Human rights abuses happen every day, all over the world. From forced labor, to child soldiers, to being denied the freedom of conscience or expression, millions of human beings suffer from oppression of their most basic, God-given freedoms. One way for us to express solidarity with those enduring injustice in the world is to shed a light on their struggle.
One group experiencing such oppression are the members of the Baha’i Faith in Iran. Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, Baha’is have been systematically persecuted as a matter of government policy. More than 200 Baha’is have been killed or executed, hundreds more tortured or imprisoned, and tens of thousands have lost jobs, access to education, and other rights – all solely because of their religious belief.
To honor the struggle that the Iranian Baha’is face on a daily basis, we share: Songs About Human Rights: 10 Tracks Dedicated to the Baha’is in Iran. The more light we shed on the situation, the sooner we hope the Baha’is will see the day where they can live in freedom.
1) Colby Jeffers featuring Emphavoice – Oh Yaran (7 Years)
In our contribution to the list, Colby teams up with emerging Russian artist Emphavoice to highlight unjust imprisonment of the 7 Baha’i leaders in Iran, known as the Yaran (meaning friends). In 2008, the Yaran were jailed on trumped up charges, and remain in prison simply because of their religious beliefs.
2) KC Porter – Yaran
In his song “Yaran”, record artist and multi-Grammy Award winning producer and composer, KC Porter, shares another inspiring musical arrangement to honor the struggle of the Yaran, as they serve out a 20 year prison sentence simply because of their religious beliefs.
3) Shadi Toloui-Wallace – Yaran
Australian-Iranian singer/songwriter Shadi Toloui-Wallace honors the same seven Baha’i leaders currently facing 20 years in prison without trial. Toloui-Wallace states the song is “dedicated to the many thousands of friends who have suffered systematic persecution, hardship, and even death, at the hands of the current Iranian regime, simply due to the fact that they are Baha’i’s.”
4) Luke Slott – One Hundred Thousand Veils
Singer, songwriter and composer from Dublin, Ireland, Luke Slott, created “One Hundred Thousand Veils” to mark International Human Rights Day on December 10th. Slott says the song “focuses on the deteriorating human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran, specifically the plight of the Bahá’í community, Iran’s largest religious minority, who are being systematically deprived of some of the most basic human rights, such as the right to higher education.”
5) Doug Cameron – Mona and the Children
Canadian musician and composer, Doug Cameron, highlights the story of a Persian Bahá’í girl aged 16, Mona Mahmudnizhad, who, in 1983, together with nine other Bahá’í women, was sentenced to death and hanged in Shiraz, Iran, because of her membership in the Bahá’í Faith. Hitting the pop charts in Canada at #14 in 1985, “Mona and the Children” is one of the most acclaimed songs about human rights to feature the persecution of the Baha’is.
6) Nabil and Karim – Mona
International Baha’i hip-hop artists, Nabil and Karim, state that they “aim to produce hip-hop music with a positive message and instill hope into the hearts of their listeners.” In their song “Mona”, they do just that, sharing the story of the heroic 16 year old girl who gave her life for her Faith.
7) Smith & Dragoman – Kiss the Rope
In another soul-stirring composition to honor the beloved Mona, singer/songwriter duo Brett Smith & Michael Dragoman, take you through Mona’s spiritual journey as she met her fate as a martyr for the Baha’i Faith.
8) Chelsea Lyne featuring Nabil and Karim – This Love
Canadian singer/songwriter Chelsea-Lyne Heins teams up with hip-hop duo Nabil and Karim to deliver a song with punch and pop. A catchy beat and chorus, the song testifies to the spiritual strength of the Baha’is, stating “they can take my life away, but this love will never change.”
9) Baha’i Youth Collaborative – The Change Will Come
In an absolutely awesome international creation, Baha’i youth from several countries, including Canada, Algeria, France, Estonia, Turkey, Germany, and Congo, all come together to express their solidarity with their brethren in Iran. Offering the Iranian Baha’is a glimmer of hope, these youth assure them that one day, “the change will come”.
10) Elika Mahony – Persecution
World traveled vocalist, composer, pianist, and artist, Elika Mahony beautifully sings of the collective struggle the Baha’is have faced since the religion’s inception in Iran. Asking the government of Iran why they think they can “stop the world from knowing,” she exclaims in her song “you can’t stop the sun from shining.” Keep shining your light Elika.
We hope you were moved and inspired by our list: Songs About Human Rights: 10 Tracks for the Baha’is in Iran. To learn more about the ongoing persecution and human rights abuses of the Baha’is in Iran, visit:
For more inspiring music, click here to check out 10 Inspiring Songs that Make You Want to Change the World!
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