Iran Protest Song Goes Viral

On September 29, Iran arrested Shervin Hajipour after the release of a song inspired by the death of Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish woman detained for “inappropriate attire” on Sept. 13, 2022. Her death three days later sparked nationwide protests for weeks. The lyrics of “Baraye”—or “For…” or “Because of…” in Persian—were pulled from phases used in Twitter posts about Amini and the public outcry. Hajipour’s song on Instagram quickly went viral with 40 million views in two days. It became the anthem, or soundtrack of the protests, sung by defiant schoolgirls, blared on car radios, and picked up by sympathy protestors in foreign capitals.

Iran’s security forces pressured Hajipour, a popular 25-year-old singer, to take down the song. Hajipour’s account was later deactivated. His parents were notified of Hajipour’s arrest in a telephone call from Iranian intelligence, his sister claimed on social media. He was released on bail on October 4. The following are the lyrics to Hajipour’s song with some explanations or references in brackets. 

For dancing in the streets

For the fear when kissing

For my sister, your sister, our sisters

For changing rusted minds

For the shame of poverty

For yearning for a normal life

For those kids who survive by searching through dumpsters, for their dreams

For this imposed economy

For this polluted air

For Valiasr Street and its worn-out trees

For Piruz [the last Asian cheetah cub in Iran] and his possible extinction

For dogs, innocent but banned

For non-stop crying

For never experiencing this moment [a photo is shown of a young girl who was killed when the Revolutionary Guards mistakenly shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 over Tehran in 2020]

For smiling faces

For students, for their future

For this forced “Heaven”

For imprisoned elites

For Afghan children

For all these countless “for”s

For all these meaningless chants [such as “Death to America”]

For the collapse of these flimsy houses

For the feeling serenity and peace

For the sun after a long night

For anti-anxiety pills and insomnia

For men, homeland, development

For girls wishing to be boys

For women, life, freedom

For freedom

For freedom

For freedom