Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Purple fingers 2: on Iran

The above painting is by the Iranian artist and animator Ali Akbar Sadeghi. See his 1975 short Malek Khorshid on UBUWEB.

Image © copyright Ali Akbar Sadeghi.

Below is a partial follow up to this post on international struggles for democracy.

On Iran

Johann Hari in The Independent last week, writing on Islamists, their victims, and hypocrisy. An excerpt:
Kiana Firouz is a 27-year-old woman who grew up in revolutionary Iran, and slowly realised that if she ever acted on her natural impulses – to kiss and hold and love another woman – she would be subjected to a hundred lashes. If she did it again, she would be hanged, in a public square, before a jeering mob. But Kiana believed the freedom to fall in love was more important than her own safety. She stood up in Tehran and made a film showing that there are gay people there just as there are gay people everywhere, and they deserve to live and love freely. The police began following and threatening her. She knew what had happened to other gay Iranians – a bullet, a ditch, a lynch mob – so she came to a country she associated with freedom for gay people, Britain, and appealed to us to save her life.
We refused. The Home Office told her to go back to Iran and be “discreet” about her sexuality. But the law in Iran doesn't say discreet lesbians get out of jail free. They are tortured and killed just the same.
Martin Fletcher in The Times on the same day, under the headline Iranian actress Kiana Firouz fears film of her life ends in death, writes:
A young Iranian actress named Kiana Firouz will attend the London premiere tonight of a film in which she plays a lesbian seeking asylum in Britain because the Iranian authorities are pursuing her. The Home Office rejects her application and sends her back to the Islamic republic, where homosexuality is a crime punishable by death.
Unfortunately for Kiana Firouz the film is not make-believe. It is based on her life. The Home Office has denied her asylum and she now faces the prospect of deportation to Iran followed by flogging, execution or both.
Der Spiegel on Iran’s homeless dissidents: Asylum Requests Still Pending a Year after the Green Revolution.

Reuters: French court frees man who killed ex-Iranian PM. Shapour Bakhtiar, best known as the last Iranian prime minister under the Shah, was also a veteran of both the International Brigade in Spain and the French Resistance. The French government denies a link between the release of his killer Ali Vakili Rad, and the release by the Iranian government of a French teaching assistant accused of spying. Clotilde Reiss had been sentenced to ten years, but this was commuted to a fine of $285,000.

Francis Sedgemore: Who’s forgetting Iran?

Potkin Azarmehr writes that Jafar Panahi’s release shows international pressure works. Earlier, Pedestrian on Pahani’s hunger strike.

Neo-Resistance on The Hanging Baluchs and on Hijab Power-Play.

At Tehran Bureau, Hardliners Close in on Mousavi.

Posted all over the place, Unemployed workers chant at Ahmadinejad speech.

In The New York Times, Roger Cohen argues that the US administration is moving the goalposts in its response to the Brazil-Turkey-Iran nuclear fuel swap proposal. But over at Arms Control Wonk a lot of well informed people seem to see it the other way around: Zombie Fuel Swap, Back from Dead, Again, with more here, and here, and here. Though they do have a friend who’s not quite as pessimistic.

In that NYT column, Roger Cohen cites John Limbert, once one of the Embassy hostages in Tehran, now dealing with Iranian affairs at the US State Department. I’ve heard the talk that Mr Cohen is quoting, and enjoyed it. You can watch a version delivered just over a year ago at the Rumi Forum here, or listen to an MP3 of a version from last November at the Middle East Institute.

Finally, Variety on an Iranian animated science fiction feature being directed by Bahram Azimi: Tehran 2121, via TPMB. Judging by the artist’s website, he has a taste for the colour green, and compared with Ayatollah Mohammad Bagher Kharrazi’s dreadful fantasy about Iran’s future, Mr Azimi’s vision looks quite benign.

Earlier: Purple fingers the first.

No comments: