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Point of View: The Man Who Danced in Iran

Wed, 02/07/2024 - 17:13

My wife has been asking lately if she must put up with persistent soreness, and I’ve been saying it comes with the territory once you’ve reached a certain age, and that, indeed, I’m achy most all the time except when working out or playing tennis, during which, and in the immediate aftermath of which — before rigor mortis sets in — I usually feel pretty good, perhaps because exercise to my mind is more of a respite than a chore.

That exercise is good for you is a plus, but I think I would do it anyway, life essentially being movement to me, and play being to my mind a constructive way to spend your time. For, it’s mainly in that frame of mind, I think, that productive work — work not only of benefit to oneself, but perhaps also of benefit to others — can be done.

If not taken out of ourselves to some extent, we tend, I think, to stew and plot and scheme, and even act in antisocial ways.

Sadegh Bana Motejaded had it right. This 70-year-old market stall owner in Rasht, an Iranian city, broke into a spontaneous dance in early December, an Instagram-recorded dance that inspired many countrymen and women to do the same in public, to the consternation apparently of the clerics and the Revolutionary Guards, whose reaction was very stern.

“He now has close to a million followers on Instagram and is hailed by many Iranians as a national hero who inadvertently sparked a renewed call for change,” concluded a recent article in The Times, whose jump head was “In Iran, It’s Not Just a Song and Dance. It’s a Nationwide Protest for Euphoria.”

I know freedom can spawn all sorts of ego trips and vain displays — we see them on the national stage in this country all the time now, and many of us, unfortunately, seem enthralled by such self-glorification — though I’d rather live in a country where you run the risk of liberty becoming license than in one where joy — where celebrating life — is considered licentious.

Good luck, then, to Mr. Motejaded, and to the other dancers in Iran who won’t be ground down. 

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