The isolation frenzy of the Islamic Republic has gained new dimensions. From gender segregation in parks and sidewalks and university dining halls, it has now reached the political segregation of society and university. The curtain – a tool to separate men and women in mosques – is hung behind the entrance door of University of Tehran to hide what happens behind this curtain inside the university from the eyes of the people on the streets and alleys.
If desperation had a body, it would be a curtain, a “chador” (the long cloth worn by religious women as “hijab”): a tool of separation, a weapon of oppression.
According to the Council of Student Unions of Iran, this curtain “in the vicinity of the Pardis entrance doors of the central campus of the University of Tehran is set to prevent the gatherings inside the university from being seen from the street” is only one of the measures that this organization mentioned in its report entitled “New preventive measures of the University of Tehran for stopping student protests and strikes.” In line with these measures, “the general director of educational planning and supervision of the university, in a letter to the heads of all departments of University of Tehran, asked them to order all classes to be held even with the presence of a single student.”
In addition, since Wednesday, October 19, 2022, University of Tehran guards have been replaced by “plainclothes forces” – forces who are free to do whatever they like and do not answer to anybody but the highest authority. The deployment of these forces, some of whom are wearing the blue uniforms of the physical protection unit of the university, has been done in order to prevent the entry and exit of students from nearby faculties to the central campus.
“At all hours of the morning, a number of “plainclothes” dressed in physical protection unit uniform stood in the middle of the central campus and in an astonishing act prevented the University of Tehran students from entering the premises of Tehran University of Medical Sciences and the students of Tehran University of Medical Sciences from entering the premises of University of Tehran. While many of the facilities of these two universities are shared, such as the central library and the mosque.”
As political tools of separation and concealment, walls and curtains belong to the last century, an era in which they crumbled and were repurposed. Soviet’s “Iron Wall”, Berlin Wall – Erich Honecker, leader of the Democratic Republic and General Secretary of the Socialist Party of East Germany, on January 18, 1989 at the meeting of this party announced: “The Berlin Wall will remain standing for 50 or even 100 years.” Before that year ended, the Berlin Wall fell and East Germany joined history. The theater curtain – the white surface that had to be pulled away to see the show – gave way to the cinema screen at the beginning of the last century. The surface where the show was displayed.
The curtains installed by the oppressive regime at the entrances of 16 Azar and Quds streets in University of Tehran, to keep the street away from the university and vice versa, rather than to hide the student struggle and resistance and the brutal encounters of the regime’s agents with the students, now they become the display of what’s happening inside the university.
Translation of this post by Sahar.