Socialist Worker, 20 Feb
Shabnam Yazdi speaks to British rapper of Iranian origin Reveal about Iranian hip hop and his work with rappers in Iran Reveal, from the hip-hop outfit Poisonous Poets, was the winner of the 2000 UK Freestyle Championships. He will be performing at the Beats Beat Sanctions fundraiser in aid of Campaign Iran next week.
How long has hip-hop been around in Iran and how widespread is it?
It’s a really new thing. Iranians became aware of hip-hop through Satellite TV and the internet and it has become one of the most popular music styles since then. The first Iranian rappers started appearing on the internet around six years ago, but have gained extraordinary popularity since then. I recorded a track with Hichkas, the godfather of Persian rap, in 2003. He was not known then, but in the space of a year the track had become so popular he couldn’t walk down the street without being mobbed.
What are the issues being rapped about?
There are essentially two kinds of hip-hop in Iran. Party hip-hop which is similar to American hip-hop—about clubs and women and street hip-hop which focuses on social issues. The rappers on the street scene focus on social issues inside Iran as well rapping against western interference in Iran—something that they have in common with other rappers in the Middle East. They see their music as being against the commercial hip-hop scene coming out the US.
Tell me about the street hip-hop scene
It started off in Tehran and is still mainly based there, but pockets of rappers are emerging all over Iran.
There are severe restrictions on musicians in Iran and it is very hard for even a traditional musician to gain permission to put on public performances. Rap artists are even more restricted and are never given such permission, because officials see their music as Western and decadent.
Because of this, the hip-hop scene is underground, there’s no structure to it or support system—essentially it’s a bunch of young kids making music for the love of it. They get their music out via the internet and don’t make money out of it. In some ways this makes the music very pure.
What is the future of hip-hop in Iran?
It all depends on what happens in Iran generally. I’d like to see a situation where the music is allowed to flourish in the way the Arabic and Turkish hip-hop scene has. Hichkas, who has the biggest selling Persian language album on Itunes, had to go through a third party to be able to sign the contract and was ripped off.
We are now setting up a record label in Europe, which will enable Iranian rappers to sell their music easily and we will be showing the latest video from a female rapper, Salome, at the Beats Beat Sanctions gig next Thursday.
See Reveal perform at the Beats Beat Sanctions gig on Thursday. Book here
Campaign Iran have launched a statement against the crackdown on the democracy movement and the aggressive actions of Western powers. Please sign and distribute widely:
We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned about the repression of the democracy movement in Iran that has emerged following last summer’s election fall-out, and alarmed at the build-up of US Patriot missiles in the region, plans for further sanctions and renewed calls for foreign interference in Iran’s domestic affairs.
We thus call for:
* The release of political prisoners
* Freedom of press, freedom to organise, to demonstrate and to form political parties
* The abolishment of executions of political prisoners and activists
* An end to all economic and/or political sanctions on Iran
* An end to the US military presence in the region, threats of military intervention and acts of aggression from the US and Israel
* An end to any attempts of interference in Iran’s domestic political affairs from outside the country
* The removal of all nuclear weapons in the region
hip-hop night & fundraiser opposing sanctions on Iran
LOWKEY http://www.myspace.com/lowkeyuk leading British Iraqi rapper
“One of the best lyricists in the Western Hemisphere” Benjamin Zephaniah
REVEAL http://www.myspace.com/revealpoison leading british Iranian rapper
PERSIA http://www.myspace.com/persiauk up and coming female British Iranian rapper
POETIC PILGRIMAGE http://www.myspace.com/poeticpilgrimage female Muslim rappers
Thursday 25th Feb @ The Quad
London School of Economics, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE (Nearest tube Holborn/Temple)
Book online: http://www.beatsbeatsanctions.co.uk
Hosted by LSE Stop the War Society. All proceeds to Campaign Iran
Radio Zamaneh, 9th Feb 2010
Iranian opposition leader, MirHosein Mousavi renewed his call to supporters of the Green Movement to join the February 11 events “while preserving their unique identities.” He maintained that the Green Movement is a young and independent movement that is inclusive of numerous small groups. He also emphasized that it is not affected by pressure and only moves in accordance to “national interests.”
Speaking to a group of university students, he added that not only is the Green movement independent from any foreign connections; it in fact “does not allow foreign interference in its affairs.”
Feb 6th 2010, Spiegel Online
In an interview with SPIEGEL, opposition politician and former president of the Iranian parliament Mahdi Karroubi, 72, discusses allegations that he has bowed under pressure from the government in Tehran.
SPIEGEL: Hojatoleslam Karroubi, you are supposed to have recognized Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president in an interview with a pro-government news agency last week. Is that true?
Mahdi Karroubi: I also told the news agency that this government is not legitimate. And I stand by my opinion that the election was not conducted correctly. But this government is now taking care of the daily political business. Even if a government comes to power via a putsch, it has to bear responsibility for what happens.
MJ Rosenburg, Huffington Post
Anyone who has followed the Senate’s handling of health care reform can’t help but be impressed (or depressed) by the glacial pace at which things move in that place. In fact, it appears that Senate sloth contributed mightily to the failure of reform (by comparison, the House is a model of streamlined efficiency).
But the Senate can and does move with dispatch when it wants to (or is unable to resist the pressure to move). Sometimes a president can get the Senate to move as quickly as he wants. FDR and LBJ were famous for that. More often than Presidents, powerful interest groups can light a fire under the self-proclaimed “world’s most deliberative body.”
For instance, just last week the Senate passed comprehensive sanctions on Iran — a bill being pushed by AIPAC neocons and the other “usual suspects” — in record time. It was brought up with only three senators on the floor; there was a five minute debate and it passed by voice vote. Just like that.
Dominic Kouros , February 2010, Socialist Review
When the Iranian people took to the streets in July to demonstrate against tyranny they were met with brutal repression. Six months on, the same people have refused to give up their fight. Meanwhile, global leaders are circulating plans to capitalise on the unrest. The people of Iran are challenging not only their own leaders but also the threat of crippling foreign sanctions and military engagement.