Publish Date : Monday 27 September 2010 - 10:23
The latest cultural headlines in the media.
Tokyo filmfest to screen Iran’s “Flamingo No.13”

Tehran Times: The Tokyo International Film Festival will be screening the Iranian film “Flamingo No.13” starring Iranian scholar and poet Shams Langerudi.

Directed by “Hamid Reza Aliqolian”, the script for the 80-minute film was written by poet Rasul Yunan who also acts in the film.

“There is a professor in the film who plays a crucial role in the plot. We felt that Master Langerudi fit the role. Also he was member of the Anahita theater troupe many years ago,” Aliqolian told the Persian service of ISNA.

“The film is about people who are exiled from their daily life in a far away place. One of the characters named Soleyman claims that he saw a flamingo with a bloody beak which belongs to distant lands,” the film’s scriptwriter and poet Rasul Yunan mentioned.

The flamingo is a symbol of overcoming the limitations existing in the place of exile. Soleyman loses his life to prove his point but his wife Tamay cannot accept his death, he mentioned.

Yunan described the film’s professor (Shams Langerudi) as the “light of the tragic story” who opposes all the injustice throughout the film.

“Flamingo No.13” will go on screen October 23 and 25 in the competition section of the festival which will be held from October 23 to 31.


Iranian Poems for Peace

Iran News: Rira Abbasi has won the Parvin E’tesami Poetry Award in 2005 and is a member of Iranian Writers’ Association and director of the Biannual International Poetry of Peace Festival since 2007. Among her works one might refer to Black Fairy of Wednesday (fiction, 2000), No More Guns for This Lori Woman (poems -2001) and Who Loves You Secretly? (poems - 2002). In addition, Abbasi has published an anthology of Iranian Peace Poetry in 2002 which was received very warmly by UNESCO and led to her appointment as director of poetry of peace festival. Maryam Ala Amjadi, an Iranian poet and translator, conducted the following interview with Rira Abbasi

Maryam Ala Amjadi: How did you come up with the idea of a Peace Poetry Festival?

Rira Abbasi (RA): My activities began in difficult circumstances from 2000. At that time everything in this country smelled of war. It took me two years to collect all the anti-war poems or peace poems from over seventy leading Iranian poets. I gave the collection of the poems to the national commission of UNESCO for translation and publication. The poems were received very warmly and it was decided that a selection would be translated and published outside the country. My anthology called “Poets of Peace” was published by Ghatreh Publication Co. in Tehran in 2000. According to some poets the book was the first artistic opposition against war by Iranian poets. I remember those days quite well because the U.S. had declared war on Iraq after invading Afghanistan and I was very much concerned with its terrible aftermath. Today a wave of false propaganda is being launched behind the curtain by arrogant powers under the pretext of fighting terrorism. It is the people who become homeless and are driven out in poverty stricken communities when a war begins. In such conditions how can people live comfortably? Founding a peace festival was not an easy task. I wanted to eliminate war and I think I have been successful to some extent. In his ‘Farewell to Arms’ Hemmingway says, “I didn’t want to write about the war. I was going to forget the war. I had made a separate peace.”

MAA: Don’t you find it rather interesting that peace movements are often voluntary?

RA: I admit that peace is voluntary but I wish it were not so. I mean peace is a sort of awareness which develops gradually but war and destruction has a devastating speed. It is cheaper to destroy than to build and pay for reconstruction by voluntary organizations. Peace requires serious training. It has a long way to go and is highly vulnerable. History has shown that no investment was ever made to support and preserve peace. It is the system of government of superpowers that makes it difficult for them to preserve peace, because real peace endangers their interests. We have great men like Mahatma Gandhi who tried to teach his countrymen to choose peace. Peace means honest combat for freedom and justice. I feel that it would be easier to achieve peace in the future because people would be closer to each other by the Internet. Today war doesn’t affect a specific region or country: it affects the whole world. In fact we are all responsible about the environment in which we live.

