–smiles when he speaks, a genial smile, a celebrity’s smile. In response to my question, which I’ve phrased like an anvil, he raises the corners of his fatherly mustache and says “but we have achieved so much”.
He tells me without answering me–why is Iran the way it is? why isn’t it changing, if it is full of young people, of educated women, of democracy-seekers? why doesn’t revolution again take hold?–not to worry, that things are poised to get better, that a democratic Iran is on its way.
(I do want, so much, to believe him.)
I stand at a microphone in a lecture hall of a prestigious American university, dressed as I choose and endowed with rights to speak, to opine, to think, to demonstrate, to congregate, to disagree with men and women, to discuss in forum, and I wonder:
(not about Iran, not about the women there, not about what will happen for them)
I wonder, do my 18-year-old students who L-O-V-E-! Chris Brown–a famous pop star who beat his more-famous pop star girlfriend until her face swelled like a ripe plum–understand what human and civil rights are worth? Because I’m afraid they do not know, do not realize that the women they let down when they say “ya, he hit her, but it’s not such a big deal” are not only their classmates at American university but their unknown classmates, young women they’ve never met, somewhere over an ocean.