Iran Has Begun Cracking Down on Rap Music. The limiting of free speech is one of the clear signs of a totalitarian government that will not allow free speech to flourish. From The London Telegraph:
According to Tehran-Emrouz, an Iranian daily newspaper, he said that young Iranian men and women were arrested last week in a score of raids targeting the capital’s underground rap scene. The rappers – both male and female – had apparently taken over “vacant” buildings in order to create what Iran’s regime has depicted as degenerative, anti-Islamic music. Tehran-Emrouz describes how the police kept the buildings under surveillance after they were informed that “young boys and girls” had been seen with “unusual appearances and musical instruments”
But the Iranian authorities are not cracking down on the music because it is anti-Islamic and somehow profane but because it is confronting problems with the Iranian government:
The regime can tolerate its youth intoxicated. But what it cannot abide is young Iranians actively subverting its authority. Iranian rap is not a direct emulation of what the regime deems “messianic” American rap; its lyrics often derive from the pain of living under the corruption and abuse of the Islamic Republic.
The establishment of the Islamic regime marked the exodus of talented Iranian musicians from the country. One famous Iranian rapper, Erfan, now lives in California. His lyrics are not about fast cars and money. And they are certainly not, as the Iranian government has suggested, sexually explicit. For an increasingly unpopular and paranoid Iranian President like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, they are far worse:
“I wanna break all borders and boundaries before the flight and escape of all our valuable brains. All the youth in Iran have plans of leaving, from continent to continent they are travelling. After 2000 years it’s the time of breaking tradition, suffocating our family trees in exile.”
These frustrated lyrics from Sad Ghasam, ‘One Hundred Promises’, are especially pertinent to the post-2005 era, when Ahmadinejad banned Western and “indecent” music from state-run TV and radio stations. In an explicit attack against the Regime, Erfan also wrote Tasmim, ‘Resolution’, after the June 2009 Green Movement protests in Iran. One line in particular echoes recent events: “Every day you say our Iran is at fault, you say this but you beat and you kill.” It is for lyrics like these that the young musicians have been arrested in Tehran.