Thursday, January 15, 2004

Movement: Iran is undergoing change from within. This Washington Post article explains that conservative clerics who run much of the government are liberalizing social laws to the extent that women are now legally allowed to show their -- hair. The story states that at one time the government argued that "women's hair emits rays that drive men insane."

Iranian conservatives are betting that allowing some personal freedoms will placate the population so they won't demand any real reforms, such as freedom of press and speech. One student described the small reforms as being like a "safety valve to prevent an explosion in society."

I have bad news for Iranian conservatives. This is not going to end the demands for freedom in that country. Once people get a taste for personal liberties, they'll want more. And the demands will increase as Iranians compare their freedoms with what people in the West have, which is easier to do with the spread of technology.

The Middle East isn't going to reform overnight. But the change has been set in motion.


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