Friday, June 04, 2004

Why the Iranian "opposition" is an embarassment to itself and to all iranians--Part II

I'm afraid this will be an on-going series.

With the anniversary of the July 9, 1999 student/popular uprising against the Islamic Republic coming up again, we'll see the familiar resurgence of interest in the student movement and its imprisoned political activists.

a few weeks ago, i saw this flash video in commemoration and support of the student movement in iran and i just about died of embarassment.

the video starts out tolerably enough, and even has some good introductory text and a range of pictures.

but then, as the already dramatic music increases in cheesiness, the most horrible thing happens, there is a shift in the soundtrack, and you hear the voice over of, god, i can't even bring myself to say it...ok, um, you hear the voice of Mel Gibson, from the film Braveheart!!!

they have him speaking in his fake scottish accent about freedom from tyranny, fighting to the death, etc. and the text of the monologue is actually transcribed alongside photos from various student protests.

Though I could go off on this for a while, i'm actually having a hard time ripping the people who made this flash video apart because, unlike the idiots who posted the picture i have in my previous post on their website, i dont know that the people who made this piece are evil jerks. in fact, i have a feeling they had the best of intentions.

a severe lapse in good taste and political sensibility isn't a crime is it? (it should be, i think, but it isn't). so what's my point, then?

let me say it as briefly as i can.

according a Reporters without borders' press release last year, Iran has imprisoned the most number of journalists in west asia and north africa. these same prisons hold numerous other prisoners of conscience (even president khatami finally had to admit this obvious fact): some of our best and brighest have been languishing in jails for years.

so does it honor them, the weight of their social and political struggles, or the gravity of their circumstances to set them to the soundtrack of a stupid hollywood blockbuster?

just because the most photogenic and/or the most vacuous (i'll be nice and refrain from linking any pictures on this one)activists get all the attention doesn't mean that the on-going struggles in iran are bereft of all substance.

we have our own words/ideas and those of many other variously persecuted poets, satirists, musicians, activists, and journalists. we shouldn't have to rely on a screaming and half-naked mel gibson to give us our inspiration.