Today, trying to find the time to post something on Chantal Akerman’s 1991 D’Est and Harmony Korine’s Gummo, instead in came an email from Gertjan Zuilhof, friend who works with the Rotterdam Film Festival. I encourage anyone reading this to send a note of support and to sign the petition. Send to: email@example.com
Or go to here to sign on-line petition.
The letter below says it all.
Please reply to: alireza khatami <firstname.lastname@example.org>
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: alireza khatami <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2010 02:12:39 +0800
Subject: Petition for release of Jafar Panahi
Please find the letter attached to this email. I am trying to gather
signatures of well known people all around the world to support Panahi’s
case. If you like to support the petition please replay to this email and
write a sentence in his support. I appreciate if you introduce your well
known friends who like to support Panahi.
peace and hope for better days
To: *Sadeq Larijani, Head of the judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran*
We, the undersigned, call for the immediate and unconditional release of
nationally and internationally recognized Iranian film maker, Jafar Panahi.
Jafar Panahi (جعفر پناهی) has won top prizes at the Venice, Cannes, Berlin
and Chicago film festivals, most notably for the award-winning film Circle.
Through his films and his influence he has given voice to many of his fellow
Iranians and has always courageously defended their human rights.
Panahi was arrested by Iranian security forces at his home on Monday night,
1 March 2010, together with his wife, daughter (the inspiration behind the
film Offside), and 15 guests. Panahi’s wife and their daughter were among
the 14 released late on Wednesday, 3 March 2010, but Panahi and two of his
guests, Mohammad Rassoulof and Mehdi Pourmoussa, are still being held.
No reasons have been given behind his arrest, and the only claim made thus
far is that this was not a politically motivated arrest by the government
(government prosecutor, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, 2nd March 2010)
We, the undersigned, dispute this claim as Jafar Panahi was a vocal critic
of the previous and current administration. He was previously targeted for
attending the public memorial for Neda Agha-Soltan, shot in July 2009. He
was barred from traveling to attend the Berlin Film Festival in February
We, the undersigned, view his arrest in light of his influence as a
filmmaker struggling for the liberation of conscience in a state that has
long relied on the overwhelming use of authoritarian power.
Jafar Panahi, among other renowned artists, is paying a terrible price for
courageously voicing out the people’s will in a time where few avenues are
available. We would like this unlawful and unjust treatment to be stopped.
For more information see this, and this, and this. Also you can go back in this blog and see postings on the Iranian situation here, and here, and here. For information on Jafar Panahi, see wikipedia.
And for a very good sequence on Iran, see Chained to the Cinematheque.
The arrest of Jafar would suggest that the authorities in Iran are taking the heaviest measures in order to suppress dissent. In arresting an established figure in the cultural world in Iran and the world, they are clearly seeking to make a point that they will arrest (torture or….) whomever they wish, presumably hoping to strike fear into the hearts of others. It is, though, a signal of fear on the part of authorities, and in that it is a “good” sign: their days are numbered and they know it. They will strike out, injuring, killing many. They will, as such authorities always are, be defeated. Their desperation signals their imminent defeat.
A little note: in changing the email provided, as requested by the sender, I got a new not-seen-before note inside of the WordPress system that said DANGER, and then flashed my name saying the matrix had me – perhaps the Iranian authorities have some hired hackers to mess with these things.