Although they are not allowed to study in their mother tongue, a video of female Arab students in Ahwaz dancing to an Arabic song at their school surfaced on social media, which grabbed the attention of many as it was seen as a challenge to the authorities who ban singing and dancing in public to begin with.
A video had spread lately of the Arab girls in primary school dancing to a well-known folkloric Arabic song called “Hamoudi Ze’al”.
Accordingly, the debate over preserving Arab heritage and the right to be educated in one's mother language surfaced again.
The Iranian authorities had prohibited non-Persian minority students from officially learning their languages in schools, despite the fact that the Constitution affirms this right.
Information on the exact time and place that the video was recorded remains unknown, but many speculated that it was recorded in one of the primary schools in Ahwaz or one of the neighboring Arab cities.
The video shows a group of Arab Ahwazi girls dancing to a modern version of an old Arabic song called “Hamoudi Ze’al”.
The modern version, by the Ahwazi singer “Hamed al-Neisi”, amused the girls and made them dance while the school headmaster danced with them as well.
The original song is part of the Arab Ahwazi folkloric heritage and it is usually played at wedding ceremonies, which made it close to the students’ identity and made them dance enthusiastically.
However, the widely-spread video raised a movement on social media, asking the authorities to apply Article 15 of the Iranian constitution, which states allowing teaching different languages at schools in Iran.
The video also highlighted the necessity to preserve the folklore of various ethnicities in Iran, including that of the Arabs.
Article 15 of the Iranian constitution states that: “The Official language and script of Iran, the lingua franca of its people, is Persian. Official documents, correspondence, and texts, as well as text-books, must be in this language and script. However, the use of regional and tribal languages in the press and mass media, as well as for teaching of their literature in schools, is allowed in addition to Persian.”