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Profiles in courage from the streets of Iran for Hollywood's gutless wonders

By Sheda Vasseghi
Friday, November 6, 2009 INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

The mainstream Hollywood crowd, an apologist group that enjoys traveling to Taliban-run countries such as Iran spreading their holier-than-thou “cultural understanding” of rogue regimes, has been effectively censored by Moslem clerics. Filmmaker Roland Emmerich chose not to blow up the Kaaba at Mecca in his film 2012 for fear of a fatwa (death sentence issued by Moslem clerics) being placed on his head.   

Yet, in 2005, actor Sean Penn went to cover a so-called Islamic Republic “election” wanting Americans to visit Iran and become familiar with its culture. In March 2009, director Phil Alden Robinson found that Iranians were not very different; and actress Annette Bening (surely with a headscarf given Iran’s brutal enforcement of hijab) hoped her trip to Iran would jump start a bridge between the U.S. and the mullahs in Tehran.

These frivolous, superficial entertainers turned international political experts, who cause socio-political damages beyond the limits of this article for their misguided trips to imprisoned societies, are now censored in their own free societies by the mere thought of being personally harmed. Ironically, Emmerich’s admission may actually teach Americans about mullahcracy compliments of Hollywood.

Since this past summer when brave Iranian men and women poured into the streets at the risk of personal harm at the hands of the Islamic Republic thugs, the world has awakened from its coma to the realities of an Islamofacist regime. This brutal violence unleashed by a government against its own people was not novel in the Islamic Republic. The difference is Iranians used modern technology to export these images as proof of their demise.

Despite facing physical harm enforced by government agents, the courage and resolve of Iranian people continues. On Nov. 4, marking the 30th anniversary of the regime’s hostage-taking of the American Embassy, Iranian protestors chanted “Death to the Dictator” in opposition to the Islamic Republic’s annual America-bashing celebrations. They also chanted “Obama, are you with us or with them?” clearly aware of President Obama’s pro-dialogue policy with the illegitimate and rogue regime.

It is indisputable that Hollywood with its complete disregard for decency and lack of couth has gone overboard on many topics including religious beliefs, sexual orientation, and teen values in the recent decades. It is also true that Hollywood’s art of storytelling has been audaciously taken over by a one-sided political agenda. Additionally, the 21st century Hollywood is filled with unappealing and overpriced mediocre talents. But despite these truths, Hollywood is an entity in a free and secular society where expression of speech and thoughts are valued and protected. At the same token, the citizens of this society have the right to support or boycott Hollywood’s products for its content or otherwise.

In the theocratic state of Iran, however, filmmakers are under severe scrutiny and censorship rules. As a matter of fact, the Islamic Republic regime almost entirely owns Iran’s telecommunication sector.

Government-mandated censorship of press, entertainment industry, and Internet includes any material relating to women’s rights, freedom of speech, political opinion, pornography, news, and blasphemy. The mullahs use censorship to control and maintain the Islamic government by preventing opposition groups from organizing and spreading.

Censorship is also used to block information about the nation’s past, the regime’s problems, and international affairs. Simply put, the mullahs use censorship to keep Iranians prisoners and in the Dark Ages. The people of Iran are on a “need to know basis,” and what they are told is guaranteed falsehood. Furthermore, it is known that religious schools participate in intimidating and assaulting any organization deemed critical of Islam or the Islamic Revolution.

In the future, it is highly suggested that actors such as Sean Penn should first learn that Iran’s glory and national pride is from its pre-Islamic era and not the bloody and violent Islamic Revolution of 1979. Actresses such as Ms. Bening should think twice about traveling to a nation run by a misogynistic regime. The mullahs are against women’s rights as seen through their 1979 Islamic Constitution and legal system. Iranian women were forced to adhere to hijab following the fall of the late Shah. Regardless of their faith, Iranian women have no choice in how they dress. Ms. Bening should find this lack of choice offensive in of itself. Common sense dictates that as professional “artists,” they should not visit countries where the Arts are monitored, controlled, and punished.

This is by no means defending or encouraging Hollywood’s typical lack of respect or decency when producing films. Rather, it is a mere observation that if Hollywood plays politics, it should stand by what it supports. If the mullahcracy deserves understanding, then Mr. Emmerich should have simply defended his censorship of Kaaba based on Hollywood’s sympathy for theocratic and oppressive governments, and not because he feared for his life.

Sheda Vasseghi is a regular contributor to on Iran’s Affairs.

To read original letters in the World Tribune please click here









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