In a brave act of defiance that has sparked a global conversation, Iranian model Mahlagha Jaberi recently leveraged the prestigious Cannes Film Festival as a platform to bring attention to human rights abuses in her home country.
Making a Statement Through Style
Jaberi's decision to attend the festival dressed in an unconventional gown has stirred a whirlwind of reactions. The model, who was dressed in a long black dress adorned with a bow-style decoration designed by Jila Saber, has subtly used her outfit to voice protests against the regime's executions in Iran.
The back of the dress bore a hidden inscription that read "stop executions", a message that was largely unnoticed during the event due to the festival's restrictions on political statements. At the age of 33, Jaberi has made it clear that she isn't just a model, but a socially aware individual willing to use her platform for a cause that hits close to home.
However, her choice of protest has met with mixed responses, leading to an animated debate about the appropriateness of her method.
Divided Opinions and the Power of Activism
Prominent journalist Yashar Ali took to Twitter to criticize Jaberi's method of protest, labelling it as "disgraceful." Ali expressed his outrage saying, "As innocent Iranians are being executed, @MahlaghaJaberi thought it would be a good idea to wear a dress that has a noose sewn into it...
Absolutely disgraceful all around."
In response to the backlash, Jaberi explained that her intention was to draw global media attention to the illegal executions occurring in Iran.
As innocent Iranians are being executed, @MahlaghaJaberi thought it would be a good idea to wear a dress that has a noose sown into it and then film a seductive video using a song that has become an anthem for protestors.
Absolutely disgraceful all around.
And then to end the… pic.twitter.com/0gbbxk3GP5 — Yashar Ali ? (@yashar) May 29, 2023
Due to the constraints placed upon her during the festival, she had opted to hide her message on the dress, a poignant move that has since sparked a flurry of interest and debate. Highlighting the severity of the situation in Iran, the Norway-based Iran Human Rights Organization reported that at least 90 people had been executed in Iran since May 1.
The country continues to reel under severe US, EU, and UN sanctions, imposed due to a myriad of human rights violations and its ongoing nuclear program.