Sunday, July 02, 2006

Young Iranian Men - Bush Supporters

Not to suggest that all young Iranian men support George Bush, but I heard praise for George more than once, twice, or three times as we journeyed across four Iranian cities. I heard it often when we were in the major cities of Tehran and Esfahan and it came from the same demographic of lower to middle-class, 15- to 30-year-old men with a thirst for more out of life than what the Islamic Republic government is willing or able to offer them.

The first time I heard it, I was confused. The 20ish year-old sat on a bench in Tehran's Parque Melat also perplexed that I didn't support my President. When I asked him whether he was nervous about Bush's track record of pre-emptive strikes, or the fact that Afghanistan and Iraq have suffered under Bush policies, he was not well-informed except to say that he admired Bush because he relentlessly stands up for his beliefs. From my perspective, here was a young man living in a country that requires him to bend at the whim of the Islamic Republic, rather than act on his own volition living by his own beliefs. In this twisted way, it makes sense that the cowboy is his hero.

The second time I heard it, I tried to make sense of it by assessing the commonalities between the people who were saying it. Having tea amongst the carpets in Tehran's Bazaar Bozorg, the passionate 30-year-old carpet vendor spoke with a fervor wanting to see governmental change at any cost, but felt stymied by a lack of organization by leftists. He appreciated Bush's take-no-prisoners style and welcomed an attack by the U.S. How else would he see change in his lifetime? From what I was hearing, the spirit of young men wanting to realize their life's potential was being quashed by the current Islamic Republic and this 30-year-old was hearing the clock tick loudly against him.

The third time, it seemed that Iranians have something in common with Americans - either by choice, apathy, or force, they're only partially informed and they make decisions based on that limited information. Sitting with the young guys at the river in Esfahan, I heard them forming strong opinions based on sound bytes from satellite television and controlled internet sites. Although they were eager to learn more about the current state of worldwide politics, their opinions were easily swayed by the theatrics of a dynamic speech coming from a commanding voice behind a well-cut suit. In reality, when it came to politics, these young men were more focused on friends, family, and obtaining the best education possible in order to make the most of their personal lives - revolution was not on their list of things to do. Still, with a limited number of well-paying jobs in Iran, I wondered if even an advanced degree could satisfy their life's expectations.

In addition, I never heard any women praising Bush, further justifying the idea that Iranian men are in need of a male role model. It seems that Bush taps into the essential masculine traits that young Iranian men value - straight-forward, unrelenting, decisive. Since young Iranian men are rarely able to express these traits, they admire those who do. Even Bush.



Anonymous amir said...

you possibly see only uneducated persons,don't get them serious.
they are full of hate and so can't see the obviouse truth.
I don't think many iranian men support BUsh(at least my exprience is againt your conclusion)
many iranian ,including myself, hate BUSH and American's global policies and will defeat our country if a attack occur.

1:14 AM  

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