: first to blame the victims of some misgivings, involving “foreign mischievous elements” by the same token, and then try to address it with a grand project in which high standards of Islamic values are praised. Usually neither works, and after a while the problem, unsolved, is forgotten.
However, the soaring rate of addiction, prostitution, and homelessness has become a sea snake emerging so often that it cannot be ignored any more by the authorities, or drawn into a sea of Islamic claptrap.
In December 2016, Asghar Farhadi, Iranian film director and Oscar winner, wrote to the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, expressing his views and the shame he felt by the homeless living and sleeping in the graveyards. The latter are called “Gour-Khab”, that is grave-sleepers, ranking lower than “Karton-Khab” in human dignity and decline.
H. Rouhani, in a declaration on 28th December regarding Farhadi’s letter, acknowledged the issue – news to him – “as an unacceptable problem for the country”. Further, in many words, he implied: We always thought that homelessness was a problem existing only in the West…
He left it there. An empty gesture from him, as has been his way since 2013, unless he is ordered otherwise from the Supreme Guide (totally silent on these issues for now).
The Iranian propagandists, of which there are a few academics and media writers, tried to cover up the issue of the grave-sleepers by calling it a “centuries-old phenomenon”, “nothing new”. If the issue was not a tragic one, one could have a good laugh at the half-baked arguments and blabber of these experts. In a country in which fanaticism dominates, buffoonery is more important than ability.
As always in Iran, when there is a problem to solve, the energies are spent in inefficient polemics and quarrels among rival authorities trying to maximise their interests while covering up some other damaging issues. Now for a fortnight, there are some debates on addiction and prostitution in the media published in Iran as some try to attract attention by wobbling, hence sidestepping, at least for a while, another sea snake, the devaluation of the Iranian currency, rial. Things are so serious (money is always a serious matter, even more so among Islamists) that censors and propagandists censor each other and daggers are out among many rival officials battling for a superior position or a gain. This week, with the death of Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, one of the most influential politicians since 1979, daggers may well turn to machine guns.
In the polemic over addiction, homelessness and prostitution, the Governor of Central province, a second rank politician in the Velayat-e Faqih system with not much hope in a brighter future, Hossein Hashemi, chiefly concerned by the grave-sleepers in his province, denied the phenomenon, calling it first “marginal” by a bunch of “exhibitionist” (متجاهر) addicts and female prostitutes, mostly migrants. Then, he came up with a solution: “Sterilising the female-addicts and female prostitutes.” To hammer in the usefulness of sterilisation, there is even talk of “feeble minds and psychologically disturbed individuals” to describe the homeless, prostitutes and addicts, stressing once more on females.
However, the idea of sterilising female prostitutes has been around since the spring of 2016 within Rouhani’s government, to the point that Shahindokht Molaverdi, Rouhani’s female vice-president, hesitantly dismissed it as a “project”, although recognised it as “beneficial policy”, if the female addicts were “willing”. The civil servants in her administration argued that women were prone to addiction more than men (without providing any scientific facts, if there was any), concluding that, after all, something good for society might come out of such a policy.
Ogre Eating Its Children
The Iranian theocracy, loyal to its dogmas, once more proves to be a staunch follower of the worse methods designed by any male-dominated society to cleanse and control the population. For many decades eugenics and coerced sterilisation have been around and practised in many countries, including those that call themselves the beacon of democracy, such as the USA, with no effect, except bringing in miseries to humankind. In the 1930s and later, the Nazis scientifically refined the methods. The Iranian authorities give such revolting practice a new flavour by focusing on female addicts and female prostitutes, since as “everybody knows” [sic] females are the weak elements in the society and corrupt the “naturally good men” by their evil deeds.
The Ogre Islamic Republic of Iran is eating its own children. It would be improper to ask a few questions on the male-prostitution phenomenon. It would be improper to question the pious men visiting the prostitutes. It would be madness to talk about sterilising male clients and male prostitutes too. And of course, all addicts are refugees, migrants, and feeble minds. And, as it were, those who make themselves heard are “exhibitionists”.
Open any Iranian printed paper. There are hundreds of ads for detoxification centres and clinics for those who can afford them. Hypocrisy runs in all societies, but the ayatollah theocracy has taken it to a borderless realm.
In the past few years, Iran has been a record breaker in executions, taken dual nationals hostages for ransom, teamed up with Russians to keep Bashar Al-Assad in power and brought miseries to the Middle East along with all others involved in the region. Adding eugenics and coerced sterilisation to all of these is the next step to hell.
If we Iranians go on in supporting our masters, the ayatollahs, in power, no one will care if we live in a hellish situation or in hell itself, and we would have only ourselves to blame for it.
PS: prostitution and addiction
The prostitution and addiction issue in Iran is largely documented in books, TV documentaries, and articles to be found on the internet. Here are a few, latest examples:
- ناتوانی حکومت ایران در مقابله با سونامی اعتیاد
- واکنش روحانی به نامه اصغر فرهادی درباره گورخوابها
We have provided the link to the Moj article on prostitution above.