We must activate our voices for Iran!

    Ali Parandian

    The Norwegian-Iranian filmmaker Ali Parandian is the man behind the petition «The Nordic Film Community stand with protesters in Iran». The petition has so far collected 417 (per 16.10.22) signatures. We have Joachim Trier from Norway, Thomas Vinterberg from Denmark and Ali Abbasi from Sweden on the list, just to mention a few.

    This is written in the petition, (where you can sign yourself here):

     «The tragedy of Jina Mahsa Amini’s death, a 22- year old Kurdish woman who died at the hands of morality police after being arrested for allegedly not following the strict dress code for women in Iran, has sparked mass protests across the country and abroad. Thousands of women and men are bravely protesting in the streets chanting ‘Woman. Life. Liberty.’ with great risks for their lives.
    The Iranian government has responded as it usually does: With a brutal crackdown. Internet access has been greatly restricted. Protesters filming the violence cannot share what they are witnessing. Being cut off from the outside world might also make them think that no one cares.
    With this letter, we want to amplify their voices and send a message to the Iranian people that we hear them, see them, and are not alone. We invite everyone who believes in freedom and equality to stand in solidarity with the brave women in Iran by using your voice for those who are fighting for theirs.»


    The Swedish film director Johanna Pyykkö is among them who have signed the petition. She tells Modern Times Review that they have a big Iranian diaspora in Sweden.

    Johanna Pyykkö

    – My Iranian friends have been scared and sad for years because of the situation in their home country. Their parents thought the situation would be better when the shah left, but it all took a wrong turn. Their basic human rights disappeared.

    She has great empathy with how much Iranians have fought for freedom and don’t want a regime that harms them: «I support them because it is Iran’s biggest women’s rights movement. Maybe also in the world right now. I support them on social media and by writing to politicians. I don’t think our politicians are taking any responsibility whatsoever. Nor the media. They don’t report enough on Iran.»

    Nordic Film Community petition on Iran

    Just a few days ago, a friend told her that one of his family members was «taken» by the regime in Iran for protesting: «We in the Western world have to activate our voices. After the Metoo Movement and Black Lives Matter, there is an awareness of how we can use social media on political matters. We, who are not journalists or politicians, can protest online or outside embassies and our governments and show that we stand in solidarity with those in Iran. We must activate ourselves!»

    She believes the situation is not covered well enough in Norwegian or Swedish media due to financial privileges: «We have a western focus here. People here are unconsciously concerned with holding on to their privileges. This way of thinking also governs the media climate. Nevertheless, I see that Swedish media outlets are covering the situation more than Norwegian media.»

    Mariken Halle

    The Norwegian script writer Mariken Halle has also signed the petition. She feels that it’s too little to just sign under a petition:
    «I know Ali (Parandian) from before. He has told me that he has taken a break from his own movie to work activistic. It is important to have as many voices as possible in such situations. I am also thinking about the United Nations climate summit that will be held in Egypt from 6-18 November this year, which is also a regime that imprisons innocent people… It is easy for us to take it for granted in Norway that such things can be done elsewhere in the world. Those who dare to speak out in Iran now are incredibly brave.»

    Can we do something more than just sign this petition?
    «We can do much more than what we do now. It is important to spread information about what is actually happening over there, not only through social media but also through journalism and films. Nahid Persson’s documentary about the activist Masih Alinejad (Be My Voice, 2021) shows us how big the protests are. And I think the work of Deeyah Khan is important in terms of understanding where the urge to suppress comes from. I also think it makes sense to fight for free artistic film. To allow several different voices to come in and that market forces are not allowed to rule. When we adapt to a market, we distance ourselves from participating in society and the world.»

    Hillel Neuer

    On 14 October, the international lawyer and the executive director of UN Watch (a human rights NGO and UN watchdog group based in Geneva, Switzerland), Hillel Neuer, tweeted about the Iranian regime assault on protesters «244 persons are killed, 898 are injured, and 5974 are arrested» so far. He also wrote that the UN Human Rights Council hasn’t reacted on this at all, with «0 resolutions, 0 emergency sessions and 0 commission of inquiry.»

    Nordic Film Community petition on Iran

    Pinar Ciftci
    Pinar Ciftci
    Regular writer in Modern Times Review.

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