Arrested for being happy?
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Recently, I was reading an article about Iran. You know, I don't really delve into matters pertaining to the Middle East. I mean, it's always been a dream of mine to learn Arabic, but I don't really keep up with the news from that region. However, the article which I read was striking. Through it, I found out that six people (specifically young dancers) were arrested for making a fan video for Pharell Williams's song "Happy". Although they were recently freed, it got me thinking.
Similarly, I saw another news segment on Iran. This time, it was not regarding terrorism, terrorist acts, nuclear weapons or corrupt politics. Instead, 60 Minutes did a piece on the "Modern Iran". Traditionally and historically speaking, Iran has always been a culturally and technologically advanced country, compared to its counterparts in Southwest Asia. In recent times, it has dwindled out of its historic place for reasons much debatable. Although, Iran is very much on the right track back into modern society.
That being said, it is not a given that all rights, freedoms and duties are in place in this controversial society. The nation is still greatly ruled under a shadow of religion. Here, we have a new age conservatism which drives further militarism and pushes away peace. This is the actual corruption. This is what is soiling the futures of an entire generation---that of the youth. In the 60 Minutes segment, the 60 Minutes journalist covering the story enters a more conservative suburb of Tehran and meets several Iranian teens. One teenage boy asked the journalist where he was from. The journalist very openly said, 'The United States...I'm American." The boy, in utter disbelief, stammered, "You're Am-Am-American? Really?! A REAL American?" It was strange to see his friends giggling around him staring at this man as if he were an extraterrestrial. Yet, that got me thinking too.
It's easy to think that all children in the world are in your situation, whatever situation that may be. Those kids in the news segment were neither poor nor famished. They were just repressed. In which way? The right to information, exchange of cultures and speech. Similarly, Iran repressed the rights of its adult citizens when it arrested these dancers. Being too happy is a crime? The chief of Tehran Police said that the arrest was made because it was "an obscene video clip that offended the public morals..." If public morals deny the right of happiness to a person, how must Iranian society continue? Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, said that happiness was the right of his people. He did not see the need to arrest the youths involved in making the video.
That lack of parallelism in ideology coming out of Iran is the
very foundation for an old society to crumble and a newer one to
rise up and take its place. The social reform which is entailed
in these actions of Iran cannot be accomplished through simple
foreign intervention (hint, hint America). They can only be
achieved through true diplomatic actions to achieve peace and
more importantly a Greater Good.