GOOD

Iranian Teen Garners Support Worldwide After Police Arrested Her For Posting Dancing Videos

Women are taking their moves to the streets and on social media in solidarity with Maedeh Hojabri, who was recently arrested in Iran for dancing in her bedroom.

Image via Maedeh Hojabri/Instagram.

Women around the world are dancing like everyone is watching.


In fact, the more eyes on them, the better. They’re not performing because they’re exhibitionists. Instead, they’re making a bold statement: Dancing is not a crime.

These women are taking their moves to the streets and social media in solidarity with 18-year-old Maedeh Hojabri, who was recently arrested in Iran for posting a video of her dancing in her bedroom.

Dancing is not completely illegal in Iran, but it is forbidden for women do it publicly. According to the New York Times, with more than 600,000 followers on her Instagram, Hojabri uploaded her dancing videos on the social media platform. She was arrested two months ago.

While Hojabri’s Instagram account has not been restored, countless of Hojabri fan pages have sprouted up on the social media platform, where the young dancer is being hailed for her bravery.

“All my solidarity to women and girls in Iran, who risk jail simply for expressing themselves,” Lesley Lila of Amnesty International tweeted. “Protesting is a right and #DancingIsNotACrime.”

Reihane Taravati, another supporter tweeted: “You arrested me for being #Happy when I was 23. Now you arrest #MaedehHojabri and she is only 18! What will you do to the next generation?”

Speaking out

Hojabri broke her silence this week, a few months since her Instagram was shut down. She appeared on a talk show where she cried and spoke about what happened. According to the New York Times, Hojabri said that she understood that dancing publicly is a crime and that her family was unaware that she was posting videos on Instagram.

“It wasn’t for attracting attention,” Hojabri said on the television show, according to The Guardian. “I had some followers and these videos were for them. I did not have any intention to encourage others doing the same … I didn’t work with a team, I received no training. I only do gymnastics.”

Many of Hojabri’s videos show her dancing to modern music in front of the camera, or posing with friends and family. The Guardian reports that Hojabri wasn’t the only one taken in by authorities, other women (who have not been identified) were also arrested for dancing in public. Iranian authorities are also currently surveilling “Instagram celebrities” who may be facing arrest, according to the New York Times.

Many of the protesters and supporters of Hojabri are Iranian women, who’ve also been posting videos of themselves dancing in public.

Social media shutdown

Iran’s 2009 “Green Movement” was largely fueled by social media. And Iranian president Hassan Rouhani recently declared that the country should move toward a more free society. “Let people be. Let’s not infringe on their privacy, people’s private lives belong to them,” he told a crowd at a 2018 celebration of the country’s Islamic revolution.

But today, Instagram is one of the few social media platform allowed in Iran. The popular messaging app was shut down earlier this year. However, because of “unwanted content,” authorities may also shut down Instagram leaving their millions of local users in the dark.

“Instagram started out as an innocent tool, available on the internet, where people would upload photos and write some words,” said Hamidreza Taraghi, a conservative Iranian critic. “But the Westerners behind it gradually turned Instagram into a mischievous tool for dangerous subversive actions against the state or pornographic purposes. Naturally we must block it.”




Articles
via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?

Lifestyle

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr and nrkbeta / flickr

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) dropped a bombshell on Tuesday, announcing it had over 900 emails that White House aide Stephen Miller sent to former Breitbart writer and editor Katie McHugh.

According to the SPLC, in the emails, Miller aggressively "promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof's murderous rampage."

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Twitter / Bye,Bye Harley Davidson

The NRA likes to diminish the role that guns play in fatal shootings by saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Which is the same logic as, "Hammers don't build roofs, people build roofs." No duh. But it'd be nearly impossible to build a roof without a hammer.

So, shouldn't the people who manufacture guns share some responsibility when they are used for the purpose they're made: killing people? Especially when the manufacturers market the weapon for that exact purpose?

Keep Reading Show less
Business