The Little Woman With the Big Voice


Copyright (c) 2000, Jordan White



            Have you heard Googoosh sing?


            I have two of her CD's, and listening to them makes me wish I could understand the Farsi lyrics.  It also makes me wish I could hear her in person, though so far I have not had the opportunity.


            Googoosh is a Persian (Iranian) singer.  She is currently touring the US and Canada, packing in the crowds even in sports-size arenas: sold-out crowds.  She is a pint-sized woman, but when she sings, I am told, you forget her diminutive size and only hear the power of her voice, sense the strength of her personality and resolve.


            You see, for twenty years, under the oppressive Ayatollah Khomeini regime, and even for a while under the more liberal Mohammed Khatami, Googoosh was not allowed to sing.  She had been a star in her youth, during the reign of the Shah, but, under the strict Islamic codes set down by the clerics who now ruled Iran, woman singers who wore sequined gowns and colored their hair were frowned upon.


            Obedient to her government, Googoosh donned a chador (veiled gown) and went into seclusion.  Away went the elegant costumes.  Away went the tinted coiffures, the entourages, the adoring crowds, the fame.  Far away from the lights and the sound stages, Googoosh waited.


            Some might say that she should have spoken out more, used her influence to spark a counter revolution, return to the days of the US-propped-up Shah where she could sing, wear her fancy gowns and be adored by the public.  Why didn't she at least try?


            Googoosh knew better.  She knew that change takes time.  She knew that a people must effect the change, and that it is only when the people themselves decide to create that revolution in their hearts, that quiet revolution, that change really takes place.


            Whether Iran's leader was the corrupt, US-sponsored Shah Reza Pahlavi or the US- arms-for-hostage-dealing clerical government, Googoosh knew that she had to bide her time.    



            And things are starting to change in Iran.  Couples are seen walking hand-in-hand on the streets of Teheran, where once the "morality police" would have kept them apart.  Women are beginning to wear makeup, doff their veils, start to smile.  Fast-paced,  high-tech industry is bringing prosperity to those who have lived so long in squalor.


            Googoosh waited, waited until the winds of change began to blow.  Yes, it was only a tiny breeze, but into that breeze she spread her wings.  And now she is once again on stage, her radiant personality bringing a message of hope to Iranians the world over, that someday the exiles will be able to return, that someday children will grow up knowing their voices will be heard, that someday Iran will be free.


            Palestinians, it will not be long for you, either.


            The US tried to prop up the Shah of Iran.  It failed.  It tried to make a deal with the clerical government of the Ayatollah.  It was uncovered, much to America's shame and disgrace.


             And the US will keep trying to prop up its "friend", Israel.  But it will fail, as it has failed time and time again to stop the unbending will of the people who persist, and persist, until the dull axe of their will topples the mighty tree.


            The US tried to control Iran, to keep that nation in its back pocket.  It didn't work.  Iranians don't want to be Americans, and they don't want to be kept in bondage. 


            A little woman with a big voice proved to us all that the voice of the people is a strong one, indeed.


                                                                                                            November 24, 2000