Dear Campaign Iran supporters and peace activist

The winter solstice or shab-e-yalda has been celebrated by millions of Iranians on or around the 21st of December over millennia. For many in the country, whether in rural or urban locations, and also millions of Iranians who live around the world, this is a time to get together with family and friends. The dark of the longest night in mid-winter is traditionally spent through cultural activities and rituals. The last of the fresh fruits such as exquisite juicy melons and ruby red pomegranates are consumed alongside dried fruits, mulberries, green raisons, apricots and figs on a string as if a rosary. This is often amidst the exchange of tall tales of the unexpected, poetic offerings and recitations, and the sounds of whichever musical instrument available.

The art and tradition of storytelling, narratives of imagination and honour, age-old myths and legends, and kings and kingship, have kept many a listener alert in the home and in the tea-house during the festivities. The promise of the return of ultimate light, the Sun, to the sky and reflections on the conceptual meaning of that light have made it ever more possible for the listener to stay awake!

It is in this spirit that we invite you to view the following two documentaries/visual-reconstructions to which  many contemporary and eminent scholars have made a contribution. Approximately 30 minutes long each, these visuals make excellent viewing material for a long winter’s evening. Beyond soft-nationalism or cultural rhetoric, which is not our intention, we believe the films offer a space to witness the cultural interconnectedness between Iran’s heritage and that of the world’s. During a political climate where Iranophobia is constructed and promoted implicitly and explicitly, and a lamenting discourse of ‘30 years of Solitude’ is projected as the only discourse coming out of Iran, these films present an important counter discourse through an ancient heritage which continues positively into the present.

Campaign Iran wishes you happy viewing on or around the winter solstice, in homes, schools, campuses, pubs, and political gatherings. Please forward to a friend or neighbour on our behalf.