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Mark Levine

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Blog Posts From Iran's Metal and Hip Hop Artists: Is Music the Weapon of the Future in Iran?

Posted: 06/18/09 05:16 PM ET

Please note: I'm updating this post as I get new emails/tweets/calls from artists in Iran, so keep checking for new material.

Despite a general ban on most forms of popular music by the Islamic government in Iran, rock music has become one of the most vibrant forces for critiquing the various ills of Iranian society, and the basic ideology of the Islamic Republic as well.

When I last visited Iran I was amazed at how vibrant, and how courageous, the heavy metal and Hip Hop scenes had become. Long before the current violence, metalheads were willing to risk arrest, forced haircuts in jail, beatings and even threats to their families in order to pursue the music they love. The loose clothing and short hair favored by hip hoppers have made them a less obvious target for regime thugs and morality police; but both extreme metal artists and hip hoppers in Iran have been arrested for the politically and socially charged nature of their music, which circulated throughout the internet despite the best attempts of the government to stop it.

Music, and artistic expression more broadly, has always been a core part of Persian culture. While music has yet to play a public role in the protests similar to the role of artists in the Beirut Spring of 2006, they are working behind the scenes, using their art as a way to write about the experiences of the last week, and to describe a vision for a better future.

I have been in contact with some of the most innovative and talented artists in Iran over the last few days. Below are some of the emails they've sent me describing what they've been experiencing. I've changed the names to protect their identities, but to quote one rapper about the his use of Tupac Shakur's lyrics, "Those who know, will get it..."

The great Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti titled his last album "Music is the Weapon of the Future." In the current protests in Iran, it is bubbling under the surface, and will help shape the way the still young Revolution will develop now, and be remembered later. For more information about Iranian metal and hip hop artists, including links to their videos and music from the forthcoming EMI album Flowers in the Desert, please visit here . I have uploaded the galley from the chapter of Heavy Metal Islam dealing with Iran here to help contextualize the situation in Iran vis-a-vis its all important youth culture.

For more analysis on this issue you can see my articles on the protests at al-Jazeera's English website here, for the Social Science Research Council here, and for the Huffpo here.

And if you are an Iranian artist/musician/rapper, or know any who want to share their experiences, please have them contact me at mlevine@uci.edu.

* * *

For an arts perspective on the situation in Iran, Tehranavenue.com, the online magazine covering the arts scene in Tehran (and which has sponsored several online "battle of the bands" featuring some of the best metal groups in the country), has extensive coverage of the protests, including videos. And it's in English. Check regularly for updates.

An Iranian death metal song that predicted the rebellion of the youth over 2 years ago:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNav2lzd-TQ

* * *

New song just uploaded to Youtube from Iranian rapper Kalameh (pseudonym) expressing frustration of Iranian youth at the pro-democracy and reform crackdown, which is increasingly a bitter culture war as well.


July 4,

Kalimah
Do not muddy the water!

Beat By: Shadowville.com
Mixed by: Pooy

Verse 1
"The greatest sin, must be killing the hope"
It was a murderer who killed my friend's hope,
the friend who just said that words.
Every step in this way was void, so was every speech and every action
Do not muddy the water!
Politics are dirty; it swallows you as down and throws you up brain washed
Behind every person, there is a hidden reason
I wanted to go live on top of a mountain, staying away from politics
But I couldn't, because it is hard to accept what they do

Chorus:
This constant pain of mine, emanates from being a human
Because one night, they stole my light of hope
If I stay silent, If I stay still
Who is gonna right? Who is gonna say?
If I leave it that way?

This constant pain of yours, emanates from your existence
Because one day, they stole your spree from your wit
If you stay silent, If you stay still
Who is gonna play? Who is gonna make?
If you leave it that way?

Verse 2
Power, is a demon crawling into the hearts of men
From Cain to Goliath, from Pharaoh to Yazeed
It turned a lot of people scoundrel
If they tender power on a golden tray for me
I would reject it, because I am not fed up with my humanity
A young person and an old one, a women and a man
They come all together and create one nation
If you ignore their voice, it will be your disgrace
Most of the superpowers in history, became miserable for that reason

This nation says No,
Says NO to autocracy
Says NO to censorship
Says NO to sedition
Says NO to beating and killing
Says NO to injustice
Says NO to democracy

Chorus:
This constant pain of mine, emanates from being a human
Because one night, they stole my light of hope
If I stay silent, If I stay still
Who is gonna right? Who is gonna say?
If I leave it that way?

This constant pain of yours, emanates from your existence
Because one day, they stole your spree from your wit
If you stay silent, If youstay still
Who is gonna play? Who is gonna make?
If you leave it that way?

