It couldn’t have happened to a nicer director, a nicer actress, or a nicer nation.
It couldn’t have happened at a better, more urgent time.
For the first time ever, an Iranian film, “A Separation”, has won the 2012 award for the best Foreign Language Film.
At precisely the same time that the war machine in the United States and Israel are ratcheting up talk of a unilateral or bilateral strike against Iran,
and driving yet another Muslim country to the brink of the same disaster that has already been brought up on Iraq and Afghanistan,
comes a movie (“A Separation”), a humble and peaceful director, Asghar Farhadi, who speaks in a universally recognizable language of humanity and humility,
and a stunning Muslim actress (Leila Hatami) who has been an icon in Iranian cinema for a long time, conducts interviews fluently in four languages, and is an articulate, intelligent, and ardent supporter of the Reform movement ("Green Movement") in Iran.
What a time to put a human face on Iran, an Iran that has been relegated in much of our imagination to either the nuclear issue or the Iranian presidents’ anti-Semitic rants.
What a time to listen to the director of the film, Asghar Farhadi, humbly stated:
Salaam beh mardomeh khoobeh sarzaminam. [Greetings to the good people of my land].”
At this time many Iranians around the world are watching us, and I imagine them to be very happy.
They are happy not just because of an important award, or a film, or a filmmaker…
But because at a time when talk of war intimidation and aggression is exchanged between politicians
the name of their country, Iran, is spoken here through her glorious culture, her rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics.
I proudly offer this award to the people of my country.
A people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment.
At the Golden Globes (another win), Farhadi was even more efficient with his words.
He asked to say a word about the people of Iran: "They are a peace-loving people."
May these be the faces of Iran that we keep in mind and heart during the next few months, and these the types of voices that we hear from.
These are voices of peace, of humanity, of co-existence, and of mutual dignity.
They are speaking, may we listen.
Leila Hatami 1 is from here.
Leila hatami 2 is from here.
The image of the cast of A Separation is from PersianIcons.org, who got it from Reuters.