Even though popular belief is that only Syria and Iraq are war-torn and vulnerable countries, that is not true. People live very poorly in many other countries of the Middle East and Africa, including in Iran, my country. My story is proof of that.
A large part of my life I spent making music. By profession I am a singer, an artist, and that cost me my freedom. I once sang at a celebration, songs that I wrote myself, and “someone” did not really like the text. The Iranian government alleges that I was working against the state, because in one of the texts I criticized the government, and because of that they arrested me. In prison I suffered physical and psychological abuse, and that did not change even after release because I was beaten more times by supporters of the Iranian government.
They arrested me because I criticized the government through my songs, but would you believe that, in Iran, one is not allowed to sing about love? Indeed, the government tells you what to sing! How can I accept that? How can I live in a country where democracy does not exist? In a country where one is not allowed to sing about feelings, about love, about desires … Why is it a crime to share one’s feelings with others?! Did you know that in Iran one should not dance while singing? Just stand. We cannot even sing about freedom, as they ask us exclusively for affirmative songs about the regime.
So I left. I left with my family, my younger brother and his wife and child, and we set off towards a better world with a democratic society. I do not know what awaits us. We paid a lot to smugglers to get us to Serbia, and if they open the border we will continue on our way towards Europe.
I ran away from my country as a criminal. I am guilty. I am guilty because I admit that I am an artist, that I create, sing about life, love and the truth. I do not intend to stop.
Published by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom with the support of Mikser House. The views expressed in this blog are those of the authors alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.