Correspondents When shopping centers have a soul | by Ahmad
The bazar shutdown
The bazar is an ancient concept of Iranian culture. It is the name given to the marketplace and economic heart of many cities in the Middle East.
In a Muslim society the bazar plays a well-defined role, in which it entirely merges with ethics and morality. A shopkeeper knows himself working for God and for the people before he works for his selfish interests and the money in his pocket.
Many stories of chivalry circulate through the halls of a bazar, about businessmen who grant benefits to each other. In such marketplace ruled by Islamic teachings, it is very usual for a shopkeeper to forward a customer to another shop when he knows the other shop has not made sufficient daily profits. Many of the biggest shops and businessmen stop selling their products when they feel it is enough for the day, and send more people to purchase the goods from other suppliers.
Entering the modern age, the bazar did not succeed to escape the claws of materialism, but still many qualities have survived from its traditional version.
One of these original qualities of the bazar which has survived the times is the deep connection to social and political issues. Shopkeepers feel a responsibility towards the society, and they shut down their business as a protest to react to some issue of social gravity.
One of the main arms of the Islamic Revolution was indeed the bazar. In many situations the Shah dictatorship saw itself forced to submit to the people's will in order to prevent the economics blackout regarding the bazar. The protests were not merely motivated by finances and interests, but their main inspiration were critical national matters.
For example, if the Shah regime had been receiving an illegal and illogical interest from its master government of the United States as a mere political show, the bazar would be one of the first social organs to interfere and prevent the dictatorship to engage in the game, by means of closing the shops.
After the Islamic Revolution the bazar has very rarely experienced the same social and political activism, because the government of the Islamic Republic relies on the votes of the people. But these days new campaigns have been ignited regarding international issues, as a symbol of national solidarity towards some major event.
Last week the bazar was shutdown for an entire day to express its protest against those who burnt the holy Quran in the United States and to show reverence to our scriptures. This move contains a very deep message for the US government, which is seen as responsible for the development and spread of Islamophobia: This nation is more than ready to confront any plot with the entirety of its social organs and economic, politic, cultural, and religious structures.