Iranians in Australia

There are almost 34,500 Iran-born people counted in the last Australian Census in 2011. Most arrived in the early 1980s as a result of the Iranian Revolution that began in 1979.

The largest proportion of these early arrivals are highly educated Baha’i who were granted special asylum status under our humanitarian migration program. Later in the 1990s arrivals have been predominantly Shi’a Muslim and they largely came as under the skilled migration program. A sizeable proportion of Iranians have migrated since 2001.

Iranian Australians are incredibly interesting sociologically as they are a relatively upwardly mobile group who outperform many other refugee groups who arrived since 1980s. The early arrivals who settled in Sydney in particular do well along many socioeconomic measures.

In the first two pictures, a group of Iranian-Australians in Melbourne are happily chanting in Persian about Iran’s greatness in soccer. In English they are talking about Australian scores in sports.

Iran’s Rebel Poet

Before knowing something about Western music, I was trying to just base the lyrics on old Persian poets like Hafiz, Rumi. They were living 700 years ago, 800 years ago… When your approach is formalistic, you only think about reading, not concepts. Conceptually, most of these don’t work for the modern age. That’s why I started to switch their concepts to our age.

Mohsen Namjoo, “Iran’s Rebel Poet,” is based in the USA as he is unable to return and play his music in his native Iran. While on a European tour in 2009, Namjoo was sentenced to five years imprisonment for citing verses of the Koran with music. This is forbidden in Islamic law in Iran.

This is an interesting interview with SBS News.

Persian Cinema

Iranian film makers talk of the perils of their craft ahead of the Persian film festival in Sydney. This clip touches on issues of diaspora and challenging stereotypes of what it means to be “Persian”.

‘”Every year, we have so many films getting produced that are seen internationally but are banned within Iran. Quite incredibly, many get a cinema release [in Iran] for a week but then get banned when the subject [that the script] was referring to is seen on the screen. Our filmmakers are doing an amazing job of keeping their voice.”

‘Palangi is quick to stress, however, that it would be happier for all involved if the censorship did not exist. “I want it to be clear that I am not saying that the restrictions have improved the quality of our cinema! Had the restrictions not been in place, I think we would have flourished a lot more.”

By SBS News Australia.

The power and danger of words: Chinese artist indicted for writing a poem

Sui-Lee Wee reports on Reuters that Chinese artist-activist Zhu Yufu, aged 60, has been indicted on subversion charges for a poem he wrote one year a go. The poem is titled ‘It’s time’. It was published online. Here is one verse published in Reuters:

It’s time, Chinese people!

The square belongs to everyone

the feet are yours

it’s time to use your feet and take to the square to make a choice.

Continue reading The power and danger of words: Chinese artist indicted for writing a poem