Tangentially Speaking

325 – Raam Seyed-Emami (Victim of Iranian Politics / Singer Songwriter)

By June 13, 2018 September 14th, 2019 One Comment

Raam’s father was a prominent Iranian environmentalist who was arrested and interrogated for supposedly being a foreign spy. After he mysteriously died in prison, Raam and his brother decided to pressure the Iranian government for answers. Telling his story here is part of that pressure. Here’s a video of Raam and his brother, Mehran explaining their situation to Christiane Amanpour, on CNN.

Music: “The Hunter,” by King Raam.

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One Comment

  • Incredibly powerful. Thank you to Raam for having the courage to speak out. There couldn’t be a better way to honor the memory of his father.

    Chris, throughout the interview you kept asking "why do they care?" i.e. why would the Iranian government go through so much effort to try to twist the story of Raam’s family and cover their tracks, since they still gave such an iron grip on the whole nation.

    Raam’s story reminded me of a stage play I read while in college, titled "Pedro y el Capitán" (Peter and the Captain) by Mario Benedetti. The story is set in South America in the 1970s, back in the days of Operation Condor and the military dictatorships besieging countries like Chile and Uruguay. Peter is a political prisoner and the Captain is the officer in charge of making him confess, using torture tactics that would make an even CIA operative to shudder.

    The whole point of the dialogue between the two characters is the Captain’s determination to force Peter into confession, and Peter’s resistance to do so, because in the end it is clear to the audience that for the Captain, to attain that confession is the ONLY thing that makes his purpose in life to have any kind of sense: Without the confession, then the torture he enacts upon Peter is not only brutal but utterly meaningless, and there would be no justification for Peter’s suffering that could allow the Captain to keep LYING TO HIMSELF, and shield him from the blunt truth –that he is a monster.

    So I think all that charade behind Raam’s father is for the government’s elite own benefit: They need it in order to keep lying to themselves and reaffirm their will, lest they realize they have been oppressing their people for nothing.

    Raam’s story is also a good reminder of all the positive potential social platforms still possess. Lately it seems as if the West has become disenchanted with Twitter and Facebook because all of the scandals surrounding Cambridge Analytica, Roseanne’s racist tweets and all of that crap; yet we forget that it was through Twitter and Facebook that the Arab Spring became possible, and that social media has the power to shine a light on the even the most obscure subjects, and make the whole world to take notice. That scares the shit out of the powers that be –and maybe (putting on my conspiracy tin foil hat for a moment) they decided to wreck these platforms in order to coax people to walk away from them, instead of becoming empowered by them like they should.

    Lastly I wanted to profess my admiration for the Iranian cartoonist Mana Neyestani: An artist who has also suffered the repression of the government, and who instead of rasing his voice in defiance like Raam, he raises his pencil:

    http://www.cartooningforpeace.org/en/dessinateurs/mana-neyestani/

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