In light of a number of comments and emails I have received regarding my article Blood Concert in Toronto-Islamic Regime’s Cultural Ambassadors at Roy Thomson Hall , I thought it might be beneficial for my readers to expand on some of th points I made, which may have not been clearly set out in my previous article.
If one looks at history they will note that dictatorships have always used art in different forms (music, literature and cinema) to take attention away from their crimes. One such dictatorship was the Nazi’s who massacred hundreds of thousands of Jews on one side, then organized and promoted cultural and art related events on the other side to distract from the crimes they were committing. The Islamic Regime has used the very same approach in the past 31 years, by oppressing dissent at home and promoting cultural events abroad.
There is no doubt that the “Masters of Persian Music” are highly talented and may very well be some of the top musicians in the world in their own filed. That in fact is the reason they are useful to the Islamic Regime. The Regime cannot distract people and take away attention from its own crimes with mediocrity. The issue at hand is not the individuals but the effect of the concerts instead.
Anyone who has any familiarity with the Islamic Regime and in particular the Ministry of Culture, also known as the Ministry of Censorship knows that artists in Iran are subjected to the worst type of censorship imaginable. In order to publish a book, make a movie, record an album etc… the artists must first receive permission from the Ministry of Culture. If the content of the art form is not in line with the Islamic Regime policies permit will not be granted under any circumstances.
The same is true for artists who want to perform abroad. They must have permission from the Ministry of Culture first, and that permission is not easy to come by. This raises a question mark as to how while certain independent artists are imprisoned or even “disappear”, while independent artists are not allowed to perform or publish their art, certain groups are so easily given permission to leave the Iran to perform abroad.
Further the fact that certain artists are so freely able to travel and perform aboard gives the false impression that there is freedom in the Islamic Republic, which again is not the case. The freedom is only for a certain group of people and artists not for everyone, and certainly not for those who are independent and do not support the Islamic Regime.
In this particular case I am aware that Mr. Kayhan Kalhor was in fact arrested for a short period of time, yet it’s interesting that he was released very quickly and then was allowed to freely travel the United States to take part in the anti-Ahmadinejad demonstrations. The Islamic Regime has made it quite clear especially in the past few months that it will not tolerate any opposition, so it’s very suspect how this individual was released so quickly and then allowed to participate in protests in New York!!
There are many artists in Iran who are supporter of reform rather than Regime change. This does not make them pro-democracy, as reform is another branch of the Islamic Regime and has nothing to do with people’s pro-democracy movement.
Lastly one of the things I love about living in Canada is the fact that I can exercise freedom of speech and expression. It is quite clear from some of the emails I received that the writers do not believe in the same concepts, and believe everyone must either agree with them or else.
I will certainly not remove my article or retract it for the above noted reasons. The demonstration will still go on and we will still voice our opposition against the Islamic Regime and their Cultural Ambassadors.
Down with the Islamic Regime in Iran
Long Live Freedom in Iran