Mr. Sean Penn be careful not to fall from the roof like 'Hassani' did!
It was in news that Mr. Sean Penn, as a reporter for San Francisco Chronicle had traveled to Iran to cover the 'Election'. It was also reported that after visiting the 'Awesome' and 'Enemy Destroyer' lines of 'Friday Prayers' in Tehran, he was taken to meet with similar 'Awesome' and 'Enemy Destroyer' lines of actors and actresses of Iranian Cinema. It has been said that Mr. Sean Penn - the famous American actor is also one of the opponent of 'War'.
In his travel to Iran, one thing that had occupied my mind was the 'address' that he had gone to, and the speech that Mr. Penn had delivered to the individuals of cinema section of religious and fascist government of Iran. That 'address' and his speech revealed that this 'travel' was not to obtain information to file a 'report', as it is common around the world; on the contrary, it was for a specific stand for a specific person. With these differences that unlike Mrs. Christine Amanpour, neither Mr. Penn father's wealth was given back to him as a 'gift' from Mollahs, nor like 'BBC', he is not a supporter and speaker for the fascist Iranian government.
For many years, under the title of 'Reporter' and 'News Agency', Mrs. Christine Amanpour and BBC knowingly have been partners with the criminal Mollahs. But, fortunately neither Mr. Penn's father is an Iranian, nor he works for such an infamous News Agency as BBC. Therefore, neither I have the intention of accusing him of any thing, nor this kind of 'Accusation' would stick to Mr. Penn. Yet, my question is this: Mr. Penn, if you are against 'War' for its human casualties, then way did you end up with cinema section of a government that in the time of war with Iraq used thousands of young kids to run over mine fields and blow themselves up to detonate mines and clear the fields for its regular army? Using these tactics around the same time they could have stopped the war, and with the help of the whole world, they could have received war reparation and take back their previously occupied land! But, instead they sacrificed lives of thousands and thousands of 'young' Iranians for their warmonger desires.
Of course, those who are working within the government cinema framework, not only did not protest - like you didn't - on the contrary, for 'money', 'fame', and 'awards', they closed their eyes on mangled bodies of those children and teenagers, and with the budget from the same government and for the benefit of the same government, they made war epic movies.
Mr. Penn, if you were in Iran at that time, as an artist, what would have you done? I am sure you either would have protested it, or therefore would have 'paid' for it dearly, or because of atmosphere of intimidation and fear of torture and execution, you could have not declared your opinion and at least would have stayed silent and not cooperated with the government cinema. But, Iranian artists did not do any of the things you would have done. They even did not leave the country like tens of other artists did, to raise their objection and shout their protest against this government and its cinema, abroad.
Mr. Penn, since you are against 'War', I mentioned it in a few lines above, otherwise one can write many books about the war crimes and atrocities of this regime. I believe it is not just War that kills people. The time that this government executed thousands and thousands of political prisoners, in a span of a few days back in 1989, those artists whom you shook their hands, not only stayed silent and not only with movie making tried to adorn the regime, some of them worked as interrogators and interrogated the government opposition in their prison cells. Mr. Mohsen Makhmalbaf - the famous director in Iran Cinema -used to use whips to force the tortured political prisoners to play roles in his movies against their will and in roles and characters opposite of their believes. Mr. Sean Penn, were you ready to be a famous director as Makhmalbaf, back then? Or, would you have protested 'oppression' and 'insult' to humanity? If as a film artist you were faced a government that with all its national 'wealth' at its disposal, has wide spread poverty, and has plundered so much that impoverished and indigent people have to sell their body organs to obtain for the most basic necessities, then what would you have done? Would you have 'applauded' that government? Would you have made movies? Would have accepted 'International' awards? Would you have given your awards to Iran's Presidents as gifts? Or, like Abbas Kiarostamie would have sent friendly letters to the criminal president candidates and would have campaign for one or the other?
