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Jafar Panahi: The First Thing We Do…

December 20, 2010

Following is commentary on an article at guardian.co.uk which appeared Monday, December 20, 2010 entitled Iran Jails Director Jafar Panahi and Stops Him Making Films for 20 Years. 

I must take a sidestep on this trajec situation by drawing upon Shakespeare’s Dick the Butcher, who is famous for stating: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”.  This time it is the status quo interposing with “Lets kill all the film-makers.”  Like Dick’s proposed part in helping the traitorous Jack Cade mystify the public with calculated but false appeal, we now see the film-maker cloaked in dishonor for doing the honorable.  Often out of context Dick’s statement is used as a proud example of ridding the world of “blood lusting lawyers”.  Being one, (a lawyer that is) I feel capable of pointing out this inaccuracy.  Likewise, now we see that those brave enough to speak of freedom being portrayed as evil and collusive; bent toward destroying the form of government in Iran.  Film-makers are not the only group suffering from this exposure.  As a lawyer, I must stand for what I believe is the right thing for self, client, and the public at large.  In the instance of Jack Cade, the lawyers where what stood between his desire to bring about a revolution.  In the case of Jafar Panahi we see a switching of actors.  This time, it is the government that tries to use falsity in public appeal to set a stage to twart the people’s movement.  Freedom of speech is a foundational stage for civility and human dignity.

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