Iranian authorities have launched "Dahe-ye Fajr" (10 days of Dawn) to commemorate the anniversary of Khomeini's return to Iran on February 1, 1979 until the revolution's victory on February 11, 1979. Khomeini, 78, returned to Iran on an Air France flight after spending 15 years in exile in Paris. The Shah's army surrendered on February 11, 1979, leading to the establishment of the Islamic Republic.
Every year, the Iranian authorities, including public sector organizations and institutions, spend 10 days celebrating the anniversary of the Islamic Republic’s founding through a variety of advertising programs in all cities. The programs and celebrations cost a fortune as they include lighting the streets, placing many signs at the entrances of schools and government institutions, displaying theatrical performances, films, music, pictures, videos and TV programs, organizing marches for the regime's supporters on February 11 and distributing juices and sweets on the streets.
Iran has organized 10 Days of Dawn celebrations for many years now.
“Celebrate the 10 Days of Dawn and light the streets,” said Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in February 2018 on the 39th anniversary of the revolution.
“If you don’t want to consume too much electricity and light the streets, then use art and make creative crafts such as setting up paper and flags at the entrances of houses so that the Islamic Republic’s flag waves across the country and all cities and villages. Show the world that the Iranians celebrate this cherished anniversary,” he said.
For years, ordinary citizens have been using the "10 Days of Woes" against the government expression, “10 Days of Dawn.”
Majalla interviewed a number of Iranian citizens from various social strata and education backgrounds, ranging from high school diplomas to doctorates. It asked the citizens what they think about the Islamic Republic’s regime while it was preparing to celebrate its 40th anniversary.
“Do Iranians support their regime’s spending of massive amounts of money on advertisement and promotion of its revolution while the rate of inflation, poverty and unemployment has increased after the second phase of imposed sanctions?” Majalla asked, wondering if the second and third generations after the Iranian revolution are still committed to the Islamic Republic’s objective.
A university professor said the country is on the verge of collapsing due to the behavior of irresponsible officials, the mismanagement of the country, and the authorities’ deteriorating competence in running the country’s economic and social affairs.
The professor pointed to political activist Faezeh Hashemi’s interview in “Mostaghel” newspaper. Hashemi, who is a former MP and renowned daughter of one of the Islamic Republic founders, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, said that the Iranian regime has literally collapsed, and what’s left is only its apparent and structural collapse.
The university professor also referred to the repeated warnings by Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of founder of the Islamic Republic Ruhollah Khomeini, about the collapse of the regime.
“Failure to meet the people’s nonpolitical demands may lead to the collapse of the regime,” Hassan Khomeini had warned.
“I remember the celebrations to commemorate the revolution's victory were much bigger in the 1980s and 1990s compared those organized nowadays," said a resident in Isfahan.
“Back then, celebrations were made at universities, schools and state media. I remember when I was a junior high school student in the eighties, we used to memorize and chant the anthems and revolutionary plays, and the school administration used to decorate the classes.”
“We don’t see any of these songs and plays in schools today, and the authorities focus on organizing demonstrations and rallies on the anniversary of the revolution on February 11,” he added.
People are fed up with the price hike and deteriorating living conditions. Commenting on these issues, Tehran’s Prosecutor Jafari Dolatabadi warned against popular resentment of the price hike.
“There is a state of resentment among Iranians because of the unprecedented hike in prices since the revolution took place 40 years ago,” Dolatabadi stressed.
"There is a state of anger and resentment due to poverty and unemployment in small towns and villages," said a young unemployed graduate based in Kerman.
“Problems such as the hike in prices and unemployment have left people with no other option other than revolting and storming the streets.”
“Wherever you go you find people upset with economic problems. Nobody wants the current regime to survive. The proof is the slogans uttered by people like ‘Death to Khamenei and death to the dictator,’ and so on, indicating that people are demanding the change of the Iranian regime,” he explained.
A retired teacher based in Mashhad city said that he has participated in a number of gatherings and protest rallies for teachers because the middle class is going through tragic and deteriorating economic conditions.
“People feel tired and have been waiting for a miracle that would change the current conditions,” he said.
He noted that all society sectors are fed up with the living conditions, starting from nurses and teachers to workers and retirees and millions of unemployed young graduates.
"They announced a few days ago that the poverty threshold for a family of four is 2.7 million toman. Imagine that I am retired and my salary is one million toman. How can I secure the livelihood of a family of five?”
