A terrified young woman in a red headscarf bolts through a door into a darkened room. Chased by an angry mullah, she pulls out her phone and desperately tries to call for help, but there is no signal.
The scene could be another piece of secret video smuggled out of Iran by the kind of young activists who took to the streets in their hundreds of thousands last summer in the country’s largest protests since the Iranian Revolution. Instead it is the opening scene of a new cover of Pink Floyd’s seminal protest song “Another Brick in the Wall” which is becoming an underground anthem of resistance for those opposed to the Tehran regime.
Blurred Vision, a rock band fronted by two brothers whose family fled Iran in the late 1980s and settled in Toronto, have reworked the 1979 classic. Sepp and Sohl – the pair prefer to keep their full name secret to protect family members still in Iran – recorded the video with virtually no budget, but were helped by Babak Payami, an Iranian filmmaker who now lives in Austria and Terry Brown, one of Canada’s best-known rock producers. Spliced with footage of last year’s protests, the video is a rallying cry for Iran’s disaffected youth and culminates with an altered version of Pink Floyd’s original chorus: “Hey Ayatollah, leave those kids alone!”
“We were initially worried that people might get angry,” admits Sepp. “Hell, I’d get angry if anyone tried to top Pink Floyd. But the lyrics seemed to fit Iran so perfectly.”
The pair began by recording the song and sending it to Roger Waters, one of Pink Floyd’s founders. “We didn’t want to do it without his approval, but he emailed back right away and said: ‘From here on in, that version of the song is yours.'”
Here is the video:
There should be an international solidarity movement, connecting believers in the right of the Iranian people to freedom with their supporters, all over the world. The like-minded could find each other through music fan sites.
Instead of heavy handed campaigns to ban head scarves, popular videos like this are a good way of reminding people precisely how much freedom there is to choose whether or not to veil under a religious dictatorship.