Verse 3
Being silence out of dread, is the value for unawares
And the authorities are relying on this
Their conscience got blinded by their vanity
They reinforce the columns of their kingdom, by violance
But just when they think they are rising above
In fact they are falling deeper and deeper
Their heart grow colder and nothing can soften it
The fire of power and greed burn them but cannot warm their heart

If the nation wants, the sea will split
If the nation wants, alchemy would be found
If the nation wants, the (so called) winner would lose
If the nation wants, this homeland will be built

Chorus:
This constant pain of mine, emanates from being a human
Because one night, they stole my light of hope
If I stay silent, If I stay still
Who is gonna right? Who is gonna say?
If I leave it that way?

This constant pain of yours, emanates from your existence
Because one day, they stole your spree from your wit
If you stay silent, If you stay still
Who is gonna play? Who is gonna make?
If you leave it that way?

(spoken) ah, yeah, if I stay silent, not writing not rapping, giving it all up
If you say nothing too, not playing your music,
And he does not make his movie.

A lot of excuses like he is old, the other one is young,
this is a kid that is an adult
So what then?
What will happen to our violated rights?

Don't keep quiet, because if you do, it will be your turn soon.
Don't keep quiet, because if you do, it will be your turn soon.

Message of Support for Iranian musicians from Shady Nour, son of Ayman Nour, former Egyptian presidential candidate recently released from jail after three years because he dared to run against Mubarak.

June 25

"you guys in Iran have all the worlds music scenes respect for dealing with all of this right now... It's a pain, I know.. I had to go through the same childish works of Mubarak here in Egypt when my dad ran for president.. He was jailed.. I let out all my angers and hatred in the form of music.. It worked.. I formed a very successful death doom metal band in Egypt when I was 13 as the lead singer and guitarist called "Bliss" the now Your Prince Harming, the only screamo/hardcore band in Africa.. Even though my dad now is out and might have not appreciated my music, I still continue relieving my self with music!
Good luck and stay strong everyone.
Shady Ayman Noor.
Your Prince Harming/Bliss."


Well-known Iranian indie rock band Hypernova announces Freedom Glory Project for Iran

July 1,


For more information, go to www.freedomgloryproject.com.

"Freedom, Glory, Be Our Name" is dedicated to the people of Iran and the citizens of the world who stand with them."

myspace.com/hypernova



Urgent Appeal from members of the Iranian metal band Tarantist (celebrated as the Metallica of Iran at this year's SXSW festival)

June 23,

Iran's government has beaten one of our band members badly in Iran so he can't walk, also they threw tear gas to the basement the guys were practicing. Evrybody now is in danger [like all the people in the country].

We need to save them as soon as possible, So we are asking for help to be able to afford their costs and bring them here as soon as possible.

People can help by buying our songs/album on iTunes [our songs as compensation for your favours while you may don't like them] or donate us on our Paypal account. Would you please spread this word to the world and to the people or organizations that may help?

Meanwhile other Iranian bands are in touch with us and they say that they are hiding all the time since Government is arresting dissidents and musicians. We want to help the other bands, too. But we need help, can't do anything alone.

We really would be thankful.

Your Iranian brothers,
TarantisT

Paypal donation.

iTunes

--

Behnam, metal guitarist

June 28,

still alive in a corner of this god forsaken place called Iran. dude you can't imagine how fucked up is the situation here.i couldn't predict anything. i'm doing this just to somehow show my feelings about what's going on. did a song and a film related to crisis.what else can i do? nothing.people are dying out there for the minimum of their so-called civil rights....wooofff, fuck it.anyway, tell me more about the reactions over seas about Iran.


TarantisT
www.TarantisTs.com
www.myspace.com/TarantisTs
Contact us: tarantists@tarantists.com


Message to Iranians from Matt Sorum, drummer Guns N Roses and Velvet Revolver, and Lanny Cordola, guitarist, producer, performer and writer for numerous bands (Velvet Revolver, Vanilla Fudge, Macy Gray, Mellow Man Ace, Donovan Leitch), June 20
:

to our brothers and sisters of iran-we hear your sacred melodies as you stand deep in the nexus of new and unchartered possibilities-we sing your praises as you unfold a new moral high ground-a wonderland of unified spirits-you are the brave seekers of freedom and justice-we feel your longing for a new persian consciousness and to this we whirl like the dervish-we am you and you are us and we are all together-one love-one heart-a soul divine in collective embrace-this is a revolution our dear sweet brothers and sisters-a sanctified revolution of the heart-where perfect love casts out all fear-where peace comes from unity and compassion and grace is a song we all sing to the god of love-always remember love suffers long but in the end it never fails-so shine on you rebels of light-you makers of music-you immaculate dancers of truth-shine on and on-and know that we shine with you.


