COMMENTARY: The Musical Anthem of Iran’s Protest Movement


By Potkin Azarmehr


Every revolution and mass uprising comes with its own music. Iran has never been an exception to this. The songs of each revolt or revolution are indicative of the nature of the protests and its aspirations.

In the 1970s, Iran’s leftist groups were experts at producing anthems that aroused the passions of the masses, especially the youth. Many became sympathetic to the leftwing groups in the decade before the 1979 revolution in Iran not so much because they had studied Marx and Lenin’s writings, but because those anthems and pieces of music moved them emotionally. The Islamists quickly learned from the Left and they too became prolific in creating their own version of music and anthems.

During the nationwide protests in Iran that have followed the tragic death of the 22 year old Iranian girl, Mahsa Amini, after her arrest by the co-called “Morality” Patrol, one song has gone viral almost overnight.

It was posted by Shervin Hajipour, a songwriter and music producer in Iran, on his instagram page and quickly exploded on Iran’s cyberspace.  He gained 300,000 followers overnight, and at the time of writing, his music video had gained 40 million views and 1.5 million hits.

On Thursday, 29th Sept, at around 8:00 pm Tehran time, Iran’s security agents went to Shervin Hajipour’s house and forced him to remove his music video from his Instagram page. It’s another futile attempt by the regime, because it will only make Shervin Hajipour more famous — not just amongst Iranians but in the whole world. His music video is already posted everywhere else.

It started when Iranians posted on their social media pages by answering the question: what they were protesting for? The social media posts that started with “For..” — followed by what they said they were aiming to achieve — spread quickly.

What Shervin did was to read a collection of what Iranians were posting, and compose these texts into a song. His music video showed each post as he sang it.

This is my best attempt to translate this moving song into English, hoping to show the world the beautiful wishes of the brave Iranians risking their lives for a better life. A mass protest movement, not for an ideology, not for taking revenge, not for violence, but for the basic things we take for granted in the West. For a normal life away from religious dogma.

When people ask me: what are the people in Iran protesting for? I can only repeat the words in Shervin’s music. They are protesting:

For being able to dance in the street

For not having to fear kissing my beloved in the public

For my sister, for your sister, for our sisters

For the father who feels ashamed in front of his family because he cannot make ends meet

For a normal life

For the kid who was scavenging garbage cans for food and when asked what his aspiration was replied, “what is aspiration”?

For not having this state-run economy

For not having to breathe in this polluted and poisonous air

For saving the dying trees in our boulevards

For saving our cheetahs from extinction

For saving the stray dogs that are being killed by the municipality

For putting an end to our endless tears at night

For the father whose daughter was killed by the IRGC missile fired at a passenger plane

For the day when we can have our real pictures on our profiles

For the school pupils and their future

For not having to go to their compulsory “Paradise”

For our geniuses locked up in their prisons

For the stateless Afghan refugee kids

For an end to all these empty slogans

For tranquillity in life

For the Sun to rise after this long night

For woman, life and freedom

For Man, Fatherland and Prosperity

For Freedom

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