What the hell On the Margin of Error is supposed to even mean? And do I have a reason for choosing Kaveh Mousavi as my pseudonym? Do these questions trouble your mind and haunt your dreams since this blog started yesterday?
What, no? OK then, I guess I’ll go ahead and answer them anyway.
On the Margin of Error is a bit of a personal title. It refers to one of my many rows with my counselor in the high school, who was trying to force me to pray.
“This school is for Muslims. You should go and study in an atheist school.” He said.
“There are no atheist schools in Iran.” I said.
“That’s true, because there are no atheists in Iran.”
“Then what about me?” I protested.
“There are so few of you that you do not affect the ultimate statistical outcome. You are on the margin of error.”
So, as you can see, this is how I should introduce myself:
But seriously, that stayed with me, until today. It was always a moment that epitomized what it means to be an atheist in Iran. They are not content with refusing you all the civil rights, not content with persecuting you for your crime of thought, they even don’t acknowledge that you exist. The whole society is shaped in a way to accommodate the religious. “We are all Muslims” is fact that nobody disputes. Whenever things like mandatory hijab are discussed, people begin it with “well, we are all Muslims.” Even seculars while defending secularism are like “of course we are all Muslims”. When people discuss minorities they exclude atheists. The opposition include Baha’is, (and they must), but they exclude us most of the times.
And people act like it too. Whenever I out myself to someone, their first reaction is to say “but you surely believe in something”. Some say “I consider you a Muslim even if you don’t”. The point is, the Iranian regime and society simply wants to ignore that atheism is possible, an option.
Now, why Kaveh Mousavi? The first name comes from a mythical Iranian figure. Kaveh the blacksmith was a blacksmith (duh) who was an ordinary person who rose against a ruthless tyrant, Zahak, and kicked him out. It’s the first democratic revolution in the Iranian lore. Ferdowsi narrates his story in his epic Shahnameh. Mousavi comes from Mir-Hossein Mousavi who is the leader of the Green Movement, placed under house arrest. He would have had a heart attack if he had seen my blog, since he’s deeply religious. But I still admire him as the only possible leader of the Iranian pro-democracy movement, as the man who can unite seculars and reformists and the liberals and the moderates. (And atheists. Let’s include those as well).
By the way, if you are curious about anything, such as Iran, feel free to leave a comment here and ask. It doesn’t have to be related to the topic. I’d be happy to reply.