Heavy Metal in Iran on NPR/PRI's "The World"

June 23

Listen to Mark LeVine discuss the situation for artists, especially metal musicians and rappers, in the midst of the protests and crackdown, on NPR/PRI's "The World," with Marco Werman. Includes clips of songs from several of Iran's best metal and rap artists.


New Song by Iranian Rapper Salome on the Situation

June 22

This is a new song whose lyrics were just emailed to me by the rapper Salome, one of the first female rappers in Iran and featured on my soon to be released album Flowers in the Desert, out on EMI later this summer,


Joan Baez's Statement to Iranians

June 21

To the People of Iran:

In you the world sees the power of nonviolence. We hear it in the roar of your silence and see it in your eyes as you sit down peacefully in the face of terror. We are moved by your courage and inspired by your sacrifices.

I am fortunate to be alive to witness this movement. I send you my prayers, love, and support.

--Joan Baez

"My Constant Pain," by Salome
Beat By: Shadowville.com

Written June 22 in response to the protests

Verse 1
"The greatest sin, must be killing the hope"
It was a murderer, who killed my friend's hope, the one who made this statement
Every step in this way is void, every speech and every action
Let's not make the water, muddy!
Politics are dirty, it swallows you as a whole and throws you up brain washed
Behind every person, there is a hidden reason
I wanted to go live on top of a mountain, stay away from politics
But I couldn't, because it is hard to accept some stuff they do

Chorus:
This constant pain of mine, emanates from being a human
Because one night, they stole my light of hope
If I stay silent, If I stay still
Who is gonna right? Who is gonna say?
If I leave it that way

This constant pain of yours, emanates from your existence
Because one day, they stole your spree from your wit
If you stay silent, If youstay still
Who is gonna play? Who is gonna make?
If you leave it that way

Verse 2
Power, was a demon who crawled into the heart
From Cane to Goliath, from Pharaoh to Yazid
It turned a lot of people scoundrel
If they give me power on a golden tray
I would refuse it, because I am not fed up with my humanity
A young person and an old one, a women and a man
They come all together and create one nation
If you ignore their voice, it will be your disgrace
Most of the powerful people in history became miserable for that reason
This nation says No,
Says no to autocracy
Says no to censorship
Says no to sedition
Says no to beating and killing
Says no to injustice
Says yes to democracy

Chorus:
This constant pain of mine, emanates from being a human
Because one night, they stole my light of hope
If I stay silent, If I stay still
Who is gonna right? Who is gonna say?
If I leave it that way

This constant pain of yours, emanates from your existence
Because one day, they stole your spree from your wit
If you stay silent, If youstay still
Who is gonna play? Who is gonna make?
If you leave it that way

Verse 3
Being silence out of dread, is the value for unawares
And the authorities are relying on this
Their conscience got blind by their selfishness
They try to make columns of their kingdom secure by violence
But when they think they are rising,
Actually they are falling deeper
Their heart grow colder and nothing can make it soft
The fire of power and greed, burn them but not warm their heart
If a nation wants, the sea will split
If a nation wants, alchemy would be found
If a nation wants, the (so called) winner would lose
If a nation wants, this homeland will be built

Chorus:
This constant pain of mine, emanates from being a human
Because one night, they stole my light of hope
If I stay silent, If I stay still
Who is gonna right? Who is gonna say?
If I leave it that way

This constant pain of yours, emanates from your existence
Because one day, they stole your spree from your wit
If you stay silent, If youstay still
Who is gonna play? Who is gonna make?
If you leave it that way

(spoken) ah, yeah, if I stay silent, not writing not rapping, giving it all up
If you say nothing too, not play your music, that one does not make his movie,
He is old, the other one is young, this is a kid that is an adult
So what then?
What will happen to our violated rights?

Don't be silent, because if you keep silence, your turn will come soon.


Hassan, well known Iranian rapper

June 22,

my back aches man , the batons didnt help , but there is straight strategy to keep the people away from protesting by creating "Fear" ... if you want or let me say if you can express what had happened to those taken by Basij Militians to people out of iran , i can send you a letter describing moment by moment what they have done to guardless people ...
you see , the point is this , it's like that we have two different buses in Iran , going straight in two opposite ways and they are going to hit each other... they are going to hit and there will be massive massacre ... in one hand we have guardless people , university students , ordinary people that you may see each day in the streets , and in the other hand , there are National Guards and Basij , etc . They Have used Us ,... can you feel me !? They have USED us to show the world that we accept islamic republic and islamic goverment of ahmadinejad ... i can easily say that iranian youth feel like this ... they feel like they have been raped !? can you feel the heat in my words ...
we really need global attention , cause we dont have no media to express what's going on in iran...
and let me say it in this way ... i need some kindof thoughtful help ! don't really know what to do ..these people have no leadership ...

reply soon , best regards , with a bloody hand of my people's faith in Democracy
Hassan


New song written by Iranian musicians in response to crisis, sent by Bamahang Productions.

