In a display of anti-American sentiment, controversial filmmaker Michael Moore plans to travel to Iran to attend the country's international documentary film festival, "Cinema Verite," and to allegedly "research" the country.
The fact that the Iranian regime suppresses, rather than actually celebrates free speech -- a key component of film-making -- is, evidently, of no consequence to Moore.
According to The Washington Times, Iran's Islamic news agency, Mehr News, has confirmed that Moore has requested permission to travel to the country.
And with its love of propaganda, it makes sense that the Iranian regime would embrace hosting an American who so vocally opposes his own country -- and on so many levels.
The Times' Reza Kahlili astutely notes:
Since the 1979 revolution, the Islamic regime of Iran has executed tens of thousands of Iranian youths without giving them the right to a defense. During the summer of 1988 alone, about 30,000 young people were executed and buried in mass graves because they were accused of being “mohareb” - enemies of Allah - all because they objected to the harsh rule of the clerics.
Mr. Moore should know - he should understand - that Iranian citizens have no rights. Women are subjected to flogging for failing to wear the Islamic hijab; men are beaten for drinking, even in the privacy of their home. People suffer amputation for stealing; they are stoned for adultery; and rape, torture and hanging are common for speaking out against the clerics. Thousands of Iranian girls, boys, poets, writers, activists, teachers, artists and others from every walk of life remain in Iranian prisons without the right to defend themselves. Iranian officials are routinely sanctioned for violating human rights in Iran.
So it should come as no surprise that the very film festival Moore is making a pilgrimage to endorse is subject to full censorship by the Guidance Ministry, which decides the fate of all films produced in the country.
Any films that do not pass the Ministry's litmus test -- in other words, films that promote independent thought -- are banned outright, its directors and actors imprisoned.
The Times reports that recently, a prominent Iranian filmmaker, Jafar Panahi, was sentenced to prison and banned from making movies for 20 years for supporting dissident youths who had protested Iran's fraudulent 2009 presidential elections. His wife, children and friends were also allegedly arrested:
Mr. Panahi stated in an open letter on the occasion of the 2011 Berlin International Film Festival, Berlinale (which he was barred from attending) “The reality is that they have deprived me of thinking and writing for twenty years; however, I cannot avoid dreaming that in twenty years the inquisition and intimidation will be abolished. … They have condemned me to 20 years of silence. However, in my dreams, I scream for a time when we can tolerate each other, respect each other’s opinions, and live for each other.”
Mr. Moore fails to understand what endorsing evil does. He fails to understand that any affirmation, any recognition of the radicals ruling Iran is a direct insult to all the Iranians who have paid dearly with their blood to have what Mr. Moore takes for granted.
Kahlili might have summed it up best when he suggested that instead of serving as a propaganda tool to embolden the Iranian regime by denigrating the U.S., Moore should make a documentary about the injustices committed by the regime and give a platform to those in the country who desperately seek freedom and democracy.