Iran orchestra barred over women musicians

Updated 29 November 2015
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Iran orchestra barred over women musicians

TEHRAN : A high-profile performance in Iran by the Tehran Symphony Orchestra was canceled at the last minute because it was due to feature female musicians, its furious conductor said on Sunday.
Ali Rahbari said he was told 15 minutes before the orchestra was scheduled to play at a major sporting event that they could not.
“The chairs were laid out and everything looked fine,” he said, referring to the World Wrestling Clubs Cup competition which opened in the Iranian capital on Thursday.
“But before performing the national anthem, all of a sudden they announced women cannot play on stage.”
Neither Rahbari or the ISNA news agency, which reported his comments, detailed who “they” were.
“I was offended and said it was impossible for me to accept such an insult,” Rahbari added. “We either play all together or we leave.”
Efforts to resolve the issue failed.
“It’s absolutely impossible for women to play musical instruments on stage,” Rahbari quoted organizers of the ceremony as saying.
Banned from singing solo in public since the Islamic revolution of 1979, female Iranian musicians have repeatedly complained of having been stopped from performing, particularly outside Tehran.
But Thursday’s refusal, according to ISNA, was the first time a performance by the Symphony Orchestra, one of Iran’s oldest, had been canceled because of its female members.
“They invited us themselves and yet they disrespected us,” Rahbari said. “Why shouldn’t they be allowed to perform the national anthem of their country?“
The issue of music in public has resurfaced in the past year with artists repeatedly complaining they have been stopped from performing at short notice despite having official authorization.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate elected in 2013, has said that as long as artists and musicians have a permit from the culture ministry then no one should stop them from working.
But many concerts have been canceled regardless with little explanation.
Religious leaders have spoken out against them and conservatives claim music can “excite and cause deviation” among the country’s youth.
Since 1979, state television has rarely shown musical instruments on screen.
Recent concert cancelations have been viewed by some Iranians as a tactic used by the country’s ultraconservative establishment to push back against Rouhani’s government.
Rouhani has urged moderation and he was the political driving force behind a July deal with six world powers, led by the United States, on Iran’s nuclear program.
But that agreement was followed by warnings from Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that the country must protect itself against American “infiltration.”
At the wrestling competition at Tehran’s Azadi stadium, two Iranian clubs took first and third place.
The Titan Mercury Wrestling Club from the United States, who entered the stadium with an Iranian man carrying the US flag, came second.


Migrant charity files manslaughter complaint against cargo ship, Libya

Updated 21 July 2018
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Migrant charity files manslaughter complaint against cargo ship, Libya

  • The migrant rescue boat Open Arms docked in Spain on Saturday carrying the bodies of a woman and a four-year-old boy
  • Open Arms claimed the ship’s crew had seen the migrant dingy but had failed to provide help

PALMA DE MALLORCA: The charity Proactiva Open Arms has filed a complaint, including of involuntary manslaughter, with the Spanish police against a cargo ship for failing to help migrants adrift on a destroyed dinghy in the Mediterranean.
The captain of the charity’s rescue boat said on Saturday he also plans to file a separate suit against the Libyan lifeguard.
The migrant rescue boat Open Arms docked in Spain on Saturday carrying the bodies of a woman and a four-year-old boy as well as one woman who was found alive floating on the remains of a dinghy off the coast of Libya last week.
The boat took four days to arrive in the Spanish port of Palma after finding the migrants adrift about 80 miles (130 km)off Libya’s coast after being abandoned by the Libyan coast guard, the charity said.
“We have filed a complaint against the captain of the (merchant ship) Triades for failing to help and for involuntary manslaughter and we’ll also do it against the captain of the Libyan patrol,” Oscar Camps, the Open Arms captain and founder of the NGO, said at a news conference.
Open Arms claimed the ship’s crew had seen the migrant dingy but had failed to provide help. Reuters could not find a way to contact the captain of Triades, which flies a Panamanian flag. The ship is currently moored in the Libyan port of Misrata, where officials could not be reached for comment.
The Libyan lifeguard also left the three migrants to float amid the shattered remains of the raft after the two women and the boy had refused to board their patrol ship, the charity said.
Libya’s coast guard disputed the account on Tuesday but offered no explanation for how the three migrants came to be stranded on the remains of the dinghy.
The Spanish charity operates in the central Mediterranean, one of the deadliest areas of the sea and favored by people smugglers operating out of Libya.
Charity boats have been locked out of Italian ports, the closest European landing point, since Italy’s new government vowed to crack down on illegal immigration from Northern Africa.
Open Arms found itself at the center of the European immigrant crisis at the start of the month when it rescued 60 migrants off Libya and brought them to Barcelona in Spain after being refused docking in Italy and Malta.