June 21,

Please see this video, the music and vocals are by Hamed Nikpay , and the lyrics are by an unknown Iranian who wrote them in response to Ahmadinejad calling the protesters "Worthless dirt and riff raff ", there have been several songs and music videos made with these same lyrics in the past few days, but I think this one is the strongest yet.

Letter of Support to Iranian artists, and Iranians in general, by Salman Ahmad, founder and lead guitarist/singer of Junoon, the seminal Pakistani rock band and the founder of "Sufi rock":

June 21,

With Passion and Love you will win freedom,freedom lies in the arms of sacrifice.
The democracy loving people of Pakistan salute the people of Iran in their struggle to have their voices heard! We are with you in your moment of need.

Aisha, rapper

June 21

We are gonna get our rights. and you know what is hurting? they keep pretending that it is something done by a small group of people supported by west! and the countries around here actually fall for it. I just cant stand watching turkish news, it is the same with iranian national TV.

they dont let peaceful protest, because they are scared of the amount of people that will, they made it so unsafe that our parents are afraid to show up, so we young people go there knowing that we might get shot and end up dead, but if we dont go out to make our voice heard, who will?

Fatima, Well known traditional singer who has worked with Western artists

June 21

My Dear friends ,
I am so sorry to send this mail ,but just I want you all to see how much the regim is brutal and cruel ...
with a lot of tears and pain
Fatima

FORWARDED MESSAGE:

My dear friends;
please forward this email to any one you know.. We need to be heard. We need to let every one specially U.S. government know what's going on in Iran and how people are treated there. Please contact the officials, do any thing you can.
Let's do our best to free Iran and Iranians.
God bless you all.

[image included in email was corrupted so i couldn't copy it here. But was of a man on a stretcher with serious head injuries]


Sufi, guitarist for the Iranian group Abjeez

June 21

My name is Sufi and I'm an X metal guitarist who's in a popular world-pop band with my two sisters and few friends now a days! Here's a song that we wrote, composed, arranged and recorded with some friends from another band during the past three days two support those in Iran, hope you enjoy it : Listen to it here.

Here's a letter from several of us to the people of the world/Media (the second part is the English translation).

PS. Of course the music has been the new weapon in Iran specially during the past 10 years! It started with the so called underground music, we spread our music through the black market etc. (it's a long story!)


Aisha, Rapper

June 21

yesterday the police forced and baseej were all there. They would attack anywhere that people were jammed together, they beat people. i dont know the name of the sticks they have in english but as far as I know they are not supposed to hit people on the head byt it, which they did and a lot of blood was there all over. Police force was better, but baseej was merciless. there was shootings also and a girl is killed which they themselves took her body we dont know where.


Rappers already writing new songs in response to the protests

June 21,

The webzine Zirzamin, which specializes in Iranian/Persian language hiphop, has already received several songs from rappers inside Iran who've been writing/recording new songs as the protests have developed. Tracks 1 and 2 of the current Radio Zirzamin are them and can be heard here.


Ahoora, one of Iran's premier metal band, sends this blog, June 21

Tehran's last 48 hours of Panic & Terror.
Tehran is burning in extreme brutalism of Islamic fascists. These two horrible videos are taken from Tehran's last 48 hours of Panic & Terror. All the creatures of world must die; and this non-existing god must stand still for a second; as wonderful experience of life comes to an end for this young woman. Check these unbearable shots and hesitate not even a second to let the world know about it.

Video 1 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxmPN7wYnfc
Video 2 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpTtmLGMujI

you can follow them here.

Ali, metal percussionist

June 20, after protests

Well today i felt like : Then it comes to be the soothing light at the end of your tunnel ... is just the freight train coming your way. Don't it feel right like this (No leaf clover , Metalica)
They attack our peacefull demonstration and what can we do ?
We don't intend to do anything to anybody ... even we are voiceless because of our dead brothers and sisters.
Now we've got lots of ideas to transform to rhythm and blues.
Today S. and me planned to work on 2 Epic music to give people fuel.

URGENT NOTICE TO ANYONE ON TWITTER, June 20:

> Pass this on: If anyone is on twitter, set your
> location to Tehran and your time zone to GMT +3.30. Security
> forces are hunting for bloggers using location/timezone
> searches. The more people at this location, the more of a
> logjam it creates for forces trying to shut Iranians'
> access to the internet down. Cut & paste & pass it
> on. PLEASE!