In this context, a single girl who lives with her aging mother in northern Iran said that everyone is worried about their future.
“People feel resentful and angry because of widespread unemployment and price hikes. What did they do to deserve all the inflation, problems and crises?” She wondered.
"Fear and anxiety about famine in the country has reached a level in which most people stock rice and oil in their homes," said a resident in Mashhad, who is worried about the risk of future famine.
I also asked one of the employees in Shiraz what he thinks about the 10 Days of Dawn. He responded mockingly and said this “sacred regime did not fulfill its promise during the revolution to support the disadvantaged and vulnerable.”
“Poor people have lived in poverty and problems for many years and the situation is getting worse with time,” he stressed.
“The poor, deprived and weak, whom the regime claims to be supporting, are cursing the Iranian regime and the officials during 10 Days of Dawn. They are also remembering the Shah’s ruling period and what they enjoyed back then,” he added.
Moreover, a soldier, who did not want to be identified and expressed deep dissatisfaction with his monthly salary, said there is “discontent with the current economic conditions among retirees, workers and teachers.”
Police and army officials complain about economic conditions, the soldier stressed. He also questioned expressed that he wondered the reason why the salary of an employee in the Iranian army would be one third of that of a soldier in the Revolutionary Guards Corps.
“This revolution has produced nothing but dreadful deterioration in conditions for 40 years, disconnection from the Western world and severance of relations with countries like the United States and Israel, which enjoyed good political relations with the Iranian regime during the Shah ruling period,” he said.
“The price of oil per liter was 10 riyals and the dollar exchange rate was 70 riyals in 1979,” said one university graduate, who works as a taxi driver to earn his living.
“Oil price has risen a thousand times, and the national currency has fallen by 600 times compared to 1979.”
“What have we achieved in the past 40 years?” He asked. “We have made remarkable progress in theft, embezzlement, rationalism, monopoly and expensiveness.”
"The price of one kilogram of Lamb meat is now 130,000 tomans, while a one kilogram of calf meat is 83,000 tomans and one chicken costs today 15,000 tomans," complains a housewife with three children.
“If you visit the real estate office you will notice that the rental price of an apartment that is located in a middle class neighborhood has doubled,” she added, expressing disillusionment toward the 10 Days of Dawn’s occasion.
One journalist said he was born in the 1980s and believes that people who were born in this period are from a lost generation because they spent the best years of their life in the Iran-Iraq war and with economic and cultural pressures.
"Not only did the 1980s’ generation lose hope to live a bright future but the same goes for those born in the 1990s as most of them are young people who have graduated from universities but remained unemployed with no source of income,” the journalist explained.
He added that everyone feels tired and confused waiting for a miracle to be able to change their living conditions.
“The current generation, unlike the previous one, does not adhere to sectarian beliefs and abandons the ideology promoted by the authorities.”
“My wife has recently showed me the monthly electricity bill, which was high, and they wrote on it that there is a 30 percent discount on the occasion of the 10 Days of Dawn,” said a resident of Karaj.
“They then tell us to join the rallies on the revolution’s anniversary. People are no longer deceived by such propaganda and discounts. Authorities are doing everything they can to stay in power, but we have had enough. The government can’t force the people to participate in marches celebrating the victory of the revolution,” he noted.
A 40-year old man who lives south Tehran said he suffers heart problems, yet he works on his motorcycle to deliver food in Tehran’s Bazaar district.
“What do you know about the problems facing us, the families who live in Tehran’s poor neighborhoods? My family consists of six members. My father used to work in construction, but he fell on the ladder several years ago and hurt his spinal cord. He doesn’t leave the house now, so my brother and I are responsible for providing the family's livelihood. We haven’t eaten meat for four years now. We also used to eat eggs for dinner until three months ago, and that was a royal dinner for us.”
“The price of Eggs has risen to between 550 to 700 toman. The price of low-fat yogurt was 1,500 toman 10 days ago, but it rose to 5,800 toman few days ago,” he said.
“Moreover, the price of 100 grams of cream was 1,100 toman, but it rose to 2,500 toman in a few days. Not to mention the water and electricity’s bill which is considered a nightmare for us. How can I celebrate the 10 Days of Dawn while my family and I live in this condition?” the delivery man asked.