Shirvin Hajipour’s “Barai” has become an anthem for Iranian protests

The unofficial anthem The ongoing anti-government protests in Iran are an emotional song, with lyrics pieced together from tweets from protesters risking their lives to challenge the country’s ruling clerics.

The song begins “Because of the dancing in the streets.” In Iran, dancing in public is prohibited.

“Because every time we were afraid to kiss our lovers.”

“Because of the empty pocket’s embarrassment.”

“Because of the longing for a normal life.”

Other words call corruption, censorship, gender discrimination, environmental degradation and national tragedies, such as the imminent extinction of the Persian leopard and the downing of a Ukrainian airliner in 2020, in what the Iranian government said was military accident.

The song concluded by saying, “Because of the woman, life, freedom,” echoing a popular protest chant:Azadi. ” freedom.

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Iranian singer Shirvin Hajipour Publish the song “Barai”. — which means “for” or “because” — to his Instagram account on September 28. It has garnered more than 40 million views, according to Amin Sabati, a London-based cyber security expert, by the time authorities forced Hajpour to take him down and arrested him the next day.

The song, according to the Iranians interviewed by the Washington Post, gives a voice to me The sentiment that sparked widespread outrage and the largest anti-government protests the country has seen in years, which began with the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody in Tehran last month, has become widespread. It is a frustration that unites Iranians who are sick of extreme poverty, oppression, gender segregation and human rights abuses.

Hajpour, 25, was released on bail Tuesday, according to Iranian state media. His lawyer did not respond to requests for comment. In an Instagram post after his release, Hajpour thanked his supporters and expressed his love for Iran, vowing not to leave.

By then, Baray had become ubiquitous across Iran and internet platforms.

Hajipur’s arrest came as part of a brutal crackdown on weeks of protests. Authorities have killed more than 130 protesters, according to rights groups, arrested and injured thousands more, and cut or slowed internet access in much of the country.

“The song puts decades of depression, pain and anger into simple words,” said Sarah, a 32-year-old fashion designer in Tehran who runs her business on Instagram. She only mentioned her first name, for her own safety.

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Sarah said she hears Hajipour’s “lullab of hope” everywhere: it is played on cell phones at protests, cars blown up, pedestrians sing in the streets, screams from rooftops, chant in schools and offices, streamed through social media.

‘Shervin arrested’ [has] It made the song more popular because the injustice caused by this act angered people,” Said Suzangar saidAnd the The 34-year-old is the managing director of a technology company in Tehran. “This song is eternal and the anthem of the revolution, and no matter how hard the regime tries to prevent it from being played, you will hear it more.”

Suzanger said Monday that he and his colleagues were spending most of their time either protesting — an experience, he said, seemed like “rope jumping” — or searching for friends in custody.

“My generation could not live freely in this country,” Suzangar said. “I want future generations to be excused from the psychological and emotional torture we lived through.”

He told The Post on Monday that two of his friends had just been arrested for “spreading information about the protests,” and that he did not know their whereabouts.

On Tuesday morning, Tehran time, Suzanger said he had been summoned for questioning. Stop replying to text messages.

“This time, small concessions won’t work,” he said on Monday, referring to chants calling for an end to clerical rule. “Now, all these different groups in Iran are one, and they have one demand.”

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Each wave of political change in Iran has been defined by songs, slogans and mainstream media, said Najjar Motahedeh, professor of Middle Eastern studies and film and media studies at Duke University. During the major protests in 2009, sparked by election fraud, Twitter and the hashtag became a major mobilizing tool in Iran and abroad.

Despite online repression, Hajipur’s song was able to “move quickly and change people’s hearts and minds,” an important step even if it didn’t fundamentally change the political system, she said.

“Even if these protests die tomorrow, the Hajipur song will continue to be a form of defiance and will be heard at every upcoming protest,” said Holly Dagres, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank.

Some of Barai’s lines echo live cheers in the streets.

“Because of my sister, your sister, our sister,” Hajpour sings, referring to Amini, the woman whose death, in police custody who had held her for an alleged violation of Iran’s strict dress code for women, sparked protests.

“As for the ruins of poorly built houses,” other lines say, referring to May collapse A poorly constructed 10-storey commercial building in Khuzestan Province, southwest Iran. The disaster left the country in a state of grief and fueled weeks of anti-government and anti-corruption protests.

Tina, a 29-year-old from Iran’s Khuzestan province who lives in Tehran, who only gave her first name, said one line — “forced heaven,” the strictly enforced Islamic law — resonated even more.

“This one signifies all the years of oppression, violence and humiliation that we women in Iran live in, forcing us to follow rules we don’t believe in,” she said.

Tina said that she works for a private company, and that she and her colleagues play “Barai” several times a day.

In recent weeks, while attending the protests, she said she felt a strong sense of strength and unity. But she said she was heartbroken because Iran’s leaders are using violence to combat the unrest.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, made his first public comments on Monday, mocking protesters as agents of the West and “Thugs, thieves and extortionists.When protests erupted in 2019, due to rising fuel prices, the government shut down the internet for a period of 12 days. Hundreds, according to other estimates, more than a thousandpeople died.

“We are defenseless, no one cares about us but ourselves,” Tina said. “Most of the victims are young people… We are fighting this battle alone and with all our might.”

“All Bray She talks about the pain and frustration that Iranians are experiencing.”

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