Iran: Arrested for dancing in ‘Happy’ video
Six young Iranians were arrested for recording Tehran version of Pharrell Williams’s ‘Happy’. They have since been released again.
The video was published on youtube.com on 20 May 2014.
About a month ago, six Iranian boys and girls (seen in this video) danced to the famous song by Pharrell Williams called ‘Happy’. All over the planet people have recorded their own videos to the soundtrack of Pharell Williams mega-hit ‘Happy’. A web site collects the so far more than 1,680 different videos from 142 countries – with more being added every day.
The six Iranians wanted to contribute to this happy, global youth movement, so they danced on the rooftops of Tehran and uploaded their video on the youtube.com. It was widely distributed in the social media.
The police decided to track them down, arrest them and make them repent in front of the camera. It then showed this capture on the national TV channels as a bunch of deceived Iranian youth who regretted their deed. The six were accused of making an ‘obscene’ video that ‘offended the public morals’.
The Iranian President Hassan Rouhani seemed to think differently. “#Happiness is our people’s right. We shouldn’t be too hard on behaviors caused by joy,” a tweet on his account said.
“In the past 35 years, Islamic Republic has managed to steal freedom and happiness from the Iranian youth and replace it with a culture full of mourning and sorrow. We, too, are human. We, too, have the right to be happy and live happily and learn how to be happy. Leave us alone! ” wrote the artists.
“Take the six young people, recently arrested in Tehran (and then freed on bail on the same day, after an “auto da fé” on television) for a video clip posted to YouTube in which they were singing and dancing to Pharrell William’s song “Happy”. Western media presented the event as the boys were arrested because they were “too happy in Tehran”. Mad Mullah are always against happiness, especially the hedonistic Western concept of happiness. In Iran to rejoice is a crime, is the message. Hearing the usual media, you have the impression that the six boys, acting out a video clip, have become the paradigm of Western freedom.
However, things were different. The main reason for which they were arrested was that the girls did not dress in the hijab in a country in which the law imposes the use of the veil. Well, seeing the show from New York, London or Rome you can feel that the veil is an absurd constraint, but in this case you must not forget that you are wearing your Western glasses. If you look at the world from the point of view of the average Iranian religious woman things would be immediately upside down, although there is a bourgeoisie clearly hostile to traditional duties, mainly in the big cities. The ancient Greek philosopher Protagoras was apparently the first to state this relativism about human habits that both Islam and Western Democracy religion reject in the name of their absolute truths.”
» Continue reading the article by Claudio Gallo in RT: Iran’s happy people have to walk a thin line
» The hashtag #FreeHappyIranians went viral on Twitter. You can also use #mystealthyfreedom and: #PharrellWilliams
“Happy” Iranians in Custody – English subtitled
Published on youtube.com on 20 May 2014. Clarification: In this video, the Iranian State broadcasters refer to the individuals being interviewed as “actors”. The individuals who participated in the ‘Happy’ video are ordinary young people and not necessarily actors.
Pharrell Williams denounced the arrests: “It is beyond sad that these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness,” the Grammy Award winner said on his Facebook page.
The National Iranian American Council condemned the Iranian authorities: “There are forces within Iran’s government who want to keep the Iranian people isolated from the world,” the council said in a statement. “The irony that the Iranian youth were arrested for dancing to a song called ‘Happy’ seems to be lost on the Iranian authorities.”
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