Thursday, June 11, 2009

Iranian Elections Special: The Other Iran

I've been following the Iranian elections through Rasmus Christian Elling's great posts on Cuminet, a group blog about Islam and the Middle East coming out of Copenhagen University (and which I added to the "links" section a few weeks ago, since they also cover Turkey). Through the blog, I learned about Sasy Mankan -- "Sasy the Model," in Persian -- a 22-year-old engineering student (real name Sasan Yafte) who is one of the stars of the Iranian underground hip-hop scene. According to a recent post on the blog, Hojjatoleslam Mehdi Karubi, the Iranian 72-year old conservative cleric and presidential candidate, recently held a meeting with a group of Iranian pop stars, Sasy Makan among them, as a way of cozying up to young voters.

There's isn't too much online (in English, at least) about Sasy. An official website is here. His Facebook page can be found here. Below is a fun video for a song called "Ninash Nash," which an Iranian friend says is a hard to translate slang expression for "dancing and having fun." (Follow this link if you can't access YouTube.)

I don't have enough of a handle on Iranian politics and youth/pop culture to know how Sasy and his crew fit into Iran's political scene. But as far as I can tell from the images that I've seen from Iran, the young supporters of reformist Mir Hossein Mousavi, main challenger to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have a definite "Ninash Nash" vibe to them. Is more "dancing and having fun" in Iran's future? Tomorrow will tell.

(Photo -- the many faces of Sasy Mankan, Iranian underground hip hop star)