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Iranian Filmmaker Shirdel refuses to travel to NY in protest against US policies

TEHRAN, Aug. 1 (Mehr News Agency) -- In protest against U.S. policies, the renowned Iranian documentary filmmaker Kamran Shirdel has refused to attend the ceremony which was to be organized in his honor by New York's Asia Society.

Kamran Shirdel

The New York based Asia Society is scheduled to hold a retrospective of Shirdel's works at its International Short Film Festival in October 2007 and he was invited to participate.

In a letter, of which a copy was submitted to the Persian Service of ISNA, he explained the reasons for his refusal.

In a part of the letter, it reads, "I want to say that after long and deep consideration, I have decided to cancel my trip to the United States. Though I feel sincerely happy and honored that my works are to be screened at the Asia Society in the presence of Iranian and American scholars, there are many reasons which compelled me to make this decision.

It continues, "Since the government of the U.S., as in previous years, but this time more forcefully, is bellowing its slogans of wanting to help the people of the Middle East and especially the people of Iran, and claims that its heart is full of pain for these people and would like to help them achieve 'a better society', unfortunately and with great astonishment, we notice that it (the U.S. government) is thrusting its deathly fork into the skin and flesh of the Iranian people.

"The daily threats and warnings, repeated accusations, sanctions, and secret programs of the U.S. government which (they claim) are contrived to 'help' Iranian artists and intellectuals, prove correct the theory that the United States does not want or cannot permit other nations to choose, decide, and gain experience on their own, so it tries to invert all their values and ruin all their experiences.

"I would like to make a reference to the 1953 Iranian coup d'état which removed the cabinet of the Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh from power and, as the U.S. had hoped, it put an end to the political movements which were rooted in the hearts of the people."

Later in the letter he emphasizes, "I refused the invitation to travel to the U.S as a protest against the U.S. government's policies of today and yesteryears, hoping that my adoption of this stance against the U.S and this letter will be another loud voice which will carry a message of justice to all nations who are tired of U.S. oppression."

His letter continued with an expression of hope that the screening of his movies would help open the dark and anxious minds of the people of the United States to the originality of the art and culture of the Iranian nation and its people's feelings.

In October, The Asia Society is to screen some of Shirdel's works including "Tehran Is the Capital of Iran", "Solitude", and "The Night It Rained".

... Payvand News - 8/2/07 ... --

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