Monday 24 October 2022 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Monday. 24/10/2022

The Monocle Minute

Image: Shutterstock

Opinion / Holly Dagres

People power

Iran’s rolling protests, prompted by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Jina Amini at the hands of the so-called “morality police” on 16 September, are mostly seen as being leaderless. This isn’t accurate. Rather than being led by a single person or party, the protests are run by Iranians born between 1997 and 2012, Generation Z, with women at the forefront.

Amini’s death might have lit the touchpaper on the latest rounds of unrest but in truth the Islamic Republic’s ageing leadership has struggled to understand or control the younger generation for some time. Iran’s youth is angry and fed up with the status quo. It has the same needs and wants as the youth in the West. You can hear it in the words of the de facto protest anthem, For the Sake of, by Iran-based Shervin Hajipour. Its lyrics are composed of tweets by Iranians yearning for simple freedoms such as the right to kiss in public.

Though anger can be witnessed online, protests are still taking place in towns and cities across Iran’s 31 provinces. Even in classrooms, students – often with their backs to cameras – are posting images giving posters of the clerical establishment the middle finger.

What’s important for Iran’s leadership to understand is that most protesters weren’t born when the Islamic Republic came to fruition in 1979. Now that they are old enough, they have become aware of its corruption, mismanagement and increasing repression (often exposed and shared online through social media).

Generation Z is taking its future into its own hands – knowing full well that dissent could result in detention or death. As one young protester told me recently, every time one of their own is slain by batons or bullets, more will rise up. This is their revolution. And guess what? Not being limited to a single leader could prove to be its strength.

Holly Dagres is a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Middle East programmes and editor of the Iran Source and Mena Source.

Image: Shutterstock

Defence / Ukraine

Trouble in the air

Last week the US accused Iran of deploying military experts in Russian-occupied Crimea to help launch a series of devastating drone attacks in Ukraine. Kyiv was struck by so-called “kamikaze” drones that Washington says were deployed by Russia but made in Iran. As well as the issue of potential foreign intervention, the effects of the Shahed-136 drones, which aren’t resistant to some interference and difficult to shoot down, are being felt acutely by the population. Power cuts are also continuing across much of Ukraine. “Daily life is affected in a severe way – it’s cold as well,” Lada Roslycky, founder of Black Trident, a defence and security consulting group in Ukraine, told Monocle 24. “The way Ukrainian services are trying to repair [the grid] is commendable but it’s chaotic. We don’t know when we will or won’t have electricity. The main problem is that the internet is so unstable it affects the air-raid sirens. People, including myself, are worried that we won’t be able to hear them if they go off.”

For more of our coverage, analysis and the latest insights, tune in to Monocle 24.

Politics / Finland

Table talk

As some governments across Europe veer to the right and many voters feel removed from those who govern them, one Finnish politician is inviting constituents to chew over difficult topics over dinner. Anders Adlercreutz (pictured, far right), an MP for the Swedish People’s party of Finland, has launched kökspolitik or “kitchen politics”. They invite him into their homes (with six to 12 other participants) and share a meal while gaining unfiltered access to their parliamentary representative. “When I entered politics, I didn’t find it fruitful just standing in front of a crowd and presenting my message,” said Adlercreutz. “I wanted interaction.” Over a pared-back menu of pasta with meatballs in tomato sauce, the conversations that Monocle witnesses range from economic measures to childcare and Russo-Finnish relations. Though diners did voice some criticism of government policy, something about the dinner-party setting prevented language from becoming too incendiary: an all-too-common issue in today’s political discourse. Perhaps Adlercreutz has a recipe for success.

Image: Ernest Prostasiewicz

For the full story and much more besides, pick up a copy of the November issue of Monocle magazine. Or subscribe today.

Image: Ana Hop

Entrepreneurship / Guadalajara

Life in the slow lane

Guadalajara is Mexico’s second most populous city but it’s still a place where you hear the birds chirping over the traffic and spot people moving at a slower pace than their counterparts in Mexico City. It’s this big city’s small-town feel and access to more affordable rents that has made the state capital of Jalisco a hotspot for entrepreneurs and seen the population balloon by nearly a fifth in the past decade. Since the pandemic, the pace of arrivals soared again as infrastructure improvements, including an additional €1.5bn metro line and better international connections, were added to help bolster budding culinary and art scenes. “It’s very attractive to live in a connected city with a big cultural scene,” says French designer Fabien Cappello (pictured), who moved here from London via Mexico City. “An older generation, such as the late architect Luis Barragán, put Guadalajara on the map but now the younger generation can imagine creating things in the city. That’s what convinced me to move here.”

For more on the cities in which to start a new business, pick up a copy of ‘The Entrepreneurs’ today.

Image: Alamy

Art / Bangkok

Tales of the unexpected

The Bangkok Art Biennale, a major four-month art festival, opened this weekend in the Thai capital. Exhibits and workshops take place across the city in museums, malls, industrial warehouses and even the odd ancient Buddhist temple. The venues are intentionally spread across Bangkok to encourage visitors to explore the city and organisers have staked out two routes – one through the streets and the other by river – for visitors to navigate.

“Sometimes it’s nice to get lost: you can enjoy the unexpected, the unseen,” Apinan Poshyananda, the biennale’s chief executive and artistic director, tells The Monocle Minute. The biennale’s theme? Chaos:Calm, which Poshyananda says is a nod to the political and social upheavals taking place across the world. Half of the 70-odd participating artists are Thai and the rest represent 30 countries, including Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovic and British sculptor Antony Gormley, who will debut work in the Thai capital.

Image: Gebhart de Koekkoek

Monocle 24 / The Global Countdown

Germany’s top songs

For this week’s Global Countdown, Monocle 24’s Fernando Augusto Pacheco looks at the top songs in Germany.

Monocle Films / Paris

How to enjoy life

Join us for a whirlwind tour around the cobbled streets, cocktail bars and jazz lounges of Paris to explore how to enjoy the small things in life and find out why hedonism (in moderation) matters.


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