Declining birth rates, for example, signal a wider acceptance of contraceptives and other forms of family planning — as well as a deterioration of the traditional role of the family. Over the last two decades, the country has experienced the fastest drop in fertility ever recorded in human history. Iran’s annual population growth rate, meanwhile, has plunged to 1.2 percent in 2012from 3.9 percent in 1986 — this despite the fact that more than half of Iranians are under age 35.
At the same time, the average marriage age for men has gone up from 20 to 28 years old in the last three decades, and Iranian women are now marrying at between 24 and 30 — five years later than a decade ago. Some 40 percent of adults who are of marriageable age are currently single, according to official statistics. The rate of divorce, meanwhile, has also skyrocketed, tripling from 50,000 registered divorces in the year 2000 to 150,000 in 2010. Currently, there is one divorce for every seven marriages nationwide, but in larger cities the rate gets significantly higher. In Tehran, for example, the ratio is one divorce to every 3.76 marriages — almost comparable to Britain, where 42 percent of marriages end in divorce. And there is no indication that the trend is slowing down. Over the last six months the divorce rate has increased, while the marriage rate has significantly dropped.
Changing attitudes toward marriage and divorce have coincided with a dramatic shift in the way Iranians approach relationships and sex. According to one study cited by a high-ranking Ministry of Youth official in December 2008, a majority of male respondents admitted having had at least one relationship with someone of the opposite sex before marriage. About 13 percent of those “illicit” relationships, moreover, resulted in unwanted pregnancy and abortion — numbers that, while modest, would have been unthinkable a generation ago. It is little wonder, then, that the Ministry of Youth’s research center has warned that “unhealthy relationships and moral degeneration are the leading causes of divorces among the young Iranian couples.”
Meanwhile, the underground sex industry has taken off in the last two decades. In the early 1990s, prostitution existed in most cities and towns — particularly in Tehran — but sex workers were virtually invisible, forced to operate deep underground. Now prostitution is only a wink and a nod away in many towns and cities across the country. Often, sex workers loiter on certain streets, waiting for random clients to pick them up. Ten years ago, Entekhab newspaper claimed that there were close to 85,000 sex workers in Tehran alone.
The Third American Revolution will be part of a world revolution. Saving our planet is not a national but an international issue. The U.S. economy, unlike at the time of the first two revolutions, is now completely interlinked with the rest of the world. Referring to the Third American Revolution is not hidden nationalism or the notion that we are different from the rest of the world. As long as humans are still grouped in nation-states the dynamics of our people will in great part be tied to the history and culture created within national boundaries. But the coming struggles will consist in part of the dissolution of those boundaries. There is nothing more revealing of the failure of the leaders of our country than when they talk about being ‘competitive’ in the world. Why would we want to compete with and defeat other members of our species? The idea is fundamentally absurd. Such phrases have a purpose, to convince working people to view other humans as the enemy and the ruling class of their own nation as their defenders. The truth is exactly the opposite. The formation of international movements can offer an enormous benefit for everyone.
We are one species. We are one planet. Our success for justice and democracy in this world, for creating a world without hunger or poverty, depends on our species comprehending this simple yet all-encompassing truth.
Peter Miguel Camejo
This is the website (nearly entirely in Arabic…) for the Mosireen Collective, a collective of Egyptian revolutionary filmmakers who have archived in video the uprising in Egypt, now with more than 1000 hours of footage to be made available for use in filmmaking and activism.
What a treasure trove and an incredible tool for Egyptian activists and citizen journalists!
The Syrian Uprising. As we speak, thousands of people keep dying for freedoms most of us take for granted. They’re being slaughtered mercilessly, yet they keep on going. For a whole year they keep enduring the suffering, and yet they won’t quit. What would I do in their situation? Would I be that brave? I’m lucky that, for the foreseeable future, I don’t even have to find out.