Can you name the most essential thing you use on daily basis, so basic that you often take it for granted? Now, can you imagine you have to use that discreetly or in fear of getting arrested because the government bans it?
In Iran, satellite TVs, among many other things are banned. However, government control does not stop the public from acquiring them. And I “heart” Iran because most of the time, these ways are funny and make me smile.
This week, I decided to share with you this photo since it brings back memories of when in mid 90s, I was a school girl and satellite TVs were starting to become popular in Iran. People who owned a huge satellite dish, tried many different tricks to hide them from the local police searches or even occasional helicopters hovering above neighborhoods. But before hiding the satellite dishes, there was a mafia-like process of going through an underground business to buy the dish and receiver set.
Today, these “illegal” satellite dishes are so common that no one any longer bothers to hide them. Iranians fearlessly put them on the roofs or balconies and even if the police confiscate one, another one is replaced almost immediately.
But I remember when I was growing up in Iran, my father built a straw greenhouse and camouflaged the dish behind the plants and trees. Our neighbor hid his dish behind a row of washed and hanged to dry bed sheets. I was told to not to talk about owning satellite TV at school. And while the religious figures were calling the satellite TVs, the evil device which connects to the Western world and only shows dancing, half naked women or “bad” political things, I was told Discovery and National Geographic Channels are the only worthy things to watch.
Though my father or the neighbor might have not had the creativity of the person who did this photo, and today Iranians are concerned about much more important things such as freedom of speech to get their hands on, I think the way Iranians have continued to find a way to survive the governmental control on their private space needs recognition.