While Sunday night's Oscars were full of political speeches, blue ribbons, and major announcement gaffs, there were also those who skipped the event to make a statement on US politics. Iranian film director, Asghar Farhadi revealed in January that he would not be attending the Academy Awards due to Trump’s controversial executive order on immigration and refugee status. Farhadi said in a statement:
“I hereby express my condemnation of the unjust conditions forced upon some of my compatriots and the citizens of the other six countries trying to legally enter the United States of America and hope that the current situation will not give rise to further divide between nations.”
The Iranian director stood by his word, and during the award's ceremony when his film, “The Salesman,” won the Best Foreign Language Film, Farhadi was not there to accept the Oscar. Instead, a surrogate was presented the award and read aloud a letter sent by Farhadi. The Letter Read:
It’s a great honor to be receiving this valuable award for the second time. I would like to thank the members of the academy, my crew in Iran, my producer, Cohen Media, Amazon and my fellow nominees in the foreign film category.
I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight. My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations whom have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S.
Dividing the world into the “us” and “our enemies” categories creates fear, a deceitful justification for aggression and war. These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries, which have themselves been victims of aggression.
Filmmakers can turn their cameras to capture shared human qualities and break stereotypes of various nationalities and religions. They create empathy between us and others. An empathy that we need today more than ever.
The letter was received with resounding applause both at the end of the letter and when Farhadi called the executive order “inhumane.”
The irony of this stance is that Farhadi, and those who applauded his letter, have ignored the inhumane and atrocious acts against Iranian citizens due to their belief in a Sharia law based political system.
Iranian laws are openly anti-Semitic and anti-Western culture, often publically calling for the annihilation of Israel and America. Iran, and other middle eastern countries that rule by Sharia law, also regularly execute Christians, apostates (those who renounce their Muslim faith) and homosexuals for these are seen as criminal acts. Journalists and non-Muslim’s are also commonly jailed stifling freedom of speech and religion.
Iran is also known for its harsh punishments and public executions. Iran often uses amputation and whippings as retribution to lawbreakers who commit such crimes as theft, consumption of alcohol, and “lesbianism.” Their criminal executions are commonplace and consist of using public forums to eliminate criminals and dissidents by means of a firing squad, beheading, hanging, stoning and throwing people from great heights, like the top of tall buildings.
There is also the aspect of “Honor Killings’ that allow families to kill members of their family due to disrespect. For example, sexual intercourse outside of marriage is an offense with the sentence of death, no matter if it was consensual or not. The atrocities done to women under Sharia law are also largely ignored.
All of these examples of ‘inhumane’ treatment were conveniently left out of Farhadi’s letter and ignored by many in Hollywood.