Tarantist, metal band, reports:

June 20

Basij throw dry acid on the face of people... europian embassies in Tehran announced bring the injured to us, not to governmental hospital. basij arrest them while they are in hospital.

This just sent in, from the group Iranian Artists and Writers in Exile.:

You can find Iranian Artists and Writers in Exile , Open letter to the Media
here.

Their facebook page is here.

And their Youtube portal is
here.

A MESSAGE TO IRANIAN YOUTH FROM AMERICAN RAPPERS, VIA DAVEY D, WELL KNOWN HIPHOP AUTHOR, JOURNALIST AND RADIO PRODUCER

June 20


A Message to Hip Hop-We Need to Do More than Just Wear Green
by Davey D, www.daveyd.com
Here's a message to the Iranian Youth...Hip Hop is with you. We understand that what is going on in Iran is not about what America wants. We understand that this is not about the dictates of those who have a particular foreign policy agenda to push that at the end of the day may be calling for Iran to be destabilized.
Hip Hop is with you above and beyond a rap song, a dope video or meaningless swagger. Hip Hop is with you beyond a slogan or a shout out. Hip Hop is with you beyond the ignorance of some of our artists who wanna brag about having 'Arab Money'. Hip Hop is with you by honoring the 5th Element-Knowledge. Hip Hop is with you in solidarity and hoping to uplift our collective humanity.
We understand that what we're seeing in Iran is a student movement, a women's movement and other reform movements that have been simmering in Iran for some time. We can trace some of this back to 1999 when we here in the US were watching our own Presidential elections between George Bush and Al Gore which was tossed into dissarray while students in Tehran University were out in the streets of Iran getting killed and student organizers were being snatched off the streets never to be seen again. A few years ago I met students who had been jailed and beaten up by the Iranian government for protesting. They had a lot of heart. They were at a conference on censorship in Beirut in spite of knowing that their speaking out could get them serious trouble again.
What were seeing our people who feel that there should be more personal freedoms, where women don't have to cover up, be searched and beaten on the streets. What we're seeing are folks who want to have more then just state run press. Part of the fights that students were dealing with in '99 was the shutting down of a newspaper. Most of us don't even blink an eye when our own newspapers and radio stations are hijacked. What we're seeing don't want to adhere to long standing traditions and they're challenging long standing traditions which has been inspired by the Western education and understanding that many have received outside the country and from understanding the world is much smaller place.
Sadly most of us never pay attention to foreign affairs unless it shows up on CNN. Hence when there were no lights cameras and action and Iranians were demanding certain changes most of us were concerning ourselves with 50 Cent vs. Rick Ross. Most of us were talking about Chris Brown vs. Rihanna. Do folks know any of the movement leaders? Do we know the name of any of the student organizations? Do any of know about the jail time that many have endured to speak out? Is this really about them backing the opposition candidate Mir Hussein Moussavi or is about stepping to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei? How many of us know the role the president plays in relationship between the Supreme leader?
Let's use this opportunity to embrace Hip Hop's 5th element and do the knowledge. Part of that knowledge means for us to start listening closely and resist framing the story so it fits our own limited parameters. When we say things like most of the people marching are middle-class what exactly does that mean? Is it the same thing as middle class here in the US? Are the people marching Muslim or Christian? Are they westernized or traditional? Is Iran a modernized country or does it fall into a stereotype where it's underdeveloped with folks riding camels through a desert? Folks better think again and note that in many regards we here in the US may actually be behind.
I said this in my last essay-Are the Protests in Iran Real or a CIA backed Exercise? this is much bigger than the two leaders. They happen to be stepping stones and stops along the way to something much larger and much more deeply felt. How about this folks... if we're gonna wear Green in solidarity with the Iranian people and their struggle, how about stepping our personal game up? If we're gonna wear Green and say we want change how about committing ourselves to stay up on foreign news long after CNN stops covering this? How about making Iran, Darfur, Congo and Haiti which just experienced a horrific blood bath two days ago between funeral marchers and UN Peacekeepers, be a topics we tweet about and comment on via Facebook? Can we make a promise amongst ourselves to educate ourselves each day on a variety of foreign issues?
If we can't do this at the very least take down our Green avatars and stop bullshitting ourselves and disrespecting the people who are out on those streets not just in Iran but all over the world really risking getting their heads cracked. There's no excuse for Iranian people to know more about President Obama's policies then we do and they live in Iran. If we're gonna wear Green, let's not do this part time. Let's not be casual trendy observers. This struggle in Iran is not going to be over and neatly wrap up at a particular time and date like a television show. It's gonna be on going.
If we want change in Iran let that change be right here at home. If we want to wear Green lets take a closer look at the rhetoric being pushed by our Republican minority in the Senate and in Congress. President Obama is taking a measured tone saying let's not become the topic at hand be seen as meddlers while Senator John McCain and others are basically saying 'Fuck that.. We gonna jump right on in there and start smashing because they have an agenda that they're trying to push that has very little to do with the student movements'. The GOP will use those movements and temporary align themselves, but it's not about making sure students a free from any oppression. Are they helping, hurting or leading us in another direction?
If we're wearing Green, we need to be asking ourselves what's' up with our own government and its foreign policy-not just in Iran but throughout the entire Middle East. Maybe if more of us wearing Green committed ourselves to do the knowledge, Iran wouldn't be in this predicament because we would be electing leaders who have a deeper, more holistic approach toward the Middle East -starting with us not green lighting everything Israel does. Yes, folks at the end of the day let's deal with the 800 pound gorilla in the room much of what we are seeing is connected to US/ Israeli foreign policy...
That's a few things to ponder...

