The Effect of Totalitarian Government

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1154 words
Carnegie Mellon University
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Governance style differs from on country to another. Some countries embrace monarchy system of governance where authority is vested in a single leader selected from royal families while others countries are governed by democratic systems of government where citizens are given free space to elect their leader y. Government systems provide legislation that enables leaders to exercise leadership objectively and democratically as per the expectations of the citizens, however, this is not often guaranteed. In the novel, Prisoner of Tehran by Marina Nemat, the chronology of events is not written like a tradition memoirs. Instead, she accounts for incidents in each chapter from her early life and alternates to present day. The Novel depicts the totalitarian rule of Iranian government where the freedom of citizens is curtailed. In the late 1970s, an Islamic revolution occurred: many Iranians expressed descending voices against the oppressive rule of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and demanded to overthrow the government. Nemat took part in speaking against the oppressive government, a position that landed her in prison in Tehran for more than two years. In the memoir, Nemat reveals that the advocacy for womens rights and censorship lead to inhumane punishments in the totalitarian government.

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Curtailing womens right in a totalitarian state had negative consequences. In the novel, the guards in prison believed that Wearing perfume, makeup, or nail polish was declared satanic and therefore subject to severe punishment. (Nemat 121) . Sixteen years old Namat was not able to express herself because Shah Mohammed rules restricted her with other women from expressing her views. Not only did they take away their right of expression, but also their right to love and freedom of sexual preference.For instance, homosexual relationships were forbidden and anyone found engaging in the act would be sent outside and face the punishment of the guards tied their wrists and ankles with rope. It was announced that they had a homosexual relationship and therefore were going to be punished according to the laws of Islam. (Nemat 117).In this context, rulers followed the pre-historic notion that a homosexual person is abnormal which is unfair because people have a distinct preference in the society and they should be allowed to do what they prefer regardless of their gender and sex thus the society should not dictate and impose values on the individual. According to Esmaeil Zeiny, an English literature professor at University of Malaysia, "Muslim men, in Prisoner of Tehran, are depicted in a negative fashion as violent, a fanatic religious, and controlling womens lives." Esmaeil further expresses the oppressive behavior directed to only women at the hands of men which would be unacceptable in today's society. They deprived their rights to expression even though females should have the ability to share the same equal rights.

The right to speak up for what one believes in was restricted in Tehran. During her tenure in high school, she had the same position; she notes that had written articles against the government in my school. I didnt deny it. It was not a secret or a crime. (Nemat 14) .When Nemat expressed her anti-revolutionary ideas in her school newspaper and other negative views against the revolution, she was imprisoned. Not only did Nemat write against the government, but also other issues He knew about the strike I had started at school and believed that it was impossible for an individual without any connections with illegal political parties to organize a strike. I had only asked the calculus teacher to teach calculus instead of politics. She had told me to get out of the classroom; I did, and my classmates followed me. (Nemat 14)

Her opinion was not taken lightly and viewed as incitement; students were threatened that they would be expelled if they went back to class. Hence they refused to go back to class. Additionally, Esmaeil Zeiny said, "it is her non-Muslim identity that makes her intrinsically candid and brave. Marina is often characterized exactly in the opposite of Muslim women. She is depicted as a very strong girl in Evin." Although Nemat is robust enough to speak up, persuading the government to do what is right, the ability to speak up for what you believe in does not impact the way the government thinks in an environment where y torture and imprison is only optioned fro people who criticize the government.

The disobedience of ones actions can lead to many negative penalties. As mentioned earlier, homosexual relationships were prohibited and resulted in abusive treatments. Nemat explained, I watched the lashes rising in the air, turning into blue, slicing the air with their sharp, piercing cries. Their small bodies shook with every blow. After thirty lashes, they were untied, managed to stand up, and were taken away. (Nemat 117) These actions made by the government prove the ridiculous discriminating behaviors that would occur to ensure its citizens were under control. Additionally, the right to speak up gave Nemat a life sentence in prison. She notes that I could never tell my parents I had a life sentence. It would kill them. (Nemat 107) . According to Nemat unjust regulation has invoked fear. However, everyones opinion mattered because it is only through such expression that discrimination against others can end. Lastly, the consequences of wearing makeup also led to misery. Nemat explained, If they saw one of the girls wearing makeup, they scrubbed her face until it hurt. (Nemat 122) It was an inhuman treatment that amounts to extreme harassment women in todays society. As stated by Esmaeil Zeiny, "Middle Eastern women need to be liberated from the savagery of patriarchal rules." She also believes that there is a need to moderate unfair laws against women in Iran. The consequences the prisoners faced when expressing their perspective against the government led to unfair treatment of women is not worth.

Finally, in this book, the Prisoner of Tehran by Marina Nemat the totalitarian government actions and its negativity is inferiority to the prisoners in Evin. The restrictions against women wearing makeup, homosexual relationships and the right to speak up against the government in school newspapers and strikes had dare consequences that were not warranted. However, they led to harsh consequences as Marina explained: she warned us that we were acting against the Islamic government and the penalty for this could be death. (Nemat 124) Further, it proves the unfair decisions which prevailed because of breaking the law, in some incidences, it would attract even a death sentence. Death, torture or imprisonment should not be the answer to any situation as everyone should be able to express themselves. Everyones opinions matter. No one should be afraid to speak up for what they believe: the same sentiment voiced by Marina Nemat.

Work Cited:

Nemat, Marina. Prisoner of Tehran: a memoir. New York: Free Press, 2007. Print.

Zeiny, Esmaeil. "Re-Orientalizing and the Pursuit of Ecstasy: Remembering ..." Re-Orientalizing and the Pursuit of Ecstasy: Remembering Homeland in Prisoner of Tehran. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Dec. 2016.

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