I've always steered clear of turning BLEURGH into a platform to promote my political or religious viewpoints. However, I have been vocal about my opinion of human rights atrocities (especially pertaining to women's rights) in the past, and will endeavour to remain somewhat objective in this post. I attended a private screening of 'Those Who Said No' courtesy of JUSTICE yesterday, and stayed for the Q&A, which was hosted at Linklaters LLP. 'Those Who Said No' is an independent film by Nima Sarvestani, which documents the accounts of survivors of the Iranian massacre of the '80s as they testify at the People's Tribunal in The Hague in 2013.
Blazer : H&M | Dress : House of Fraser | Belt : Marks&Spencer
I am an avid viewer of BravoTV's 'Shahs of Sunset' and (prior to this event) had only a vague understanding of the extent of 'The Bloody Decade' in Iran. However, I was soon adequately informed about the oppressive government of 1980's Iran, which cemented its power by persecuting and wrongfully imprisoning Marxist revolutionaries, liberal activists and innocent people who protested for change. Those Who Said No is a powerful documentary, highlighting the bitter reality of the families and victims whose unwavering determination to bring the perpetrators of the Iranian regime and massacres, to justice, resulted in the scale and severity of the atrocities of the former regime being brought to light. The victims of unwarranted detention shared their accounts of inhumane and degrading torture they witnessed in graphic detail, leaving some members of the audience in tears. Heartbreaking images of 'coffins', where individuals were forced to sit in a small cubicle for 14/15 hour a day, blindfolded, with nothing but propaganda media audible. This sensory deprivation was intended to brainwash those incarcerated and create a factory of supporters; silencing their views, individuality and right to freedom. Aside from atonement and punishment, the victims were able to fire up the machinery of justice by 'exposing historical truth', after 25+ years of silence.
House of Parliament, Westminster (London)
The documentary cleverly juxtaposes the testimonies in the Iran Tribunal with personal narratives and investigative footage of Nima and one survivor's search for justice in the interim, having been plagued by these atrocities for decades. Footage of an Iranian woman trailing the barren land (exposed as a mass gravesite) detailing the emotions of the community of mourning mothers whose sons and loved ones were cruelly murdered and secretly buried at night only to be discovered upon digging the raw soil with their bare hands and catching glimpses of their attire or distinct limbs riled a few audience members and left me raw with retributive rage. Before the credits, the post script notified a dumbfounded audience that the UN are yet to take action having been issued with the findings of The Hague Court of Justice since 2013. Neither have the perpetrators been prosecuted. In fact, those named and shamed in the public inquiry were found to now hold strong positions of authority in political, legal and democratic seats in Iran to date.
Private Screening and Q&A of 'Those Who Said No'
It is clear that the actions of that anti-democratic regime was oppressive and inhumane, and should be brought to justice. I cannot begin to understand what it must feel like for the victims who suffered in the hands of such barbarians and can not only continue to live their lives, but are brave enough to share their accounts and enlighten millions of the massacre and gave injustice that occured. One cannot turn on the TV of late without being bombarded with anti-'Islamist' propaganda. I am no religious scholar, neither is this the platform to discuss, persecute or promote a religion above another. On the contrary, I (without sounding like an oyibo on social trial who lists the non-caucasian acquaintances on his/her Facebook friend list) surround myself with individuals of all faiths, and find it culturally enriching and thought-provoking to intellectually debate the differences, similarities, limitations, etc of each faith and motivate one another to pursue their calling respectively. Something that has been coined by philosophers as 'interfaith'.
I had to bite my tongue and nib my pen one too many times when drafting this post, all too aware of the consequences of 'free speech' stifled in the hands of narrow-minded oppressors a la Charlie Hebdo. The Hague and the opportunity to share their stories with the world provided a cathartic form of therapy for the victims and challenged my perception of justice.
One must be aware that the establishments are made up of the arsonists as well as the fire brigade.
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