Friday, 18 July 2014

Where Being Happy Is A Crime

When the citizens of Iran decided to overthrow the Shah's government, they presumably did so in the expectation of happier times ahead. Well roll on thirty five years, and we now know that as well as gaining a corrupt clergy (who are very happy), we now understand that in Iran, happiness is circumscribed by what the religion and the regime say is allowable. Get it wrong and the punishments can range from a warning from the 'religious police' to imprisonment or even worse .... the death penalty.

All for trying to enjoy your life in a manner that hurts no one. But then what hope have you, in a land where there is even a crime of 'offending public chastity' ... the latest to fall foul of this are a group of male and female students (or maybe wanna be actors and actresses ... their story has altered as the events have unfolded), made a video for 'YouTube', in which they were 'Happy we are from Tehran'. Apparently this involved dancing to the song 'Happy' by Pharrell Williams. A song which has seemingly enjoyed global success amongst the young and which even I have just about heard (I am getting old!), and to which people around the globe have made video tributes too.

 This Video Is A Crime In The Islamic Republic Of Iran

The Tehran video was a big hit amongst this tribute fraternity and especially amongst the young educated Iranian community in Iran and the Diaspora .... this brought it to the attention of the religious rulers, who declared that all participants should be arrested for 'offending public chastity' because the girls were unveiled in public. There is also a suspicion that dancing also offended the regime, although there isn't a law against it .... yet.

The usual attempts to put a brave face to the world on this outrage, included the ineffectual President (Power resides with the clerics) tweeting  "#Happiness is our people's right. We shouldn't be too hard on behaviours caused by joy." .... the social media users have also tweeted #freehappyiranians of course this had made no difference and they have been paraded in front of TV and the media.

Of course Iran isn't the only such regime ... most Arab or Muslim countries have similar sentiments towards women and dancing (except where its young boys 'chai boys' dancing for rooms of men, in which case its accepted), but its not wholly restricted to that religion or region. North Korea is probably as bad as place to be 'happy', if not worse in many respects, and there are other states where it could be difficult .... Tibet under Chinese occupation must be a soul destroying place for Tibetans.

What a fearful fate it must be, to live in any land where happiness is tantamount to being a crime ... final words to the sentiments on the video.

"Happy was an excuse to be happy. We enjoyed every second of making it. Hope it puts a smile on your face."


  1. I'm happy I wasn't born in Iran !

  2. Coming to a neighbourhood near you very soon ..... If some groups get their way. So be happy while you can LOL


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