Without Them: In Iran, a revolution of the mind has already taken place

Amir Arian in The Baffler:

THIS TIME THERE IS NO WAY BACK,” Hamid said. “People have imagined life without them.”

He had to yell these words into his phone to record the WhatsApp voice message he sent me, or else the background din would have drowned him out. He was standing on a street in Tehran, in the thick of a protest on an early autumn afternoon. Around him, people were chanting in one moment and stampeding the next while cars roared and honked, paintballs hissed, and police sirens shrieked. He was forced to run for safety before he could finish speaking, so his last words were interrupted by panting. Despite the danger, his voice was loaded with excitement.

Hamid and I have been friends for nearly twenty years. We regularly met to talk politics while I was in Iran and stayed in touch after I left. The last time I heard him speak so excitedly was in June 2009, during the early days of the Green Movement, which rose in protest of the result of the presidential elections.

I listened to his message in my home in a small town in upstate New York.

More here.