As an artist, what would you have done, when faced with existence of tremendous crimes, killings and poverty? I am sure whatever you would have done, you would have not supported such a government and its presidents; unlike Kiarostami, Bahman Ghobadi, Tahmineh Millani, Majid Majidi, and others who have.
Unfortunately Mr. Penn, you as an artist who is against war, shook hands of those who are using their 'art' to 'adorn' this religious-fascist government of Iran. In reality, this crowd who call themselves cinema artists, in exchange for money and awards (and followed fame), have one and only one duty, to decorate and adorn the anti human face of this regime, to fool the public opinion and people such as yourself.
Shouldn't an artist be against 'killing' of humans, against insult to 'reverence' of humanity not only by war, even by mass execution of political prisoners, by selling ones' body organs, or by many 'self burnings' due to unbearable living conditions…? Or, should he or she vote 'Yes' to these massacres? You have shook hands with those who on different occasions, not only by means of movie making, but in news conferences, by letters and articles have supported the "Leader's" wishes and have said 'Yes' to the strengthening of the pillars of this brutal government.
Mr. Penn, if you are truly against killing of humans and against insult to humanity, for shaking hands with those who are regime's 'makeup artists', wash your hands as soon as possible, and don't allow the Iranian government to use you as it uses them. The incorrect 'address' that you went to, was your presence in Iran.
Wash your hands with correcting the 'address'. The correct address is going to those artists who are against all 'Wars', be it between Iran and Iraq, US against Afghanistan, and US against Iraq… Go to those artists who are worry for human life being 'wasted', and as a show of protest and objection, have refused and have spitted on all money and fame and awards that they would have gotten, if they had gone under the 'flag' of this fascist regime. Some of those artists make clandestine movies inside Iran. Some live abroad in exile. Generally, they live modestly at a minimum. They have come to terms with, and work at jobs which have nothing to do with their artistic professions, to be able to declare their opposition and objection to Iran's government anti human behaviors.
Many years ago, I tried and started the foundation for 'Underground Cinema' in Iran. I have made a few clandestine films in Iran and have edited them abroad, which have been shown at film festivals in US, Canada, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Australia. I have tried to introduce Iran's Underground Cinema everywhere. In Iran, there are a group of artists who are making clandestine films about 'self burning', 'teenage suicide', buying and selling 'children', selling young girls in the sex markets of neighboring countries by the government gangs, also student movement, teachers and workers protests against the government… They are in constant danger of getting arrested and being put in jail and tortured.
In Tehran, the same city that you visited 'Friday Pray', 150 kids die on streets due to extreme poverty, every month. On the average, 100 people die either by 'self burning' or 'suicide', every day. While the government gangs profit 2 billion dollars annually from selling underage -young girls in the sex market of Arab countries. These are some of statistics that regime's newspapers now and then confess to some of what is going on in Iran.
My every effort is to help those who are involved in the Underground Cinema in Iran to be able to produce the above mentioned documentary films, because unlike those in film industry whom you shook hands with, they do not have the luxury of having government budget, equipment and support. These artists, inside Iran or in exile, face a lot of difficulties in making a documentary or producing a film. But, they have strong motivation and great determination. Their motivation is to have democracy and respect for human rights in their society.
In conclusion, Mr. Sean Penn, please allow me to end my letter to you by re-telling an Iranian story: One day, a mother who was doing her daily work in the middle of her backyard, saw her very young son is playing on the roof. Her son's name was 'Hassani'. Every time Hassani got close to the edge of the roof, for fear of her son falling down, she shouted "Hassani, back off or you are going to fall"! This getting close to the edge and mother's shouting to 'back off' continued for several times. Poor Hassani backed off so much that he fell down from the other side of the roof into the neighbor's yard!
Now, in putting distance between yourself and the 'Neo-Cons' of your county, who are 'War Propagandists', I hope you don't back off so much to fall into the yard of 'Religious- Fascist' Iranian government!