2011 July 18 Monday
Dog Popularity Grows In Iran

A sign of an advancing culture even as the mullahs try to crack down on dog ownership.

Buying and selling dogs is illegal in Iran, unless they are guard dogs or used by police. Dogs are considered "haram," or unclean, in Islam. Until recently, keeping dogs as pets was limited to a small circle of Westernized Iranians.

But access to satellite television—and American programs depicting families playing with pups—has turned dog ownership into a sign of social status in Iran.

I flash on poor Anne Frank hiding from the Nazis (and how she should have had a dog to hide with her). Dogs in Iran hide from the mullahs. Their owners walk them late at night or drive them out to the country to walk them.

Rather than spend trillions of dollars invading and fighting in other countries the US could far more cheaply and easily transform countries like Iran by giving them free satellite TV. Beam every TV show and movie and documentary into Iran without encryption with subtitles or dubbed voices. The costs of royalties and satellites would be peanuts compared to what the US has spent fighting in the Middle East.

Any measures that would help boost internet access in Iran would also help build up larger subcultures that oppose clerical rule. A good piece in the Washington Post in June 2011 reports on how Iranians live more freely in the virtual realm and in their homes than they do on the street.

Iranians have used special software to bypass government firewalls and maintain access to Facebook, Twitter, Badoo and other Web sites. Iran has one of the largest Facebook communities in the Middle East and is one of the most densely Web-connected nations in the region, according to Internet World Stats, a Web site.

Online, Iranians brazenly show the parts of their lives that they used to keep secret from the state and others. Pictures of illegal underground parties, platinum blond girls without head scarves and couples frolicking on the beaches of Turkey are all over Iranian social media. They illustrate the rapid modernization that the Islamic republic has gone through during the past decade, changes that have left clerics, revolutionaries and many families struggling to understand.

Do Western trade sanctions work against higher speed and cheaper internet in Iran? If so, those trade sanctions should be lifted selectively - along with lifting any sanctions on dog care products.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2011 July 18 07:56 PM  MidEast Iran


Comments
Black Death said at July 19, 2011 6:20 AM:

I've always considered it ironic that Muslims consider dogs "unclean," given the filth and squalor I've witnessed in some Islamic countries.

REN said at July 19, 2011 6:23 AM:

This article reminds me of comments made by East Germans after the Berlin wall came down. The East German's were asked what was the biggest influence the West had on them. Their answer, "satellite TV" and other media broadcast into their country. The military "Radio Free Europe" and other broadcasts were not as nearly effective as regular TV like "Dallas" and other TV shows from the West.

REN said at July 19, 2011 6:31 AM:

The Iranians are Persians, and ethnically Caucasoids. The peoples of the Caucasus mountains emigrated to Iran and Greece. I'm typing this fast from memory, but the Cavili Scavorza (probably spelled wrong) index, shows the Iranians and the Greeks to be the closest genetically.

The Caucasoids also emigrated to India, giving rise to the Brahmin culture.

This is why Iran looks West, but their geography makes them look East. They have remained Shite despite hostility from Arab Sunni's in the region. The Arab Sunnis, consider the Persian Shites to be both a different tribe and a different religon. The Persians are considered Apostates, and are marked for death.

Maybe the Iranian Persians are making a play for controlling the neighborhood out of misguided attempts to keep their security.

Elmer Fudd said at July 19, 2011 8:01 AM:

"...Iranians live more freely in the virtual realm and in their homes than they do on the street."

Which is where we're headed. Hate crime laws, affirmative action, multi-culturalism, and dopey proposals like a miles-driven tax (which would require large-scale government intrusion into stuff that's none of anyone's goddam business), plus a general drift toward a police state to enforce punitive laws enacted by and for protected (minority) groups are all pieces of that puzzle.

jerry said at July 19, 2011 11:57 AM:

"Rather than spend trillions of dollars invading and fighting in other countries the US could far more cheaply and easily transform countries like Iran by giving them free satellite TV. Beam every TV show and movie and documentary into Iran without encryption with subtitles or dubbed voices."

Most of these nations already get our movies and media. What some people can't seem to understand is that these weapons are also being used to destroy us. And a large part of the resurgence of Islam is a reaction to the decadence of the West. They use to want to emulate us, now they are appalled, and rightly so.

"...Iranians live more freely in the virtual realm and in their homes than they do on the street."

Which is where we're headed. We're already there. The anonymous internet is the only place where there is free speech in this country.

no i don't said at July 26, 2011 9:14 AM:

On one hand we have these radical middle-east muslims that consider dogs (or pigs) as "dirty" or "cursed" animals worthy only of death, and on the other we have these radical western animal lovers that shower, groom, cherish -and sometimes even have sex with- their dogs.

We really need a more balanced world. A dog is an animal that should be owned for the purpose of guarding a place, guiding a blind man, retreive game, perhaps keeping company. It's ok to pet them, but they should sleep and live outside in a dog house and be fed dog food and some of yesterday's leftovers.

Oh, and here's a tip to dog owners by the way... Please don't expect everybody else to love your dog as you do, and we promise we won't care if it's dirty, showered, cursed or a "good boy"


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