"You must have heard recent news from Iran and seen images of progressive and courageous women leading protests for their human rights alongside men. They are looking for simple yet fundamental rights that the state has denied them for years. This society, especially these women, has traveled a harsh and painful path to this point, and now they have clearly reached a landmark." This is how Iranian Oscar winning filmmaker Asghar Farhadi addressed artists and creative from all around the world in a Telegram video released on Saturday evening.
Farhadi was among the first to bring attention to the injustice perpetrated upon Mahsa Amini, who was killed while in police custody after being arrested for improperly wearing the headscarf on the streets of Tehran.
Farhadi continued, by saying "I saw them closely these nights. Most of them are very young; Seventeen years old, twenty years old. I saw outrage and hope in their faces and in the way they marched in the streets. I deeply respect their struggle for freedom and the right to choose their own destiny despite all the brutality they are subjected to. I am proud of my country’s powerful women, and I sincerely hope that through their efforts, they reach their goals."
In a recent New Yorker article, with a misleading headline that read "The exiled dissident fueling the hijab protests in Iran" a woman living in the US was hailed as the originator and promoter of the revolts which have been happening on the ground in Iran, following the murder of the young woman. Exiled journalist Masih Alinejad, described as an "unpaid forty-six-year-old mother working from an F.B.I. safehouse in New York City," is credited in the New Yorker piece, which thus takes away the power of the protesters, on the ground and on the frontlines in Iran -- instead and erroneously making the Americans, and in this case the Federal Bureau of Investigations of all institutions, once again the saviors of the Middle East.
Instead, Farhadi returns the merit where it is due, to the courage of the women of Iran. "This is a human responsibility, and it can further strengthen Iranian’s hope in achieving this beautiful and monumental goal they are seeking here, the country where I have no doubt women will be the groundbreakers of the most significant transformations," the Oscar-winning filmmaker said, inviting the international artistic community and activists the world over to "stand in solidarity with the powerful and brave women and men of Iran by making videos, in writing or any other way."
The filmmaker ended his message, with "For a better tomorrow." Inshallah.
Earlier in the day, Iranian-Kurdish award winning filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi also sent out a letter to the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Janet Yang inviting his fellow members of The Academy to defend the violated civil rights of the Iranian people, including and following the murder of 22-year-old Mehsa (Zhina) Amini.
A denial to address the issue on the side of the Iranian government culminated in the Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi refusing to sit down for an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour. During the recent United Nations General Assembly in NYC, the world renowned journalist had scheduled a one on one chat with the leader, which he withdrew from, after demanding she wear a head scarf, which Amanpour refused to don -- reminding her audience that no other Iranian leader she had interviewed in the past had ever made that request.