IRAN: Famous singer Shajarian decries ‘Language of Fire’


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Iran is all abuzz about a new politically charged song (MP3 excerpt) by Mohammad Reza Shajarian, Iran’s greatest living master of traditional Persian music.

Singer Shajarian is adored by people of all ages and social classes and even in the Diaspora. Even state-owned television and radio broadcast his music.


Recently he emerged as vocal supporter of opposition figurehead Mir Hossein Mousavi. He was photographed flashing the ‘victory’ sign that has become a symbol of resistance to the disputed reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The 68-year-old even protested that state-run television was abusing his music by playing it in propaganda films aimed at promoting the idea of Iran’s elections as clean and glorious. He threatened to sue. The state broadcaster buckled.

His latest song, ‘Language of Fire,’ clears up any doubt about his political sympathies.

In the song, written by the late poet Fereydoun Moshiri, Shajarian seems to be speaking directly to the plainclothes Basiji militiamen and security forces pummeling protesters during recent unrest, urging them to put their weapons down and join him for a chat.

‘Lay down your gun,’ he sings. ‘Come, sit down, talk, hear. Perhaps the light of humanity will get through to your heart too.’

Below is a quick translation of the lyrics of ‘Language of Fire’:

Lay down your gun,As I hate this very abnormal shedding of blood.The gun in your hand speaks the language of fire and iron,But I, before this fiendish tool,Have nothing but, the language of the heart,The heart full to the brim with love for you,Who are in love with the enemy.The language of fire and iron is the game of fury and bloodshed.It is the language of Genghis Khan.Come, sit down, talk, hear.Perhaps the light of humanity will get through to your heart, too.My brother, if you want me, sit down for a brotherly chat.Lay down your gun,So that the human-killer leaves your bodyHow much do you know about the ethics of humanity?If God has bestowed the soul, why then you take it away?Why, in the twilight of ignorance,Do you want to roll and wrap up your brethren in dirt and blood,The God-given soul?Let’s suppose you are right, my brother, in seeking and telling right and correct things.But we ought to not seek even righteous things through the fire-spewing gun.If it once happens that the pangs of conscience bother you,Then lay down your gun.

-- Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran and Borzou Daragahi in Beirut