I was flipping channels on my Telstar Satellite TV receiver, and suddenly came across a silhouette of a Mullah playing an electronic saxophone among images of fall tree leaves turning color from Green! I had to stop — it was intriguing and provocative.
The Mullah was playing with a roll of toilet paper on his head, and white toilet paper wrapped around his forehead to look like a turban! And wearing a bathrobe simulating a Mullah's coverall! A bearded “AyaToilet”!
To make it more interesting, the caption in the corner introduced the video as follows: “New Colors from Green, Artist – Kh. Kh. Kh., the AyaToilets, with an Album titled-The Islamic KluKluxKlan, Sending Iran Down the Toilet.”
First I thought it was a joke, then I figured it was some sort of political comedy, and suddenly it occurred to me that it could actually be a powerful concept. After all 60% of Iran's population is under 21. What is the best way to convey a message of change? How else might they get inspired to take to the streets? Music might do it.
But the concept in my opinion, has more global application, beyond Iran's youth. How about connecting with the powers-that-be in the West and convey the realities of the regime in Iran, in a way that's never been done before? Instead of simple cold lobbying, that so far has not worked, how about employing a music video to send the message? It could also be used to connect with ordinary Americans or Europeans.
The beauty of this approach is that there was no singing — simple music and images to convey a message. A very global message, without any need for language.
Remember that even after the Mullahs get thrown out of power, Iranians will have another battle to fight. We'll have to fight for global respect, after 25 years of negative news and images. Maybe by placing an “Ayatoilet's” image amidst some 'western sounding' music – with a provocative caption – we might be able to establish cultural connection. The rest of the world might understand that Iranians too hate these “Ayatoilets”.
I am presuming that Kh. Kh. Kh. stands for Iran's theocratic leadership: Khomeini, Khamenei, Khatami. Maybe Kh. Kh. R. (named similarly to KKR, the aggressive Wall Street takeover firm) would have been more appropriate — since Rafsanjani has been an equal culprit in Iran's theocratic takeover, and subsequent demise. But, to include Khatami as an “Ayatoilet” now seems appropriate given the stunt he pulled twice pretending to be a reformer… and buy more time for the theocracy.
Maybe Kh. Kh. Kh. is short for “khoonkhar” (bloodthirsty) or “Khar” (stupid) or “Khabiss” (evil) or “Khaaen” (traitor)… frankly some more Kh's come to mind!
But, anyway it's a good analogy to compare them to the Theocratic Christian leadership of the KKK (the KluKluxKlan). They both profess ultraconservative, controversial perspectives from their religious base — views not held by the vast majority of more moderate Christians or Moslems in their nations.
Also, they both seek to radicalize their followers and polarize their countries. They both operate from positions of bigotry and hatred against Jews and others … and use dubious religious notions to rationalize their hatred — and squash oppositions. And maybe with this analogy, those that support this regime in the West might finally understand who they have been dealing with for the past 25 years.
And, what a great title: New colors from Green! That a bunch of leaves changing color can symbolize the eventual death of the “Greens” (mullahs in Iran) — without any drama, blood or tears. A simple point — like leaves, their time will come, they will change colors and then fall.
And then, consider the notion of using an album title to make a broader statement. Not since the '70s Punk Era and the Sex Pistols have I seen provocative titles like this. Throwing a whole nation down the toilet … indeed! That sounds about right. What a humiliation for the Mullahs and very creative!
So I was struck. I immediately tried to find out more on the KhKhKh/Ayatoilets. I looked for a web site — no luck. I wanted to buy the music album, so I looked it up on the Web – no luck. Then I called Rang-a-Rang TV to learn more.
Rang-A-Rang told me that they received the video anonymously through a friend of the group, but that the friend did not reveal the identity of the group members. But that Rang-A-Rang did talk at length with the person that delivered the tape.
Apparently the group fear retaliation from the regime in Iran… even here in the US. After a few nudges from me, Rang-A-Rang told me that they might be able to arrange an interview, but they would only do that if a “major organization” needed to contact them. And I suppose, as a private individual I didn't qualify. Rang-A-Rang also told me that they might sell KhKhKh's music album directly from their station — so I ordered my copy of the album just in case.
They also told me that they had a complete series of video releases from the KhKhKh to broadcast. Two more combinations of music with nature (one based on oceans and rivers, and another one based on run down farm houses… ). And a fourth video about the death of Princess Diana – about the public's fascination with her relationship with Dodi Fayed (a Muslim) – which led to the devastating media hunt for their pictures and their deaths. The group's purpose, they said, was to use music videos to make political statements.
Basically, the KhKhKh artists stand for Islamic reform along with the separation of religion from politics. They seem to be taking positions against the devouring of Islam from both inside the Islamic community by religious leaders and from outside the Islamic community by the media in the West. Rang-a-Rang was clear that the Group in no way want to put down Islam or humiliate Muslims – but to embarrass those that have been systematically dragging Islam and Muslims down – towards a new more moderate phase – hoping to initiate a new Iranian era like Europe's renaissance in the 17th century.
Islamic fanatics have banned music broadcasts in many places and called any music anti-islamic doctrine. So the very fact that this message is being conveyed in a musical context provides another push towards moderation – or shall we say Islamic reevaluation or reform. Rang-a-Rang mentioned that the KhKhKh artists are very sensitive to a new popular Iranian concern that might be inhibiting another popular revolution against the Mullahs.
It is that the prospect of significant political change in Iran would lead to a new wave liberalization leading to Iran's moral disintegration and that Iran's youth will then turn against religion. This in turn would dramatically increase crime, prostitution, pornography, gambling, drug use, etc., catalyzed by western culture: i.e. Rock Music and images of a half-naked Britney Spears or P. Diddy or indeed some of the current crop of Iranian Pop stars in the US that beam into Iran via Satellite. No one in Iran wants freedom at the expense of further Iranian disintegration.
So, the KhKhKh artists believe that one way to lead change is to demonstrate that in fact there can be responsible presentations of both rock music and video images — without Britney dancing half naked. To suggest that in fact freedom can be exercised responsibly to assist Iranians with their fight for freedom. And that Western culture is not totally represented by negative images — and there is an opportunity for a cultural or political blend to help the nation move in a positive direction.
In summary, I caught only a few minutes of the video, but it has had a profound impact on me. It provoked so much thought and action… Powerful indeed … after a few minutes of a music video!
Hey music can change the world. Stay tuned … they said.