Trying to make conversations about freedom relevant is an ongoing challenge for middle and high school civics teachers. Our students have a difficult time understanding the level of basic freedom the constitution affords us. Recently a group of young adults in Iran were arrested for making a music video depicting them dancing to Pharrell’s song “Happy”. The video and its accompanying story are an excellent way to help students understand our basic freedoms.
Begin by having students view the music video We Are Happy From Tehran. Encourage them to clap along, and even get up and dance to the song.
Then ask them questions about their impressions of the video. Was it similar to other videos they’ve seen? How were the people dressed? How did the people act in the video? The read the following quote to them
“After a vulgar clip which hurt public chastity was released in cyberspace, police decided to identify those involved in making that clip,” Tehran police chief Hossein Sajedinia was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.
All six of the youths in the video were arrested for making this video. Discuss how these views are different from their initial thoughts about the video and how that comes from their world view.