Grammy award-winning singer Joss Stone says she has been deported from Iran, the last country she was scheduled to visit as part of her “Total World Tour.”
It is illegal for women to perform public concerts in Iran, and Stone said she was detained and deported after arriving.
Stone, wearing a white headscarf, shared the details in a lengthy video post on Instagram:
View this post on Instagram
So , our very last country on the list was Iran . We were aware there couldn’t be a public concert as I am a woman and that is illegal in this country. Personally I don’t fancy going to an Iranian prison nor am I trying to change the politics of the countries I visit nor do I wish to put other people in danger. However, it seems the authority’s don’t believe we wouldn’t be playing a public show so they have popped us on what they call the ‘black list ‘ as we found out when we turned up to the immigration hall. After long discussions with the most friendly charming and welcoming immigration people the decision was made to detain us for the night and to deport us in the morning. Of course I was gutted. So close yet so far, this moment broke a little piece of my heart. Then I realised the silver lining was bright. I told them my story and explained my mission, to bring good feeling with what I have to give and show those who want to look, the positives of our globe. All with the understanding that public performance wasn’t an option in this scenario. I still have to walk forward towards that goal some way some how. And of course music is my driver. Doesn’t mean we have to brake any laws though. There is music everywhere. Even here, we just have to play by there rules and they have to believe we will. It’s a trust thing. They were so kind to us, at one point I started to question it. The question whirled around my head, were they just luring is into a false sense of security so we would walk into our jail cells quietly with out a drama? Nope , these people are genuinely nice kind people that felt bad that they couldn’t over ride the system. They didn’t speak English so well so the translator Mohamed, who clearly had a lovely soul conveyed the message that they hoped we would go to embassy to sort it all out and come back, they were refusing us entry with a heavy heart and were so sorry. After Mo had left, the officers kept telling us sorry. They said sorry all the way through this process and kept saying this till we got on the plane they were sending us away on. We were the ones that should have been apologising for not having our correct paper work. The ball
No public concerts allowed
Iran has too long escaped condemnation for its treatment of women. Iran is an Islamic theocracy which means women have very few rights. Women must be covered in public and face many different forms of oppression.
One of these is not being allowed to perform in public. Even foreigners are still forbidden from the act. The Washington Examiner reports:
Iran deported British soul singer Joss Stone because officials suspected she was in the country to break the law and hold a public concert.
Her tour’s stated goal was to “bring loveliness in a form of music to every country on our planet,” so their suspicion was justified. But it is a crushing blow for the British singer’s mission.
Stone began her mammoth tour in Morocco in March 2014. Since then she has visited 199 countries, including North Korea, according to her social media accounts. Her last three shows were in Saudi Arabia, Libya and Yemen.
Human rights activists have been fighting for equality in Iran for a long time.
Human rights lawyer Leila Alikamari gave her thoughts on Iran, saying, “Human rights are still seen as a threat to national security by the regime, we were hopeful of changes with Rouhani but it hasn’t happened. This is deep rooted culturally and in the judiciary.”
Other Middle Eastern countries have similar issues. Consistent disregard for women’s equality is the norm.
According to the Guardian, “Male attitudes towards the role of women in the workplace and at home, and of their participation in public life, were stereotypically sexist in the study of views in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and Palestine.”
Hopefully, this will change, but expect it to take time. Until then, Joss Stone won’t be able to perform in Iran, and women will continue to be second class citizens in many Middle Eastern countries.