-Davey D-

PS..As I'm writing this I'm watching TV and noting that the big networks are claiming they can't cover the events in Tehran because of a news media blackout imposed by the Iranian government...Its kind of funny hearing this, because we seem to always have our own media blackout here in the US. Of course those blackouts are imposed by the news directors and owners of these big networks-but let's not digress. My question is what happened to all those expensive spy satellites that are supposed to be able to see the head of pin from thousands of miles away? What's up with Google Earth? There's no excuse for us not to be able to see whats going on? Why aren't we using all this technology we brag about having?

[MARK ADDS: Davey D was so on the money mentioning the 'arab money' problem in hiphop, but i should point out that one of the main complaints i'm getting from friends in iran is that they are getting hardly any support from the arab world. ahmadinejad is very popular there bc of his 'standing up' to israel and the US (in my mind, it's more like professional wrestling--the iron sheikh vs sargeant slaughter) and no one caring what it actually means to live under the current system. i'm working on a piece now on how hosni mubarak must be viewing what's happening here. it's hard to imagine the egyptian people putting up with another sham election in their country after the courage displayed by iranians. but it is true from what i can tell that support for the iranian people from the arab ngo/activist sector has been relatively weak. if anyone has good examples to the opposite, please send them my way.]

Farhad, one of the first metalheads in Iran

June 20

i hope there be a good outcome from all this. Im thinking about a concept album regarding the events,

Ali, heavy metal percussionist

June 20

Today Enghelab (Revolution) square is saturated by special guards + Water cannons (high-pressure water blaster)
So happy brand new heavy forces with Water flood!

I know you know this better than me but please tell everyone who supports democracy:
Please Do not use names or identifiable Pics.
They are arresting 100 times quicker than past 4 days after friday.
May the force be with you bro.


Mohamed, metal bass player and singer

June 19

what a bullshit Khameini today said... that made people more angry.. just wait and see... they are gonna kill more people :(

[minutes later, another friend emailed the following about Khameini's speech: "
His speech means death for many young people tomorrow in Tehran. He basically OK'd their murder & arrest. Bastard!!]

Arash, translator and music organizer

June 19

what am i listening to these days? classical music and jazz. this swedish jazz trio of Soren Svenson (EST) is something else.

the city is eerily quiet. you can still hear people shouting on rooftops but not at all of the kind that has been going on in the past week.

i just hope that mousavi and karroubi do not cancel tomorrow's mass demonstration. otherwise, they have conceded defeat, which will be detrimental to participation. the mass demonstrations had given people hope and escape from apathy.


Ali, metal percussionist

June 19

"Ali" is fat and safe ;)
Yesterday [xxxxx] and me were in the same place (Down town somehow close to your hotel here!) lots of people were in black and silent with pictures of .

The situation here is so critical after Leader's dumb speech ... he threatened us ...
He is losing his mind ... it's not politics it's JONOON [crazy/insane]! Haaaaaaa haaaaa haaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Everything is banned except eMail through least speed internet.

They will arrest lots of us ...
Now 2 friends of me are in Jails.

The only sewding [saving] light in the tunnel was Conservative candidate Mohsen Rezaei's TV interview which was brighter than the sun!
The contrast between leader and ahmadinejad and all other fundomentalists is extremely growing.
The leader said people did vote to ahmadinajad cause he was the closest one to Regime and he is the closest one to people.
:)


Hussein, guitar shredding virtuoso

June 19

What music am i listening to? I'm listening to news!

Aisha, rapper

June 19

I am a girl living in Iran since 1998. I come from a religious and cultural family, I am educated in arts and I make Hiphop music in Persian language since 2002. Even though I am not political and my lyrics are mostly my personal issues, but still what I did is considered illegal in this country. I am a Muslim and I believe in the tenets which Islamic revolution stood for, believes which faded away slowly, the mottos that were nearly so perfect that could not be true, Freedom, Independence, Democracy. There were prominent people out there who still believed in those, that is why they were exiled from politics by those who only wanted power and would keep the authority in their hand no matter what, those who want to take the "republic" from the "Islamic republic" and end up with a Taliban style "Islamic Authority", and it is such a shame that they use the beautiful name of "Islam" to make it legitimate, so when you start to question them, they would accuse of questioning Islam, which is not true.

