Code: 39548 A

TEHRAN. (Iranart) – The only way out, the only response to the threats to the art world has to be unity and ceaseless demands from officials and through legal channels.

Who knows how a female student of music is feeling these days? I asked the same question here on January 20, 2015. I asked questions from those who keep cancelling music concerts, especially when women musicians are dragged out of a live music performance and before the audience, and are not allowed to enjoy their basic rights under the law. Yesterday, on the same page here, the Sharq newspaper reported that women musicians are no longer allowed to play in live concerts in Isfahan, Yazd, East Azerbaijan and Khorasan Razavi provinces.

One - The culture minister once gave us assurances that women musicians would still continue to play: “The police are not behind every concert cancellation. In some places it is the interim Friday prayer leaders who are against women performing in live concerts. They are the ones that give the marching orders to their supporters to cancel concerts. There are also instances in which the Judiciary cancels these programs.”

On paper and in words we have taken some steps toward resolving this particular issue. There were supposed to be dialogue, lobby, directives and even bills at the Parliament to help fix this problem once and for all, yet to no avail. In practice, the conservatives have the final say in these matters. It is their demands that are always met.

Two - On January 13, 2015, we proposed a symbolic referendum on art. The youngsters are not that patient anymore. Life is moving fast and having music concerts should be the most basic right at this day and age. It’s a waste of time to sit on it. 

Three - If the experience of recent elections in Tehran is any indication, the only way ahead for artists to enjoy their rights is to be on the same boat together. There will always be differences among our artists, and not everyone would be on board. We made that absolutely clear here on 27 January, 2015, that “you cannot keep two artists under the same roof.”

The only way out, the only response to the threats to the art world has to be unity and ceaseless demands from officials and through legal channels. It is wrong to allow some vigilantes demoralise the position of Iran in the world. Cancellation of music concerts or artistic restrictions are a dangerous legacy to leave for our future generations. Here, the government should help to institutionalize and bolster our art guilds. The Tenth Parliament has already given a new lease of life to those who love art and culture. The time is now to walk the talk.

This write-up has been published today, Tuesday, 11 April, on Page 14 of the Sharq newspaper.

Hossein Hashempoor
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