Persian Voices: Illiterate and Irrational

I clearly remember the day when we heard that the reactionaries were busy sowing discontent among the young carpenters and sawyers. The former, angry at having been taken away from their livelihood, demanded to know what they had to gain from the whole venture. The latter, being illiterate and irrational, were reluctant to accept any logical arguments. If these two irresponsible groups had walked out, our whole movement would have suffered. Fortunately, we persuaded them to remain in bast (religious protest).

—Participant in Bast

 

Abrahamian, Ervand. “The Causes of the Constitutional Revolution in Iran.” International Journal of the Middle East Studies. Vol. 1 No.3 (Cambridge University Press): Page 407. Print

92-M. Heravi-Khurasani, Tarikh-I Paydayish-I Mashrutiyat-I Iran (The History of the Genesis of the Iranian Constitution) (Tehran, 1953), p.50.

 

Editor’s Note: In the few years leading up to the 1906 revolution, dissenters protested in both religious sites such as shrines and mosques as well as sites of foreign institutions in Iran including a Russian bank and British and Ottoman embassies. They coordinated strikes and protests using telegrams and newspapers which could be seen as an early modern form of social networking similar to today’s use of social media in resistance movements.