Iranians Protest Ayatollahs With Pink Floyd

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Canada-based Iranian rock band Blurred Vision has updated the famous Pink Floyd protest anthem "Another Brick in the Wall" to target the theocratic government of Iran. Their otherwise faithful cover changes the song's famous chant to "Hey Ayatollah, leave those kids alone." With the help of Iranian filmmaker Babak Payami, Blurred Vision also produced a music video to channel the song's anti-authoritarian anger against the oppressive Iranian regime. The video, interspliced with footage from the recent "green movement" protests, shows an Iranian woman fleeing security forces and a robed, bearded ayatollah.

The band members, who are brothers, say they wrote the song for those who still are still struggling for freedom in Iran. The U.K. Independent's Jerome Taylor reports:

In a central London café, the brothers explained how their song has captured the imaginations of young Iranians in a country where rock music is banned. "We've been getting messages from so many Iranians saying they are using the song as a way to voice their protests," said Sohl who, at 35, is the older of the two brothers.

Sepp, 28, added: "A message came through to us last week and when Sohl translated it he had tears running down his cheeks. It was from a fan in Iran and he just kept saying over and over again: 'Keep our voice alive. If you don't then no one will hear us.'"

The brothers are also keen to encourage activists inside Iran to use a piece of software called Haystack, an ingenious encryption device which circumvents the government's internet controls. "It was invented by this 24-year-old guy from California who was so outraged at what was happening in Iran he decided to build some software," explained Sepp. "It works so well that it would take supercomputers hundreds of years to hack in and stop it. He wasn't even Iranian, he just wanted to help.

The young musicians say they sought—and received—the approval of Pink Floyd's Roger Waters to cover the song. "From here on in, that version of the song is yours," he told them. Though Waters probably never intended his song to be about Iran, he may have had the country in the back of his mind when he wrote it— "Another Brick in the Wall" was released November 30 1979, eight months after the Iranian revolution and only three weeks after the U.S. embassy hostage crisis began.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.