MAA: How many Iranian poets from within and outside the country participated in your first peace poetry festival and what countries you expect to participate in your next festival?

RA: In the first festival the majority of Iranian poets inside and outside the country participated. Interestingly enough we had lifted restrictions and guest poets also attended the festival. Our goal was to bring in more poets. I guess there were about seventy foreign poets from 16 countries including United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, United States, Japan, Albania, former Yugoslavia, Holland and several Arab countries out of which seven poets were chosen for award. The Iranian, Iraqi and Italian poets received badges of honor and Peter Jones from London won the Poetry of Peace award.

MAA: How did the Iranian literary circles react towards the Festival and how did the foreign media reflect the event?

RA: Actually every new movement needs time for the literary circles to digest and respond in a responsible manner. Fortunately the news about the Festival which we spread verbally was received warmly and well known literary figures in Iran joined our enterprise. In fact each prominent writer/poet enthusiastically contributed to the success of the Festival and the event received wide coverage in the press.

MAA: Who are the audience of peace poetry? Why did you use poetry for the Festival instead of other literary forms?

RA: Poetry of peace is not restricted to any specific class of audience. Such poems address women, men, the oppressed, victims of war and those who are concerned about human dignity. I chose poetry of peace for the Festival because I believe poetry affects people as quickly as the cinema, whereas the cost of publishing books of poems is far less than making feature films. Sometimes I compare poetry to bullets. A bullet can take a life but a good poem can breathe life. Saadi says, “All humans are of a single race. If one organ of the body is in pain, the other organs shall never have peace”

MAA: What is your opinion about the propaganda launched by the Western media against I.R. of Iran to distort its image?

RA: I think the world is poisoned by the Western media. The media, specially the television produces a sort of poison for which they have a ready antidote. The media know the extent of the damage they inflict with this poison. In such circumstances, as you have pointed out, we are aware of the fingers that point at our country, the homeland of Rumi, Hafez, Saadi, Khayyam and Cyrus the Great, as a den of trouble. Iran is a country with thousands years of civilization. No great power can deny this fact.

MAA: Many prominent Iranian poets have struggled for peace and written about peace in the past and contemporary times. Which of these poets as well as foreign ones have inspired you?

RA: We have had many luminous figures in ancient times and their work has been a subject of research by famous writers in other countries. Saadi, Khayyam, Hafez, Rumi and many other Iranian poets belong to the classical age. Among the contemporary poets Sohrab Sepehri and Ahmad Shamloo have been great peace advocates. In fact art in its various forms propagates life and hope and artists are the foremost figures who protest whenever war flares up. There are many figures in Iran and the world who have vigorously contributed to peace and freedom of speech and opposed slavery, racism, colonialism, war and violence. Among foreigners Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Jean Paul Sartre and Charles Chaplin have been zealous peace lovers.

MAA: Do you think we can invent a universal formula to eradicate war from human culture and propagate peace?

RA: When will social classes be declassified and under what rules can equality can be preserved? Are all born as equals? Does everyone enjoy good education, occupation and comfortable life? Is population growth the reason behind wars or millions must perish in order to enrich wealthy cartels? A thousand such questions rise in our minds, but the only way to get out of this stalemate is to propagate education. Is there a department in schools to teach and preach peace? How can we talk about avoiding war when computer games for children are war films Our children play with toy guns? War CDs and films are made for kids and advertised freely whereas education must start from the beginning of childhood. Under such circumstances it is impossible to omit war from human culture. We must start educating our kids to love peace and lead a meaningful life. Only such universal education can push the world towards peace.

MAA: Have you found a sponsor to translate your peace poetry anthology to other languages?

RA: Several publishers have promised to translate my anthology but few of them are willing to risk to invest in this program. I request UNESCO, who is a propagator of peace in the world, to sponsor the translation and publication of this anthology.
Story Code: 82551