Being a woman in a Muslim country
is hard enough, let alone a female singer in a country like Iran
September 4, 2004
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...
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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,
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
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
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.
First public performance in more than 20 years