Friday, November 29, 2013

Balé, Ma Mitunim: Rouhani’s Own "Yes, We Can" Video

Still frame from the Iranian music video commemorating the first 100 days of President Hassan Rouhani's administration.

Riding the high of signing a breakthrough diplomatic accord with six world powers over its nuclear program after barely 100 days in office, just as he promised he would do during his remarkably successful campaign this past Spring, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is now the subject of a new music video created by his supporters and promoted by the president’s own media team.

The video, which is based upon the wildly popular “Yes, We Can” video with a celebrity cast that made the rounds online in 2008 during Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign, is similarly shot in beautiful black-and-white, expertly produced and edited, and features Iranians young and old, male and female, accompanying Rouhani’s August 3, 2013 inauguration speech set to music. Rouhani – echoed by the video’s cast – speaks of Iranian pride, of reconciliation, of faith and humility, and of Rouhani’s own political mandate. ”I feel the weight of these votes and I feel the weight of this endorsement,” he says, as the music swells. He asks god to help him be a “competent servant of the people.”

Journalist Golnaz Esfandiari reports:
The clip, which features a well-known singer and actor, Amir Hossein Modaress, was produced by Iranian documentary-maker Hossein Dehbashi, who also worked on Rouhani’s election campaign videos. Dehbashi has been quoted by Iranian media as saying that the video was created “spontaneously.”
In the clip, unprecedented for an Iranian president, people of all ages play musical instruments and sing to Rouhani’s words in Persian, but also in the languages of Iran’s minorities, including Kurdish and Arabic [also Balochi and Azeri - NS]. The clip also includes sound bites from prominent figures in Iran’s modern history including Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh and the founder of the Islamic Republic Ruhollah Khomeini.
Some featured in the video play acoustic guitar, piano, and cello, in addition to the daf and setar, traditional Persian percussion and stringed instruments, respectively. Mirroring the Obama campaign even more closely is the use of split screens and sign language, although verses from the Qur’an and the poetry of Hafez are also featured.

Entitled, Nosafar - translated as "New Voyager," or less literally, "Aspirations" – the four-and-a-half minute video "was an initiative taken by the artists (without the President’s knowledge)," as the filmmakers explain on YouTube, "to immortalize President Rouhani’s emotional speech where he expresses hope for peace, friendship and progress. Only at the later stages was the video shown to President Rouhani."

They add:
This melodic piece is the first time ever for a chorus to sing along with a formal speech by a prominent Shia cleric and high ranking Iranian politician. Featuring musical instruments on video and singing by women are prohibited by Iran’s state television. The fact that President Rouhani’s personal website decided to feature this video was a great and notable step to break this taboo and support Iranian artists.
The video begins with Rouhani saying, "Let space and opportunity be given to all Iranians who are devoted to this land. Let those who are competent serve the nation. Let their hearts be cleansed from hatred. Let conciliation replace estrangement. Let this take root," continuing, "Let us have friendship instead of animosity. Let us allow Islam with its compassionate face, Iran with its rational face, the revolution with its humane face, and the establishment, with its affecting face, continue to create epics."

The faces in the video, more than anything else, reveal an Iran greatly at odds with the sinister portrayal all too often seen in the Western mainstream media: an Iran full of hope and humanity, of talent and beauty, of unity and peace.

Watch it here with English subtitles:


Originally posted at Muftah.


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