The Iranian ‘Patria y Vida’, A Song That Unites Havana with Teheran

Both countries live under dictatorships, allied together as declared enemies of the USA, both having begun with “malevolent” revolutions. (Screen capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Anna Mahjar-Barducci, Jerusalem, 20 October 2022 — On 19 October 2022 a ’mash-up’ of two tracks: Patria y Vida [Homeland and Life] and Baraye (For the sake of…) was uploaded to the Azadi channel on YouTube. The former was performed by Cuban rappers Yotuel Romero, Descemer Bueno, Maykel Osorbo Castillo, El Funky, and the group Gente de Zona; the latter by the Iranian singer Shervin Hajipour.

Patria y Vida [Homeland and Life] was associated with the 2021 demonstrations against the Cuban regime and the Communist Party. In a similar way, Baraye has become the hymn of the protesters currently demonstrating against the Islamic Republican regime in Iran.

“For dancing in the streets (dancing in public is prohibited in Iran), for every time we were afraid to kiss our lovers, for the shame of having empty pockets, for the longing after a normal life, for women, for life, for freedom (the protesters’ slogan). For liberty”. So read the lyrics of Baraye — which have been put together by selecting extracts from Iranian social media messaging.

Both songs are hymns to liberty. In fact both countries live under dictatorships, allied together as declared enemies of the USA, both having begun with “malevolent” (according to Patria y Vida) revolutions. The 1959 Cuban revolution brought Fidel Castro to power, and exactly 20 years later the 1979 Iranian revolution toppled the Pahlavi dynasty, replacing it with an Islamic Republic under the government of ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

After the death of Khomeini in 1989, Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei became supreme leader of Iran — to date, the longest-ruling dictator in the Middle East.

It’s worth pointing out that singer Hajipour was arrested by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard after sharing Baraye on Instagram, because similarly, the Cuban rapper Maykel Castillo ’Orsorbo’ was sentenced to nine years in prison, and the artist and dissident Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara (who also took part in the video for Patria y Vida) was condemned to five years behind bars.

This ’mash-up’ demonstrates that the demands for liberty continue to resonate, from Havana to Teheran, hoping that the world might finally take notice of them.

Translated by Ricardo Recluso


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.