Let's imagine one of the girls, say Sanaz, leaving my house and let us follow her from there to her destination. She says her goodbyes and puts on her black robe and scarf over her orange shirt and jeans, coiling her scarf around her neck to cover her huge gold earrings. She directs wayward strands of hair under the scar, puts her notes into her large bag, straps it on over her shoulder and walks into the hall. She pauses for a moment on top of the stairs to put on her lacy black gloves to hide her nail polish.
The streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities are patrolled by militia, who ride in white Toyota patrols, four gun carrying men and women, sometimes followed by a minibus. They are called the Blood of God. They patrol the streets to make sure women like Sanaz wear their veils properly, do not wear makeup, do not walk in public with men who are not their fathers, brothers, or husbands. She will pass slogans on the walls, quotations from Khomeini and a group called the Party of God: MEN WHO WEAR TIES ARE U.S. LACKEY'S. VEILING IS A WOMAN'S PROTECTION. Besides that slogan is a woman" hr face is featureless and framed by a dark chador. MY SISTER, GUARD YOU VEIL. MY BROTHER, GUARD YOUR EYES.
In the course of nearly two decades, the streets have turned into a war zone, where young women who disobey the rules are hurled into the patrol cars, taken to jail, flogged, fined, forced to wash the toilets and humiliated, and as soon as they leave, they go back to do the same thing. We have reached Sanaz house, where we will leave her on her doorstep, perhaps to confront her brother on the other side and to think in her heart about her boyfriend. These girls, my girls, had both a real history and fabricated one. Although they came from very different backgrounds, the regime that ruled them had tried to make their personal identities and histories irrelevant. They were never free of the regime's definition of them as Muslim women.