Remember that "Yazid" [the 2nd caliph of the Umayyad dynasty, who was responsible for the murder of Hussein and his family at the battle of Karbala, creating the foundational event of Shi'i theology] thought of himself as a Muslim either.

Musavi was the Premiere of Islamic Republic of Iran during the Iran-Iraq war for 8 years. He was one of the people who went through the revolution side by side Khumeini. But he left the politics since he could not stand the way it was going. Until, Ahmadi Nejad did so badly to country that Musavi, who sacrificed so much for this homeland, came back to scenes after 20 years.

And it was a light of hope, for everyone. No more censorship, no more chain-murders, no more lack of human rights, no more lack of freedom, lack of honesty, lack of welfare, lack of trust, lack of hope, lack of anything that makes us human. No more.

We were so sure.

One of my friends told me, she thinks it must be the greatest sin to kill the hope in people.

To betray their trust, when they claim it is a "republican" government.

No honesty. No real words.

Not at all.

I won't be so mad, if they get on TV and say, yes we are dictators and we believe that nation have no right to elect their government, we know the best and we will keep making decisions for you and you have no choice in your own faith. At least it will be true and honest.

But they still talk about Freedom; They still say they care about the nation. That hurts the most. Seeing them lie, in front of the majority of people who see their lies.

But we don't have the police, the media, the army, every ministry and every executive agent in our hands. We don't have Baseej to beat and shoot and break and kill easily and get away with it. We have only our belief to God, and our trust to Musavi, to get back our votes, to get back our hope.

To bring back beauty and freshness to this beloved homeland.

From the time of revolution, there wasn't such a bug participation in elections. And they are so impudent to name it as "their" victory, while people were there to change things, not to support the current situation!

Today Khamenei said after the Jum'a Namaz, that 11 million votes cannot be a fraud. It is also what most people would say not believing what is going on from outside. The thing is, this is the exact reason that everyone knows it was a fraud. Ahmadi Nejad, buying the votes of poor people and relying on his types who don't believe in democracy and want Authoritarian Rule and cheating like two or three millions, could get around 15 million votes tops, and Musavi's votes would be something near to it, considering the majority of people who saw and experienced what happened in 4 years. So as the law says, there would be another run with two candidates. It was something that we all expected. We, optimistic and believing, never thought that they could cheat such big time! It was the most unbelievable thing that happened. They were so afraid of Musavi that they didn't even risk the second run. They made such big Fraud and officially declared of their dictatorship.

The bigger the lie, the easier it is to believe.

I am not going to explain the details of fraud, because it was reported and officially written by other candidates that how the fraud happened in 3 levels, and recounting the votes have no use.

I am not here to tell the official stuff which is all over there. Journalists can say that.

I am an ordinary person living in this country, I care about my homeland, and I care about people around me. I believe in God, I believe in my rights. We are not letting it go until they re-run the elections. That is the only way.

We protest peacefully, but it is their men who attack and burn and beat and kill. This is such a planned thing, to show protests as a riot, and protesters as agitators.

They beat us, they kill us, they threaten us, they arrest us. Sms system has been down from 2 days before election till now, Internet is so slow and all the websites we can communicate is filtered, The cell phones lines are down during protest hours every day, they send noise on news channels on satellite. They are doing everything to keep us from expressing.

I am not going to give my name, because they even arrested the most dedicated people to revolution, just because saying the truth. I don't want to be arrested, so that I can write to you more. We will raise our voice more and more, until we get the result of our actions.

i dont carry camera even cellphone during the protest, they are ready to beat you up only for that reason. but here are some links for pics:

http://www.ghalamnews.ir/news-21170.aspx
http://www.ghalamnews.ir/news-21169.aspx
http://www.ghalamnews.ir/news-21168.aspx


Fatima, well known traditional singer

June 19

I am fine but so worried and restless because the situation is so fragile and dangerous but of course hopeful ...I don't think that the regime could extinguish the fire ...It is so difficult... before the election I was in US and I recorded a music with a well known American singer... and I was so happy and it was a wonderful experience a but after the election I can't do any music or sing ......

a few minutes later:

See Ferdosi the great Persian poet who joined to people ....
fantastic !!!
It has been taken in yesterday's demonstration in Ferdowsi Squar in Tehran ....
Oh freinds just now people in Tehran are all in their roofs or behind the windows of their homes and protest ....

