Tag Archives: Iran

Iranian protest singer arrested after releasing a song dedicated to Iranian women’s movement

The arrest comes in the wake of the anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death in custody and the following protests that shook Iranian society.

Mehdi Yarrahi protesting for Karun river by Darafsh (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International).

Last 28th of August, Mehdi Yarrahi was arrested for releasing a new piece of music. In the song, titled “Roosarito” (meaning ‘your headscarf ‘), the singer blasts the government’s hijab law and with the release the singer wanted to show support for his country’s women and their fight for equality.

Also read: Why Is Iran’s Regime So Afraid Of This Song?

Yarrahi was accused on two accounts, one for “publishing obscene and vulgar content” and “encouraging public to immorality and depravity,” and the other for “propaganda against the establishment.”

International human rights organisations have condemned the Iranian government for these actions taken against the artist and demanded his immediate release.

In the beginning of his career Yarrahi made anything but protest music, in fact he got famous for composing and singing for the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).

But after seeing the injustice his people faced, from water shortages to air quality to bad living conditions, Yarrahi began shifting his creative work to address social issues in his country. For which he has since received much backlash and now official arrest.

Iranian Protest Song Wins Grammy Award As Best Song For Social Change

The 65th annual Grammy Awards, in the US, took place on Sunday the 5th of January. For the first time a new category was introduced as the Best Song for Social Change award was given out.

Further reading: Iranian Protest Song Gains Thousands Of Submissions For New Grammy Award

The first recipient of the new award is Iranian musician Shervin Hajipour who wrote a protest song in solidarity with protesters and activists in Iran who sought justice for all women after a young Iranian woman was killed in police detention. Mahsa Amini was only 22 years old when her life was cut short by the so called morality police after allegedly breaking hijab rules.

Further reading: Why Is Iran’s Regime So Afraid Of This Song

Hajipour’s song, Baraye, quickly became an anthem in the protests that followed and caused the artist to be arrested. Now the Grammy winning musician is awaiting trial.

In her article about the power this song has over the Iranian regime, an article which we republished recently here on Shouts, Iranian author Nahid Siamdoust writes:

“The state security system instantly understood the significance of “Baraye” as a protest song. Hajipour was forced to take it off his Instagram account; however, not only has his song already been shared widely by other accounts and on other platforms, but the sentiments behind the lyrics are within the millions of people who wrote them.

The chants of “Death to the Dictator” have reverberated from the streets to the universities, from oil refineries to urban rooftops, and from bazaars to school courtyards. And so have the haunting calls for freedom repeatedly intoned at the end of “Baraye,” pouring forth from every corner of the actual and virtual Iranian public sphere.

That song’s reality can no longer be repressed and hidden by force.”

Iranian Rapper Toomaj Salehi, Known For His Anti-Government Protest Songs Has Been Arrested

The dissident rapper, commonly known by his first name Toomaj, was arrested by Iranian authorities on the 30th of October, just over a week ago. This is not the first time Toomaj has been arrested by the Islamic regime.

His family fears for his safety as authorities have accused him of “propagandistic activity against the government, cooperation with hostile governments and forming illegal groups with the intention of creating insecurity in the country,”, acts for which the punishment can be the death penalty.

In the wake of the death of Mahsa Amini protests have grown massive in Iran, as well as in other parts of the world. Thousands of people have been detained during the unrest, including artists, activists and journalists, for using their voice and sadly many people have lost their lives.

It is believed that Toomaj was arrested, and, according to his family, tortured in prison because of his lyrics. In one of his last music videos, before his arrest, his lyrics included:

“Someone’s crime was dancing with her hair in the wind. Someone’s crime was that he or she was brave and criticized… 44 years of your government. It’s the year of failure.”

A petition demanding the safe release of the artist can be found here: https://www.change.org/p/salvate-toomaj-salehi-musicista-iraniana