Paragraphs to Ponder

From Dexter Filkins’, “The Twilight of the Iranian Revolution”:

“Sara was nervous about meeting me in public. ‘It is really dangerous,’ she said. ‘Me sitting here talking to you might get me in deep trouble.’ Still, she was poised and determined, insisting that she be granted her rights. ‘If you want to know how we live, you have to watch ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’” she said. ‘This is the real Gilead. Margaret Atwood, she wrote our story before we were born.’

Last year, a twenty-nine-year-old woman named Sahar Khodayari was arrested while trying to sneak into a soccer match and charged with ‘appearing in public without a hijab.’ She set herself on fire and died. Afterward, the authorities finally conceded—a little. Under pressure from fifa, the international soccer authority, the Iranian government agreed to allow women to attend matches of the national team, as long as it was playing foreign opponents. Sara described the thrill of entering Tehran’s stadium for a match between the Iranian and Cambodian teams. ‘The soccer field is really green when you see it,’ she told me. Even though the women were relegated to a roped-off area behind a goal, ‘everyone was screaming and crying,’ she said. ‘It was the dream.’

I asked Sara why the authorities were concerned about something as trivial as a soccer match. ‘They know that if they open the doors to the stadium they should open other doors, too,” she said. “But the women of this country are not going to stop. I am absolutely prepared to go to prison.’ All her friends felt the same way about the authorities, she said. ‘The problem they have with us is that, if women get power, they’re going to take them down. That is the fact. They are going to overthrow the government.'”

What Filkins accomplished in six days is a marvel. A journalism tour de force.