ARYA ZAPPA “Iranians want their country and culture back”
The situation in Iran has been boiling for around 20 years now, and each movement or unrest has led to the current state of society. With Aban (Bloody November 2019) Iran reached a tipping point, the brutal killing of Jina Mahsa Amini on 16th of September 2022 sent never felt before shockwaves to Iranians in Iran and the rest of the world – as a result a women-led revolution is taking place in Iran. “After 44 years of Islamic occupation, Iranians want their country and culture back and are fighting a battle against religious barbarism, oppression, misogyny, and corruption”, as Arya Zappa aptly analyzed the current happenings.
To give deeper insides in the current situation in Iran, Thomas Venker talked to the German Iranian Music producer and artist Namito; the web3 social-impact initiative Iran DAO, raising crypto and providing resources for Iran’s women-led revolution; the Senior Journalist at Iran International Maral Mohammadi; and the German Iranian Musician and artist Arya Zappa.
How would you summarize the nucleus of the current situation in Iran?
After 44 years of Islamic occupation, Iranians want their country and culture back and are fighting a battle against religious barbarism, oppression, misogyny, and corruption led by the women of Iran.
When did you first become aware that the situation in Iran was coming to a head?
Aban 1398 (the bloody November 2019) when the Islamic regime switched off the internet to slaughter over 1500 defenseless protesters, shooting at the masses from helicopters while knife wilding Arab mercenaries from Hezbollah Lebanon were stabbing people from motorcycles. The climax of the brutality of the Islamic Regime signaled they had reached their expiration date.
To put things in perspective, Iran’s Persian culture was famous for poetry, philosophy, backgammon, architecture, polo, chess, gardens, and wine. Islam is Arabic Bedouin culture and has nothing in common with Persian identity, which is routed in the history of Kings like Cyrus the Great, who wrote the first human rights declaration (the cylinder of Cyrus) and Zoroastrian philosophy.
Were you immediately aware of the extent of the conflict?
Yes. This time it was different. You could feel that people’s fear had turned into rage. Dictatorships or, worst, an Islamic theocracy tends to dehumanize their people to exploit and control them. What I mean is they strip people of their fundamental human rights: The freedom of expression and the freedom to flourish in whatever capacity people choose without fear or hindrance from the state or any other party as long as in the pursuance of these activities, they do no harm. This means being fully human, which has been taken from the Iranians for 44 years. In addition, this Islamic cartel has stolen Iran’s oil and riches, impoverishing an entire country to fund Islamic terrorism in the middle east. Iranians had enough. They know they are 87 million people being held hostage by an Islamic Mafia.
This is a good time to briefly review your individual life stories and connections with Iran:
I grew up in Iran, Israel, and Jordan and left Iran with my family a few years after the Islamic Revolution in 1986 when I was twelve. My father was one of the last counselors representing Iran in Israel during the Shah until 1979 and before the disastrous Islamic revolution.
Do you feel that the global press is adequately reporting the events? If not: What do you criticize?
Iran International and Iran Wire are both reliable official information sources on Iran. The western press seems too disconnected to report accurately. Sometimes it feels like it is intentional. I’ve seen credible western journalists like Christiane Amanpour interviewing and giving air time to NIAC members, a notorious Islamic Regime Lobbying organization that pretends to represent the Iranian people. This error is either based on a lack of research on their part or some agenda. Either way, I wouldn’t call it good journalism. BBC journalists who called out members of NIAC on their lies were forced by their employer BBC to publicly apologize to them. Sadly this is what Iranians are dealing with in terms of media support.
In your opinion, which media should be followed to get the most reliable picture of the events?
Iran International https://www.iranintl.com/en/abouten
Iran Wire https://iranwire.com/en/
1500 Taswir English https://twitter.com/1500tasvir_en
and the social media of Masih Alinejad who is one of the female leaders of this revolution: https://twitter.com/AlinejadMasih
The people on the ground in Iran are risking their lives with their protest. This is hardly comprehensible for people who do not live in such a totalitarian system. What can you do as a person who does not live in Iran (and has no family
there) to help? What do you think you should do?
