Iran, Where A Water Fight Can Land You In Prison

From Radio Liberty:

Young Iranians gathered to spray water on each other last week in Tehran.

Young Iranians gathered to spray water on each other last week in Tehran.

August 03, 2011

Yet again, a number of young people have been arrested in the Iranian capital.

Their crime: engaging in a water fight.

The evidence: water guns and bottles.

The accusations against them: violating Islamic principles and norms.

It sounds absurd, but sadly it’s the reality in the Islamic Republic of Iran where, among other things, having a bit of fun can also land one in prison.

The young women and men had gathered last week in a Tehran park, ironically named the Garden of Water and Fire, and splashed water at each other.

The event, planned and organized on Facebook, had reportedly attracted around 800 people. Pictures of the event show happy girls and boys soaked with water, carrying colorful water guns.

They weren’t chanting opposition slogans or protesting against the government, but they were having a good time in public, which can be seen to challenge state-enforced codes of conduct. Their photos were shared on websites, blogs, and social media.

Many praised them for their creativity, for managing to organize the event, and also for having fun, which is not always easy in Iran.

Not everyone was happy, though. Conservative websites used the “incriminating” photos to accuse the young people of immorality and corruption.

On July 31, Tehran’s police chief, Hossein Sajedinia, said a group of young Tehran residents were arrested for splashing water at each other. Sajedinia warned that the police would act against others who disrupted “public order and security.” He provided no details on the number of arrests.

One parliament deputy, Mousa Ghazanfarabadi, said the organizers of the event were trying to distance the youth from Islamic principles and the values of the Islamic republic. Another lawmaker, Hossein Ebrahim, called on the judiciary to take action against similar events.

The water fight is one of the latest such events to take place in Tehran in recent months. Last week, in another park in the capital, a group of young men and women got together for a game of dress-up in unfashionable clothing.

In January, young people with curly hair celebrated their locks at a gathering in another park (see video from the event).

There were also gatherings for paintball, kite flying, and blowing bubbles. All the events are said to have been organized through Facebook.

It’s not clear why the water fight has caused more sensitivity than the previous events.

One reason could be the photos of happy boys and girls mingling that were widely shared on websites and social media. The event apparently attracted more people than the previous gatherings, which could be also a reason why the authorities felt the need to take action.

Officials, of course, are also wary of any kind of gathering, especially among youth, for fear it could take on antiestablishment overtones — even perhaps in the case of these apparently apolitical events.

It could also be that the water-loving youths have become victims of the political rivalries between the different factions of the Islamic establishment.

The hard-line, pro-government Rajanews website attacked Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf over the case and accused his team of having been behind it.

The Hamshahri website, which belongs to Tehran’s municipality, reacted by accusing Rajanews of lying, and saying that the municipality did not organize the water fight.

Both sides appear to agree on one thing: by engaging in a water fight, the young people have acted against Islamic laws.

Some of the young people, however, disagree. “All we want is a bit of joy,” one participant wrote on Facebook. “So that Islam is not endangered during water fights, women on this side , men on the other,” someone posted sarcastically on another of the Facebook pages devoted to the water fight.

For the rest of this article please click the link at the top:

About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

6 Replies to “Iran, Where A Water Fight Can Land You In Prison”

  1. No fun! Of course not, how very sinful! The shepple must be kept poor and crushed in spirit at all costs. It it may inspire other things such as: gaiety, and even love and worse still , strong bonds of friendship and fellowship. What could possibly be worse than that for the gawdlike tyrants. Whatever would they do in the face of song and dance, laughter, blowing bubbles and water from plastic pistols. Well, we have often heard it said; that a crowing tyrant and a whistling mullah, there is neither laughter or gaiety in the square there are in,- something along those lines anyway-!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *