Persecution and the art of protest

I admire the bravery and support the cause of the Iranian players competing in the FIFA World Cup competition in Doha, Qatar. The AP reports: “Iran’s players didn’t sing their national anthem and didn’t celebrate their goals.” Their silence speaks. The players are putting themselves on the line for a cause that is a matter of life, death, and basic human rights back home. It’s not exactly akin to taking a self-indulgent knee on behalf of the 1619 lie.

Semafor Flagship’s Tom Chivers adds that the team’s “fans booed the music as well, and Iranian TV cut away from the players’ faces. Iran’s captain Ehsan Hajsafi said earlier that the players ‘support and sympathize with’ families grieving for loved ones killed by state crackdowns against the demonstrations.” Hajsafi’s protest went beyond silence.

There are limits to the art of protest for the teams from Europe: “They were playing England, whose captain — along with other European team captains — ditched plans to wear a rainbow armband to support LGBT rights after FIFA warned that it would lead to a yellow card.”

England defeated Iran 6-2. The AP adds this footnote: “Iran media blames humiliating World Cup loss on protests.”

The Times of Israel has Ash Obel reporting from the competition. He sought out Iranians to interview for his long story and found another approach to the art of protest: “Two Iranians from Tehran who operate a travel agency told me that while it was difficult for them to comment, change in Iran was needed. When asked what kind of change, one of them mimed stroking an imaginary long beard, a subtle reference to Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khameini and the Shiite clerics who control their country.”

Notice: All comments are subject to moderation. Our comments are intended to be a forum for civil discourse bearing on the subject under discussion. Commenters who stray beyond the bounds of civility or employ what we deem gratuitous vulgarity in a comment — including, but not limited to, “s***,” “f***,” “a*******,” or one of their many variants — will be banned without further notice in the sole discretion of the site moderator.