Journal: News & Comment

Sunday, September 01, 2002
# 8:42:00 PM:

Fatigue on the axis

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I've never been to Iran, but the country interests me. Since the 1979 Islamic revolution there, many Iranians have moved to greater Vancouver, where I live, concentrating in the City of North Vancouver. The forces that drove them from their huge, diverse, and spectacular homeland are shifting, and we may see other great changes there as we watch from the other side of the world.

Today's New York Times Magazine feature article by Tim Judah, "The Sullen Majority" (free subscription required), discusses the impact of the massive baby boom unleashed by the revolution, when contraception was banned:

Today, two-thirds of Iran's 66 million people are under 30. But many members of the generation that was conceived as warriors for the ayatollah are now chafing under his restrictive laws, more interested in checking their e-mail than in dying for Islam.

[...] widespread [Internet] access has allowed many young Iranians to follow political or cultural developments anywhere on the planet. But even more significant, perhaps, it has allowed people to talk to one another. The computer has become particularly important in the lives of urban girls, often confined at home by traditionalist parents who, by the same token, have absolutely no clue what their daughters are doing online.

A lot of what they're doing, it turns out, is blogging.

People who study human populations often claim that "demography is destiny," and while that may be an overstatement (in this case, Internet access helps), demography did assist in toppling the despotic shah two decades ago, and may now bode ill for the aging revolutionaries trying to maintain control of today's Iran.


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