Wednesday , 18 May 2022

Musician Marjan Farsad’s New Song Pays Tribute to Iranian Political Prisoners

CHRI – Iranian American musician and songwriter Marjan Farsad released a new song today about political prisoners in Iran, a country where people are jailed for peacefully exercising basic human rights such as free speech.

Produced by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), Farsad’s newly released Persian-language song, “Mahtab” (Moonlight), is dedicated to two of her friends who were imprisoned in Iran under trumped-up charges: wildlife conservationist Niloufar Bayani and satirist Keyomars Marzban.

“My hope is for all political prisoners to be freed,” said Farsad, who lives in New York where she works as an animation filmmaker.

“We need a country that cherishes and empowers our talented young people, not one that imprisons, tortures, and kills them,” she told CHRI in an interview.

A former UN Environment consultant, Niloufar Bayani, 34, has been imprisoned in Tehran since February 2018 and has been serving a 10-year prison sentence since February 2020, after a sham trial of her and seven of her fellow wildlife conservationist colleagues. Her revelations of physical and psychological torture at the hands of her male interrogators—and international calls for her and her fellow detained wildlife conservationists’ release—have been ignored by the Iranian government.

The imprisonment of Bayani and nine of her colleagues—including Iranian-Canadian conservationist Kavous Seyed-Emami, who died in January 2018 while held for interrogations in Tehran’s Evin Prison—has been internationally condemned by environmental and human rights-focused organizations including the UN and renowned primatologist Jane Goodall.

Agents of the IRGC’s intelligence organization arrested Marzban, 28, in August 2018—a year after he had returned to Iran to visit his ailing grandmother. Since 2009, he had been living in Malaysia where he sought refuge from political persecution in Iran after publishing online commentaries regarding the mass protests against the country’s contested presidential election that year. Later in 2018, Marzban was sentenced to 11 years in prison for working for foreign media outlets and released in February 2021.

Freedom of speech and expression are criminalized in Iran, where major human rights violator Ebrahim Raisi was recently elected president—after all other so-called “moderate” candidates were disqualified from running. Raisi was previously judiciary chief, a position he had been appointed to by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who subsequently appointed another major rights violator, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei, to head the country’s judicial system.

Listen to “Mahtab” on Apple MusicSpotify, and SoundCloud, and follow Marjan Farsad on Facebook and YouTube. 

Following is CHRI’s translation of Farsad’s Persian lyrics to “Mahtab”:

Today I saw your picture in a newspaper
You have been in prison
For a hundred days, a thousand days,
a lifetime

They have tied your hands,
broken your wings
They have built a wall
between you and bright days

Days go by
like waves in the sea
Tangled knots
of yesterdays and tomorrows

The blue sky has lost its color
They kill the birds
with bows and arrows

The blue sky has lost its color
They kill the birds
with bows and arrows

One by one the stars disappear
night after night
The moonlight has had enough

One by one the stars disappear
night after night
The moonlight has had enough

Clubs and guns
executions and war
Should I say that you’re missed
or how it hurts

Clubs and guns
executions and war
Should I say that you’re missed
or how it hurts

One by one the stars
One by one the stars
One by one the stars
One by one the stars
Read a Q&A with Marjan Farsad here.

Photo of Marjan Farsad Copyright/Credit: Morteza Khaki

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