Don’t send me back to Iran

Having managed to recently finish reading the graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (I’m not a fan of graphic novels, I must confess), I became quite fascinated with the rich history of Iran, previously known as Persia. At its peak, the Persian Empire first under Cyrus the Elder and then Darius the Great, was the largest empire in history.

Having survived invasions by the Greeks, Arabs, Turks and Mongols in its 6000-year history, it could have still been a great country, after having lost Empire status. But it all came apart in 1979 with the Iranian Revolution when it became an Islamic Republic. The events leading up to and after is described quite poignantly from a personal perspective by Satrapi in Persepolis, which incidentally was made into a film which I  enjoyed more than the novel.


Persepolis (Wikimedia Commons)

If it had survived, the City of Persepolis which was built by Darius the Great, could easily have been one of the Seven Wonders of the World, displacing one of the incumbents. Who would not want to live in a country hosting such a great city?

Extract: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Extract: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Far too many people it would seem. Marjane herself was coerced into leaving by her parents while still quite young, after having witnessed and being subjected to the horrors of war with Iraq and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism after the Iranian Revolution. While she did return briefly after a few years studying in Europe, she eventually left permanently for France.

And another…

Ramin Forghani is an Iranian who has been studying for the last two years for his Masters Degree in Environmental Engineering in Glasgow, Scotland. While there he founded the Iranian Atheists Association, became the vice chairman of the Scottish Secular Society, and is the chairman of Ex-Muslims Scotland. Yes, another magnificent apostate!

Extract: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Extract: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Ramin is appealing his rejection by the Court of Session for asylum. He feels, quite justifiably that his life is at risk if he is returned to Iran. He cites the case of Soheil Arabi who was sentenced to death for the grossly unjust law of blasphemy in Iran. And just last month the BBC reported that six Iranians were sentenced to a year in prison and 91 lashes for (wait for it!) dancing with the opposite sex who were not wearing headscarves, to Pharrell Williams’ song Happy.


I’m no fan of pop music and listening to Pharrell Williams should be punishable. Six lashes would have been quite adequate (just kidding), but unless you’re gay, who the fuck do you dance with? And this bullshit about mandated scarf wearing is just plain outrageous. Modern Iran is definitely not a place to be.

I sincerely wish that the powers that be, grant Ramin Forghani his wish to remain in Scotland. Seriously, bigoted Iran does not deserve such an outstanding citizen.

Mind you, they kept it Simple

South Africa has long been starved of international music acts of really good quality, but over recent years they’ve been trickling in.

However, there are far too many acts coming in-between that cater for the indiscriminate masses; the likes of Rihanna, Chris Brown, Lady Gaga, Kanye West and Justin Bieber. I wouldn’t waste good money on these. No, it’s better spent on good wine and Bourbon, while listening to real class on the jukebox.

This weekend I got to see Simple Minds at Carnival City which is a fair trek from where I live; fortunately I had the company of two lovely ladies. Now I’ll admit to being no big fan of Simple Minds, but they are a class act. The Scottish rock band led by Jim Kerr, formed in Glasgow in 1977 and released around 16 albums by 2009. Yeah they’re old, but they still have what it takes.

Their first set at Carnival City contained mostly songs that I didn’t recognize, although there were many in the all-seater crowd that stood up, danced and chimed along. After the break they belted out some of the hits I was more accustomed to, which included Don’t You Forget About Me and Love Song.


The stage and lighting were minimalist, which I liked. No video walls and fancy pyrotechnics which most of the big bands use these days. I think the band felt that their music needed to do all the work, which it did. I did find some of the bright stage lights placed behind the band on stage a bit disconcerting as it made it difficult to see the musicians clearly. Maybe that was supposed to be the effect they wanted, but it did make taking photographs almost impossible. (The one above is about the only decent shot I got)

Kerr saved the best songs for the encore and closed with the classic hit Alive and Kicking. But that was not it; he did one or two songs thereafter which I don’t really remember that clearly. Oh damn the wine and beers..