Iranian actress Kolshipte Farahani does not understand why France has not reacted more to the protests of Iranian youth. We asked her about it.
Paris competition. Your cry of anger was widely shared on the Internet. Why do you think the cause of Iranian women is not heard much in France?
Golshifteh Farahani. Before I write my messages I ask myself: Where is the information? Why is France, a leader in all matters related to human rights protection, silent? Why is the Eiffel Tower in the color of Ukraine and not in the color of Iran? People in France are afraid of being called Islamophobic, whereas today’s demonstrations in Iran don’t care about the Muslim religion. In France, there are many taboos related to Islam. But in Iran today, this is not a struggle against the veil. Hijab or non-hijab women are fighting for their freedom.
Why is the youth uprising in Iran today after years of dictatorship?
I have lived as a migrant for fifteen years. The generation born in the 80s lived through war, post-revolutionary repression. We are a limited, oppressed generation. The 90’s and 2000’s generations didn’t see war, they weren’t a traumatized generation like us. In 2009, youth rose up against the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. By November 2019, protests had already been bloodily suppressed, with more than 1,000 dead. This young man was not afraid. These are our children. They are on the street. They are not shy about shocking. I saw a young woman reply to a woman, “I want my life.” This was unimaginable to my generation.
What is significant is that with the women’s movement comes the youth.
Already 170 years ago, the poet Tahirih was burned in Iran for removing the veil. When the veil was made compulsory in Iran, my father did not wake up… Fifteen years ago, at the Berlin Film Festival, when I was worried about not wearing the veil on the red carpet, Asghar Farhadi, director of the film “About Her”. “, doesn’t support me. Even the #MeToo movement is only by women. But actually, things are changing. Also, male personalities like Roger Waters or Justin Bieber have already given their support to Iranian women. This is the first time in the history of Iran and the history of mankind that men have died for women. This is the first time for the Middle East. Plus, it’s a region of the world where women are undervalued. Why doesn’t France say “bravo” to them? Why does San Francisco offer support and not Paris? I was struck by the comments under singer Barbara Bravi’s post on Instagram. This is not the story of religion being played out again in Iran, but the struggle for freedom of women and men.
Were you shocked by the handshake between Emmanuel Macron and Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi in New York?
Politics is always very complicated. If Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with the Iranian president, it is also on important economic issues, especially gas and oil. I’m not shocked but, in this case, let’s ask something, put conditions …
Your messages were widely broadcast. Is it important to be involved as an Iranian artist?
My messages have received 370 million views on the Internet while we are 80 million Iranians. I try to be a bridge between Iran, my country of birth, and France, where I live and the language I speak. I’m trying to translate Iranian psychology so the French understand the complexity of what’s going on there. It is my responsibility to be that bridge. I can reach millions of people. I have spent ten days without sleeping or eating but what is my fatigue in the faces of men dying in the street?
You talked about Asghar Farhadi earlier. He extended his support to the protesters. Is it important in your opinion?
Well done Farhadi! Finally! He has talked about everything in recent years, especially about Palestine, but not about Jaber Panahi, for example, who is in prison. Where has he been for the past few years? If he is disliked by certain cultural circles, it is because he has not used his prestige to patronize people for a long time. During interviews, he reiterated that he only wanted to talk about his films when Iran was a totalitarian state. For years he said nothing and did nothing. When I worked with him on “About Ellie” fifteen years ago, he didn’t support me. He was the Iranian man of his generation on the question of women. The new generation is more talkative and bolder. If you don’t talk about fascism in Iran, don’t postulate on other things like Palestine, don’t take the language of power. I speak with passion because I can no longer tolerate this hypocrisy. He didn’t talk about Panahi even though he was his friend… but hey, it would be nice to talk today.
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