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AHA! Presents: Rocking Theocracy, The Casualty Process at Stanford

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On October 27th, 2011, the student group Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics weird(AHA!) at Stanford hosted the Persian band “The Casualty Process”, for an intimate music concert followed by a discussion and Q&A session. The show was hosted in the Bechtel International Center on Stanford Campus, and saw approximately 50 attendees. Also involved in advertising and helping run the show was the Persian Student Association at Stanford. Sponsors included the Secular Student Alliance, the graduate and undergraduate student governments, and the Stanford international center’s Billie Achilles fund. The funds went towards plane flights and show fees for the band, and music equipment rentals (big speakers!).

The Casualty Process is an electronic rock project from the Tehran underground music scene. Originally formed by Natch and his sister Cis, The Casualty Process (TCP) currently features Natch on guitar, vocals, and customized midi controller, and Shayan on guitar, bass, and vocals. Natch and Shayan rose to international notoriety with their previous project, The Plastic Wave, for whom performances in Iran were illegal because of their female lead singer.

Our goal in hosting The Casualty Process was primarily to encourage dialogue about the effects of censorship and religious suppression of free speech in an international scope. AHA! at Stanford takes a strong stand in support of free speech, and we thought that bringing these artists to Stanford to share their experiences (as well as their music) would allow us to reach out to a broad segment of the student population and get them thinking about the interplay of religion, international censorship issues, free speech, and art.

The event was a success, bringing members of both AHA! and the Persian Student Association, but also many more new faces, including those from the international community. The concert lasted about an hour, with the crowd standing and enjoying the great music. Afterwards, we sat down for an intimate discussion with the two band members, who were extremely open and illuminating when answering audience questions. They told their story of struggle against a government regime that is vehemently opposed to their form of artistic expression.

The band, our two student groups, and the audience seemed to enjoy the whole experience, combining entertainment with intellectually stimulating discussion. A student reporter from the Stanford Daily was also in attendance, and wrote an article about the event.

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