Tuesday, 20 July 2010


There was an interesting article yesterday in a left-leaning newspaper from Berlin (the tageszeitung) that I considered translating swaths of, but instead I'll just give you the main idea.

It was about teahouses in Iran, and how important they are for the resistance. Not political resistance but social/personal resistance. On the edge of Teheran, many dance halls that were closed during/after the revolution in 1979 have been reborn as teahouses.

People meet and drink tea and, I assume, talk a bit louder than they normally would. The article also mentions an Iranian saying that 'One who drinks alcohol starts to think about politics', which would indicate that it's not just tea they're serving in these teahouses.

The women wear clothes that would never be acceptable in the street and they openly wear make-up. As I'm reading about such simple pleasures, I consider how easily I take what fortune I have for granted.

Would I go to such lengths to simply have tea and good conversation if I knew I was putting my safety in jeopardy? I don't particularly like a lot of make-up, but would I see women across from me at the next table and view them as suspect? There's really no way to know.

But as much as I enjoy my tea in relative freedom, I'm sure it'd taste even better in those surroundings. Not just the taste of the dark, strong black tea diluted with only a bit of milk, but also the taste of such a small personal resistance. My own little stand against the authorities. My own little tea-stand.


  1. Great Piece. Great idea. Wish I'd thought of it. Don't be surprised of I pinch it.

  2. Whatever they're drinking, however the women are dressed/madeup, I hope these people are allowed to keep their small freedom.