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"You Are the Voice of the People!" Left: Yarrahi in concert. Right: Gholian hijab-less after her release from prison in March 2023; she was re-arrested hours later. Posted on Burn The Cage

From inside Iran's Evin Prison, Sepideh Gholian (Qolian) wrote a poem to the renowned singer/composer Mehdi Yarrahi, who was arrested by the Islamic Republic of Iran on August 27 after the release of his song “Roosarito”, Your Head Scarf, “dedicated to the noble women of my homeland, who bravely shine in the front lines of the Woman, Life, Freedom” movement”.

Like Sepideh Gholian, Mehdi Yarrahi is from the province of Khuzestan bordering Iraq, an oil-rich but environmentally devastated region. In addition, Yarrahi is an ethnic Arab, an oppressed nationality. He has been banned from performing multiple times, due to his daring protest lyrics, but has never backed down or fled the country.

The following excerpt of Sepideh's poem was posted on Burn The Cage and translated to English by IEC volunteers.

I have lived my life to the sound of your voice, #Mehdi_Yarrahi.

You could have sided with the powers that be, been an ambassador for the ruling class,
gone on European tours, given dazzling performances, feasted at banquets, led a colorful life.
But you decided to stand on the other side 'though you knew it could cost you.
You became the voice of an Arab woman in Khuzestan,
the voice of Sepideh Rashnou, who resisted the forced hijab,
the voice of Toomaj, of workers, prisoners,
and of all those who are born in poverty and pain.

I have lived my life to the sound of your voice, #Mehdi_Yarrahi.

I have walked all of Khuzestan, which is my soul, to the sound of your voice
During the floods and in Sepidar prison, we danced to your songs and stood up together,
I saw how you live in the people's hearts. The same people who, like you,
are accused of being secessionists by ruling dictators and would-be dictators.
The people have learned from you, Mehdi, from your simplicity and whole-heartedness.
They worry for you, because they know you are unique and extraordinary!

I have lived my life to the sound of your voice, #Mehdi_Yarrahi.





~Sepideh Gholian, from Evin Prison, August 30, 2023

(The full poem in Farsi is posted by Sepideh’s brother.)

Sepideh Gholian, arrested at 23 for her journalism in support of striking sugarcane workers, has spent most of the past five years in prison, and remains incredibly rebellious and unrepentant. Check out and share our Sepideh Gholian Resource page for background and images to share.