‘The Aryan Winter’

The Middle East is plagued by conflicts, ethnic tensions, tribalism and religious upheavals and yet for two hundred years the western media has misinterpreted the region. The wests erroneous depiction of Iranians and Kurds who reside in the Aryan region has been widely overlooked.

The Aryan Winter is a feature length (90 Minutes) BBC Four documentary that scrutinizes a misheard generation, a generation ranging from the turbulent years of the Iran and Iraq war to the Kurdish war of independence and the PKK resistance against the hegemony of Turkey, a generation that the BBC now admits to now being silent on.

The film documents in detail the stories of various peoples from this region, such as women freedom fighters from Kurdistani Iraq, to left wing militants after the 1979 revolution in Iran. Each interview is intercut with others and their stories are segmented in to chapters, such as ‘political refugees’ or ‘living in exile’. This is significant to many people of the region; their lives are cut and thus the fragmentation of the narrative is relevant.

Unfortunately, due to a problematic past, the BBC has a troubled relation with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Visas are not given to filmmakers or journalists and due to the very sensitive and often-turbulent periods within modern Iran, it is very unlikely the government would give permission for such a film to be made within Iran. Consequently the interviews were shot outside Iran such as the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Norway.

Kurdistani Iraq is different and is freer in its approach to open media. Members of the KRG and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan have offered assistance by providing interviewees and locations for the various shoots.

The Aryan Winter is unique in its approach; it antagonizes an orientalist perception in the west that an Arab population, with one culture and one religion, populates the Middle East. To fully understand the ‘Middle Eastern Problem’ one must take in to account that the Aryan population is larger than Egypt and North Africa’s and with greater influence.

Many within the media discuss the cause and effect of the Arab spring, but little is spoken of the Aryan Winter.

By: Ari Murad – Filmmaker, video-journalist