Iran’s voice of dust and dirt stands up to regime


It takes a brave man to stand up to Iran’s state media and tell them to stop broadcasting his songs. But Mohammad Reza Shajarian – Iran’s beloved and acclaimed Persian classical musician – did just that following last year’s disputed presidential elections. After President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected amid allegations of voting fraud, he referred to protesters as ”dust and dirt”. Shajarian then described himself as the voice of dust and dirt, and declared he would not allow state-controlled radio and television to play his music. Eventually, they stopped. Ahmadinejad was back in the spotlight this week with his defiant address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York. His denials about the illicit nature of Iran’s nuclear ambitions prompted a walkout by a number of delegates, including the US representative. Iran matters hugely to the future peace and stability of the world, yet here in Australia we know very little about this Muslim nation, which is why it’s worth listening to this 69-year-old Iranian musician, who is touring Australia for the first time. He offers a timely and revealing insight into the thinking of Iran’s population