2009-06-19-FerdowsiGreenbyZhubinNajafi1.jpg

Behnam, guitarist: June 17 :

Whats going on in Iran right now is a black spot in the history of human rights and it is the most clear proof of the unjustice circomstances created by the fandamentalist 9th goverment of theIslamic republic of Iran. the elections uncovered the lack of poletical and social tolerance in the band of Ahmadinejad and his followers. the blood will shed, tears will fall,hearts will break but the truth remains. and now it comes the time for artists to rise. to show that violence is not our tool and it doesn't belong to our kind.the blood of our youth will become the ink of our pens,will become the paint on our convas, will become the melody of our generation and will flow.


Ali, metal percussionist

June 15:

I just talked to supervisors of election from ahmadi's ministry of interrior and you know its more complicated than that ... Even some ahmadinejad fans now are saying we are shocked by the results. I mean this garbage Vote engineering needs a sophisticated reverse engineering to prove the scandal to dumb ass leader!

Ahmadinejad now wants to put people against each other!

There is no organized movement ... all self-motivated or lost Vote-motivated ... But basiji's and police and special police are doing it so organized ...

Now we are going with some intellectual people to Azadi squre ...None of them can fight ...

So forgive me Bro for what I've sinned

Later that day:
I enjoyed fighting on the street with different people from different cultures! ... these 2 Nights ... Poor amateur police is so loose and frightened. This seems to be the hugest culture jam one can see ... Some of Hezbollahiz and religious fellas and women also are fighting with guards with us and once i was carrying a Woman in her Chadorr full hijaab!!! The Spectrum of people types seems to be rich (wide) ... Variety of people ... all the streets ... different cities. P.S. It seems this fuckin' gas that police uses has no effects on me other than losing sleep!"

The next morning:
Write to all that the yesterday's huge gathering was so peaceful and all mirhossein fans were gentle ...

But in some corner one basiji unit did open fire on people !!! 2 dead at the moment and 5 more wounded people dead.

So after this crime ... all parts of Tehran was yelling : you killed my brother and i will kill you!

This is not good and they changed the effect of this perfect peaceful gathering. :(Today governmental newspaper has invited ahmadi people to face us in Valiasr square. ReSpect.

Later that day:

Mark I am back ... I have a lot to say and a lot of nothing to say ... today was the hugest demonstration ... minimum fights. Everything was great till 8 pm and then one psycho open blind fire from the top of a building on peaceful people and 2 men down :( more wounded i guess ...

Please Name your article: A Flower to the Police! after our album Flowers in the Desert. We have to control our thoughts ...

June 17
The most fucked up thing in Our Country is IRIB ... Governmental monolog TV and Radio.



Arash, translator and music organizer

June 16:

As I am writing this we can hear the whole city howling allah-o akbar from rooftop. millions poured onto streets this afternoon in a show of power that matched the 1979 revolution in every way. it is still not easy to predict what'll happen tomorrow. every hour is full of surprises. there is a long way to go. but people have gained confidence. and that's good news.


Hussein, guitar shredding virtuoso
June 17:

I'm fine but to tell the truth, I'd been socked during last week and haven't done anything special. But I try to focus and do my best in any way I can. Musically or even in the streets.. your idea about music is great, I just need some time to figure out what to do in such a situation. I wish we all could make a single just to celebrate very soon!

Aisha, rapper

June 17,

My friends are mostly scared, because they easily locate and arrest people, especially rockers are the most silent ones and prefer to wait and see [probably because they're so easy to spot on the street--see post by mohamed below]. and I am not taking sides on that believe me :) [ie that rockers are silent but rappers are out there]... there is a lot of pressure. maybe you know but this website is giving the direct news of musavi issue and it is the most official one. http://www.ghalamnews.ir

Tarantist, Iranian death metal band that headlined SXSW this year

official twitter page: http://twitter.com/TarantisT.

highlights 6/15-17:

Silent Scream: In memories of those who got killed by Ahmadinejad supporters http://bit.ly/LE04p

http://bit.ly/1JsE9K screw the Basij in Iran... Is there any GOD to see this violance?

watch how they kill our brothers and sisters... http://bit.ly/kr6bk
fuckerssss

Mohamed, bass player/singer, recently relocated to LA

June 16

family... :( in danger, my friend got hit... drummer is in danger.. they hit and shot people in the streets even not protesters? they raid to people's home with no reason, for having sattelite in their home! for any stupid reason like wearing Jeans!!!! they made problem for my brother just for wearing jeans! they know me and my family... it's not safe for them.. i'm crying here :( seriously.
i should do sth to raise some money and bring them here as soon as possible. I'm already working on a song [about what's going on], can somebody help me in mixing? can't afford it.