Iran’s Collective Pain

And the silent screams that you hear not!

by Shiva Kambari

It is the road the late Shah of Iran should have taken, the road of developments and prosperity. Instead he was more involved in a discussion of whether he had the right to receive commission for selling the oil that belonged to the country and the revenue of which could have been used to build this country with.

Then came revolution and war and for very long the choices were very limited. Some died, some killed, some were executed, some went into exile and others into isolation within their homes. Then came various attempts at reform; none succeeded. In 2009 came an attempt by the  conservatives to take over total control; this too did not succeed – thanks to the resistance of the Green Movement. Iran and its inner matters as well as relations with the world are complicated.

Then came sanctions, greater corruption than ever before, the JCPOA, numerous attempts at cooperation with the West, more tourists travelling to Iran and telling us about its wonderful people, the delicious cuisine and the natural beauty of its landscape. The opening with the West too did not succeed; too great was the corruption as well as fear of losing control.

Then came the new  US administration reneging on the JCPOA , more sanctions, a new wave of arrests, long sentences, arrest of dual nationals who dared to travel to Iran, more threats and a constant fear of war as well economic hardship.

These days, many of us Iranians talk of a stalemate or a crisis. Of Iran’s never-ending crisis. And we scream, but you hear it not as we scream in silence. What you hear or read are the opinions of various sides and their lobbies, almost none of which has much to do with the majority of us Iranians – be it those of us who left Iran long ago or many millions living in Iran, still.

Yet a small group of us did finally take the road less taken; the economic road and attempt at an opening. Perhaps we did not have much of a chance from the onset; perhaps it was too late as the corruption was too great. Or maybe the new geopolitical and economic realities made success very unlikely.

Nasrin Sotoudeh is once again in prison, serving a very long sentence – breaking a promise to her children. Parastou Frouhar writes of the crisis of being an Iranian as she details how her murdered parent’s house is even more under control than before, while she herself feels less belonging to and safe in the Europe she lives in. Numerous Iranians who have become citizens of other countries, question their identity and sense of belonging these days even as millions of Iranians wonder what each day and the future will unfold for them.

We took the road less taken – knowing that this would very likely be the only way out of stalemate -and failed; some of us sacrificed much for this and do not regret it. Yet the silent collective scream that you hear not – is heart breaking nevertheless.