The Backstage

This blog (2014-2015), The Backstage, is the fourth activity of “Shiva: Struggles against Censorship in Iran” project. The Backstage presents a series of original analysis and anecdotes by various journalists, artists, lawyers, and civil society actors at large with respect to current events and past experiences surrounding freedom of expression in Iran.

The name, “backstage” symbolizes the freedom that has been pushed to underground scenes and behind closed curtains of theatre stages in today’s Iran. Even when sidelined, the quest for freedom of expression continues to be at play in the backstage of auditoriums, and the society at large. Even when considered illegal, many courageous Iranian citizens continue to express their dream for a society in which they can freely express themselves. This blog, The Backstage, is the story of all of those unstoppable struggles for freedom of expression in Iran, and beyond.

Sheikh San’an in Love (Part II) by Habib Farahzadi

The fault of Sheikh San’an was not that he drank alcohol, burnt books or ate ham. His fault, his sin, was that he lost his heart to love, that he fell in love. His sin was that he worshipped an idle. His idle was not godly, and was made of human substance. His idle was from soil, and not of divine soul. Thus, Sheikh San’an was undoubtedly a criminal, the embodiment of the devil, in this realm. He was to pay for his sin. He lost his reputation to love. He endured it all, as once he discovered love there was no way back. He became myrmidon of love. We are all this way! Or, else there is no point in being a human.

“Sheikh San’an in Love (Part I)” by Habib Farahzadi

I want to write about love not as a concept. Instead, I will write about numerous blames that our famous pious Sheikh San’an underwent for being in love. Our story is about an old man in love, a wise man, who had enjoyed the followership of many throughout the years. He was a sheikh who was notorious for his piousness and devotion. Prior to falling in love he had overstepped no tradition at all. Yet, one day, whether asleep or awake, sober or intoxicated, he dreamt of worshiping an idle. He set out to go to Ancient Rome and to find his own idle. When he finally arrived in Rome and glanced over his idle, he fell in love in an instance. His faith was shaken up. Infidelity took over his heart, as faith was no friend to love, and as sinful lovers have no choice but to indulge in infidelity till eternity and beyond.

“Why do we write this blog?” by Mehrangiz Kar

In the past one hundred years of Iranian contemporary socio-political history, we have struggled with censorship and the necessities of each time and era. While busy with going around all forms of censorship, we have altogether forgotten to acknowledge and appreciate our personal and collective resilience and persistence to produce arts and culture against all odds.


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  • © Siamak Pourzand Foundation, 2014