IRANIUM FALLOUT – Cancelled screening thrusts film’s ‘important lessons’ into spotlight

Ottawa Sun – -

By ANTHONY FUREY
January 23, 2011

Hey Iran, you’re not going to be happy with me. I’ve just watched the film Iranium, the one your embassy requested Library and Archives Canada not screen last week.

The story of the screening’s withdrawal has been widely discussed after Ottawa organizer Fred Litwin was told it was cancelled due to protest threats and complaints from the Iranian embassy.

“This is a real innocuous movie,” Litwin states.

And he’s right.

It begins with a history of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, that saw Iran become a theocratic dictatorship encouraging schoolchildren to chant “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” while also seeing its leader insist that Islam “will conquer all the mountains of the world.”

It proceeds to highlight President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s rise to power, the country’s desire to develop nuclear capabilities and the populace’s growing disdain at their leaders.

Anyone who feels the film is unfairly critical of Iran, which seems to be the embassy’s issue, can of course exercise the same rights as Iranium’s filmmakers have: To produce their own film.

The interview sources are prominent — Bernard Lewis from Princeton, former U.S. ambassador to the UN

John Bolton, and more — and the narration is provided by Oscar-nominated actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, whose family fled Iran in the wake of the revolution.

The sound and editing are obviously intended to provoke worry in viewers and while some of the worst-case scenarios discussed (like Iran employing an electromagnetic pulse to disable North American electrical sources) are far-fetched, most horrible acts from the past are far-fetched, but that didn’t stop them from happening. Any worry would not be without cause.

“I want to encourage debate,” says Litwin, who has been running screenings for several years and plans an evening on the Caledonia conflicts as his next event.

Asked about his dream event, he muses on bringing European politician Geert Wilders to Ottawa, who Litwin believes is widely misunderstood.

“If you want to ask some tough questions great,” he states, encouraging everyone to attend. He just doesn’t like it when protesters scream down speakers instead of challenging them at the microphone.

He thinks the solution to free speech conflicts, either the local Dire Straits incident or the international Danish cartoons, is to continue exposing people to these things.

“We have to publish so much of it that it can’t be responded to.”

Flood the markets so protesters learn that free expression isn’t negotiable.

The second most important lesson I took from the film was how we must be wary of theocratic leaders and cannot presume they are rational actors. If someone believes this world is only a way station towards paradise can we trust them with nuclear weapons?

But the most important lesson is that what matters most in distraught countries is the people.

I know a talented artist who came to Canada from Iran after his uncle was publicly murdered for his art. To not screen a piece of art because it upsets the embassy is to dishonour those Iranians who have died for liberty or continue to sacrifice their safety in the name of freedom.

It’s baffling that so many people still don’t understand the basic premises of liberty. Your rights do not include the right to not be offended.

Especially when some people’s barometer of offence is so low it includes cartoons.

The film has been rescheduled for Feb. 6, 7 p.m. at Library and Archives Canada. Heritage Minister James Moore plans to attend. More information can be found at www.freethinkingfilmfest.ca. I recommend you attend.

This article was originally published here.

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6 Responses to IRANIUM FALLOUT – Cancelled screening thrusts film’s ‘important lessons’ into spotlight

  1. Their war of attrition against our freedom of speech and religion has been steady and sure. Time we became decisive to keep and strengthen what we have, or lose it all.

  2. Allan MacLeod says:

    Canada and the USA must have the courage to promote and show the fim Iranium without worrying what Iran will say or do. Canada is one of the last bastions of freedom in the west, with the sense to stand up for Israel, and tell Iran to shut up and take care of its own lack of freedom and responsibility to its subjugated people. Please don’t bow to Iranian pressure in any way!

  3. ken shaw says:

    A free country and the maintenance of that freedom is a free press. It is not only that the populace have a knowledge and awareness of what is transpiring within its’ own borders, but also the likes of happenings in other nations, particularly those, like Iran, are bent on the destruction of the free world of democracy and its adherents. Like most tyrants and their despotic regimes, they often overplay their hand and expose themselves and their diabolical ways. By attempting to squelch the showing of IRANIUM, the documentary will now be shown to wider audiences and accomplish the opposite of Iran’s objectives, informing many, many more of their untoward ways. So be it. May the truth continue to be told with injustices exposed and free speech and liberty prevail.

  4. Alistair Metcalf says:

    The Iranian embassy should be closed and the staff sent home immediately. We will not now, and never, will we take our marching orders from a foreign government. The Islam religous/political system has never shown itself to be beneficial to any country it has established itself in. This film should be shown where and when WE decide it will be shown. The embassy staff should be deported NOW and the embassy closed as I said. If the (Iranian government and )embassy staff do not like how WE run OUR country they can leave as soon as possible . This is OUR Country.

  5. David Matos says:

    The problem with this movie isn’t whether or not it should be screen. Nor is the problem criticizing Iran. The problem is the EXTREME right-wing agenda that this movie promotes as evidenced by the types of groups that sponsor it. Anyone who kicks around a little bit at some of these seemingly innocuously named groups will find the far right underneath.

  6. R G says:

    Cool, excellent show, time for the people of Iran to rise up like the people of Egypt although it will not be a peaceful uprising.

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