Absolutely. My friend Thomas Scheibitz – a German contemporary artist and sculptor who grew up under DDR communist dictatorship, understands what it means to live under an oppressive governmental system with no regard for human lives. We had fascinating conversations on this topic. In contrast to pre-internet societies like the East Germans, a distinctive feature of the Iranian “Woman, Life, Freedom” revolutions is the critical role of social media and hashtags. The more people share these hashtags and support their Iranian friends by posting videos and news from Iran, the more importance they will attach to it and incentivize the western media to report about it. It will also support the Iranian people in spirit to sustain the momentum of their quest to overthrow their oppressors.
Which institutions and organizations should be supported? And why these in particular?
Iran Wire is a funded news outlet that does great journalistic work and relies on donations. In addition, Iran DAO have created a crypto fund similar to Ukraine DAO to support the Iranian revolutionaries and their families. https:// twitter.com/iran__dao
To position oneself clearly politically and to get involved socially is one thing, the other is the concrete political process. How realistic is it that official diplomacy, NGOs and also agitative, oppositional groups in Iran will get a change process moderated with the system?
This is highly unlikely. Iranians don’t want reforms. They ask for regime change. This regime is the manifestation of evil in its nastiest and most brutal form, raping, killing, torturing, and blinding even children as young as 10. There is no room for negotiation and reforms with a psychopathic system. For a better understanding of the sentiment: What happened to Iran in 1979 is the equivalent of if someone would open all asylums and high-security prison units of a country and hand over the keys of governance to a bunch of psychopaths and predators. When Israel bombed Iranian weapon facilities last week, thousands of Iranians were thanking Israeli Journalist and activist Emily Schrader via Twitter, which was bizarre but made sense. Israel has been the only ally of the Iranian people, walking the talk. It’s not that I advocate for war. But the international community has yet to understand the urgency of the situation. Every day they wait to take action is a direct contribution to the armament of a dangerous regime that is tirelessly working on getting its apocalyptic claws on an apocalyptic weapon. Clearly, there is no room for a nuclear deal or reforms. The west must kick out the representatives of the Islamic regime and close their embassies. Additionally, declare the IRGC as a terrorist organization. They must stop legitimizing this regime and undermining the Iranian revolution.
What do you think needs to be replicated?
Replication? No. I’d say a new system that integrates little parts of the old and culturally embedded system. A monarchy that is somewhat symbolic and serves as a cultural and moral institution accompanying a democratically elected parliament, just like the UK.
As an anarchist and decentralization advocate, I’m not fond of any of this, but I feel this is the best solution for the Iranian society and what the majority actually wants. It makes sense if you look at the countless minorities and cultural diversity within the country. A symbolic monarchy would unite them in spirit, and a democratically elected parliament would represent them equally.
What else is there to say:
It’s worth mentioning how we got ourselves into this mess. Looking at psychopathic rulers like Hitler and Khomeini, it’s evident that they got into power because humans are idiots. Ayatollah Khomeini wrote a book called “Tozieh-of-Masih” or “explanation of the issue,” which was released long before he got into power with the help of the US, France, and the UK. Just like Hitler exposed his pathological character disturbance and strong antisemitism in his book “Mein Kampf,” Khomeini described his nasty and deeply psychopathic nature in detail, talking about questionable political views, sexual pleasures (even from newborns), and Bestiality. In addition to the disturbing promotion of pedophilia, he openly admitted, “Islam is politics or nothing.” No one read the books of Khomeini or Hitler. The masses blindly followed and admired them. And the masses are still susceptible; look at the cult around tech billionaires deciding on world health matters, information distribution, and food supply. We still have a lot of evolution to
do. Women, Life, Freedom.
Thank your for your time.