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Obituary

Denying Delkash
Being a woman in a Muslim country is hard enough, let alone a female singer in a country like Iran

Pullniro
September 4, 2004
iranian.com

Delkash left us. Thanks to internet and satellite technology the sad news struck me in the afternoon just a few hours after her passing. It was a single-sentence news. The great diva of all time left her fans alone. No single piece of news in Iranian media inside the country though.

I remember a few years ago I was changing channels on my newly-bought satellite receiver when I  got to PRT (Portugal Radio and TV). There was a huge gathering for the funeral of a lady. Some old singer called Amellia had died and the whole country was mourning. All the streets were jammed with cars and wreathes of flowers and the heads of the country sent messages and...

Nothing like that for Delkash. If she had been a man maybe there would have been small news somewhere but no chance of that for female artist in Iran today.

Things were no different on Los Angeles-based mass media either. Only a few of them mentioned her demise in their news program and a few talked about it for a few minutes. Some stations were too busy broadcasting four-letter-words to get the time to mention it and some were too worried about their upcoming concerts in Dubai and the slow sale of tickets to notice these things. Oddly enough the behavior of the Iranian media abroad is very much similar with the Islamic Republic broadcasting in many ways.

Delkash has gone and now we can only seek traces of her through the old records and tapes. Remembering her songs brings tears to my eyes. In the past two days I have been listening to her songs over and over again, trying to decipher what she meant to tell us in them. Although I have always been a very strong person and rarely cried but her innocence and loneliness overwhelms me when I remember her singing "GHEEL O GHAAL-E KOUDAKI BARNAGARDAD DARIGHAA".

As a fan and as a music lover I never forgive myself. There is a nagging feeling deep inside me that tells me I have never appreciated her -- her art and her efforts. Did we really notice her while she was still around? What exactly did we Iranians do in return for her 30 years of hard work and 25 years of isolation in her house? Nothing. We never see these things until we lose the beloved artist. What had she done to spend a quarter of a century in seclusion and away from the stage? Did anybody of us ever object to this situation?

Don't forget that we and our fathers decided to have an Islamic Revolution 25 years ago and put an end to her career. What crime had she committed to be labeled as corrupt and stay home for the rest of her life? Where in Islam can you find such instructions? Female singers are persecuted in their graves too. I have heard stories about the objection of mullahs to the burial of the late singer Mahvash in a mosque in Rey.

A few years ago I went to Emamzadeh Taher in Karaj and tried to find the grave of Pouran among other artists there but I was told that some mullah ordered the engraving on her tombstone to be scratched beyond recognition. Don't say it is all the fault of the Islamic regime. No. It is OUR fault for accepting the horrible conditions we live in.

But my complaint goes much farther than that. I think she was a very lonely woman long before the revolution happened in 1979. I feel her solitude when she sings "NA KASI AAYAD BE BARAM, NA ZE KAS BAASHAD KHABARAM..." As if trying to communicate the depth of her loneliness with us. You can find such feelings in most of her songs. Being a woman in a Muslim country is hard enough, let alone a female singer in a country like Iran.

When the artists are alive they are ignored, but when they die they suddenly become valuable. Maybe I am wrong but I  think we as Iranians should be ashamed of ourselves, for ignoring Delkash and many others, for condemning Marzieh for her political views, blaming Googoosh for not getting into politics and...

Delkash could have spent the final years of her life better than this under normal conditions, in a normal country and among normal compatriots. Yes, we are not a normal nation. We are sado-masochists who always fight and take revenge. We forget our offenses and punish others for crimes they have never committed or blame them for their private lives or political views. We send our children to slaughter-houses of regimes, be it shah or mullah, then we grieve for the rest of our lives. We try to hunt our rivals and stop their progress and kill them if we can.

Our painters die of hunger, our intellectuals rot in jails, our playwrights resort to inferior jobs to make ends meet and our divas die in poverty and loneliness. And life goes on . Another funeral, another memorial service and another goodbye to a woman who wanted to be herself but couldn't -- because of us.

See: Delkash in London: First public performance in more than 20 years

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