21 May 2014

Video of the day -- Tehran happy, or maybe not


Pharrell Williams's song "Happy" has become a global favorite, with people in cities around the world making videos of themselves dancing to it (notably including, as I posted earlier, Tunisia).  When six young Iranians made the exuberant video above, however, they were arrested by police for transgressing the regime's socially-conservative standards of behavior, which forbid women dancing or appearing with uncovered hair in public.  (I have to wonder what forms of entertainment the regime does approve of -- mullahs engaging in scowling contests?)

According to comments on the video, the dancers have now been released, though the video director is still locked up -- and Iran's new moderate President Rouhani tweeted "Happiness is our people's right.  We shouldn't be too hard on behaviors caused by joy."  But this little episode serves as a reminder that once a theocracy gets entrenched, hard-liners will do their damndest to stamp out happiness and joy.

"God did not create man so that he could have fun. The aim of creation was for mankind to be put to the test through hardship and prayer. An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam." -- Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of Iran's theocracy

7 Comments:

Blogger okjimm said...

boy, those Iranians....they sure know how to spoil things. I suppose a TV show, 'Dancing with the Ayatollahs' would not be good,huh.

But Pat Robertson is just as bad.
....if not worse. good post

21 May, 2014 18:14  
Anonymous Zosimus the Heathen said...

I have to wonder what forms of entertainment the regime does approve of -- mullahs engaging in scowling contests?

Well, it's not the same theocracy, but from things I heard about Afghanistan under the rule of the Taliban, about the only permissible "entertainment" there was watching the public amputations and executions carried out by the regime (I wouldn't be at all surprised if attendance at such cheery events had actually been mandatory).

Nice video. Since fixing a problem with my computer that made it next-to-impossible for me to watch videos on it (nothing like trying to watch a video, and finding it stopping every ten seconds or so to buffer), I've watched the one from Tunisia you posted, a fair few times, and have found that it always puts a smile on my face when I do. It's all rather silly, but I've found that it's often the silly things that make life worth living. Given how much silliness I still seem to incorporate into my own life (I'm one of those people who's never really grown up in a lot of ways), I'd probably be utterly screwed if my own country became some sort of grim, grey theocracy (and maybe it will now that we've got Tony Abbott aka the Mad Monk in charge!).

I find what's happening in Iran right now very interesting. Despite the fearsome reputation it still seems to have in the West, I gather that the ordinary people there have no real beef with Westerners, and are just as fed up with the ayatollahs as everyone else. A good book I recently read on the country was Iranian Rappers and Persian Porn, which was written by a young English guy who went there for a holiday. Funnily enough, he's since been banned from returning - I'm guessing because, while he had nothing but good things to say about the ordinary folk he ran into while there, he said that no-one there has much time for the country's rulers any more.

It's sort of refreshing when fundamentalists and other extremists just come out and admit that they want everyone to be miserable. A few years back, there was a mob of fundies in my own part of the world who gained a bit of notoriety for "preaching"* in the city's main commercial precinct every Friday night. One Friday night, I decided to go and see what all the fuss was about, and found that the individuals in question were just as bad as I'd heard. Funnily enough, one of the sins they assured their audience that they'd have to "give an account to God on Judgement Day" (or somesuch nonsense) for engaging in was watching movies! Yep, nothing like the good old moving picture shows to lead us all to eternal damnation!

*Which for these folks basically meant screaming abuse at (and sometimes even physically attacking!) any passersby they deemed hellbound sinners. (Hmm, maybe that was the only form of "entertainment" permitted by their faith!)

22 May, 2014 05:38  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Okjimm: I'm afraid "Scowling with the Ayatollahs" would be the best you could hope for.

Zosimus: In Somalia, some people were indeed forced to attend public executions. But don't forget that in Europe during the ascendancy of Christianity, people often went to see the burnings of witches and heretics as a form of entertainment, so the same could be true in Taliban Afghanistan.

I've found that it's often the silly things that make life worth living.....I'm one of those people who's never really grown up in a lot of ways

An enviable condition. I think I'd really like your blog, if you had one. I've always meant to put more less-serious material on mine, but somehow it doesn't mix well with the politics and suchlike stuff.

Knowing as I do something about Iranian history and culture, the regime there now seems absolutely bizarre. It's as out of fit with the real character of the country as Oliver Cromwell was with England. Westerners who go there are often quite surprised.

We occasionally get the yelling and screaming religious types here too. Most people treat them as a joke, though. They can't actually make people miserable very effectively unless they get in power.

22 May, 2014 10:35  
Blogger Woody said...

When I saw a news story about this last night I was in the middle of a Mexican meal and was barely paying attention to it as scenes of the video were showing. The music was quite calm and the word happy kept being said.
My attention drifted back to my burrito because the music (although quite pleasant) was not really my style (I'm more of an Iron Maiden, Judas Priest or Dead Kennedys man).
But the news reporter's words started making it through and the anger of the Iranian 'government' and charges leveled against the video makers brought my attention back to the screen.
I thought it would be difficult to imagine a more innocent scene of fully clothed young adults dancing and singing and having such fun, so as soon as I finished the burrito I commented about what I had seen on the Atheist Oasis blog.
Thanks for letting me know that you had posted about it here because I wanted to see the whole video instead of just the small bits presented on the news.

All the best,
Woody

22 May, 2014 18:30  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Woody: Indeed, it's not "daring" at all by Western standards, which just illustrates how absurd the theocracy's standards are. Iranians are always testing the limits to see what they can get away with. At least in this case, most of those involved were released pretty quickly -- perhaps the result of Rouhani's influence.

23 May, 2014 06:29  
Anonymous Zosimus the Heathen said...

An enviable condition. I think I'd really like your blog, if you had one.

Thanks. I've long been meaning to start a blog actually - it will happen one day!

Knowing as I do something about Iranian history and culture, the regime there now seems absolutely bizarre. It's as out of fit with the real character of the country as Oliver Cromwell was with England. Westerners who go there are often quite surprised.

I've read a couple of books by people who have visited Iran (the one I mentioned in my last comment, and another called Two Wings of the Nightingale, which was written by a woman from New Zealand), and that was something that came through a lot in each one - just the way the author found their preconceived ideas about the country and its people completely demolished once they actually went there. I've been fortunate to have known a couple of Iranians myself (through work), and found both really cool individuals.

25 May, 2014 04:54  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

If you ever do start a blog -- be sure to let me know!

25 May, 2014 05:31  

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