A commitment to truth and justice and a desire to correct an imbalance in Iranian media lay behind a recent SAT-7 Insiders programme that marked Holocaust Memorial Day.
The episode, produced in SAT-7’s UK Persian language studio, featured a report from the Jewish Museum in London and conversation with widely respected Bible teacher and author Arman Roshdi.
“As a result of the Holocaust and World War ll, some Jews fled Germany and came to Iran, where there is still a sizeable Jewish population,” says Insiders producer, Moe Pooladfar. “It’s important to mark this international day of commemoration to raise awareness and respect for all those who were affected. As others around the world mark this anniversary with exhibitions, concerts and films, at SAT-7 PARS we felt the need to join in to remember this day.”
Moe continued: “There is much anti-Semitism inside Iran and very little in the way of balanced TV shows or documentaries in Farsi to describe the events and some of the facts around it. It seems to be a taboo subject.
“Behind all these prejudices there might be a greater spiritual warfare and Farsi-speaking Christians need more in-depth knowledge, though in one show we could only touch the tip of the iceberg.”
During her report from the Jewish Museum, Hengameh, one of the show’s two presenters, introduced viewers both to the terrible scale of the Holocaust and to the heart-rending stories of some of the victims and Holocaust survivors.
Ignorance and even denial of the Holocaust is quite common in Iran, so the programme thoroughly covered the facts and historical evidence. In conversation with Arman, presenters Sally and Hengameh outlined the historical and economic background to the rise of Nazism. Then they explained the gradual process by which anti-Semitic policies were implemented, firstly stripping Jews of their influence, then of their assets, the displacement to ghettos, and then transportation to death camps.
The episode acknowledged that other groups including those with physical and mental disabilities were also targeted for extermination.
Insiders is a live, interactive programme that invites viewers to call in and express their opinions, whether they agree or disagree with the message being given. On this occasion, the first caller said he was positive towards Jewish people and described them as God’s people.
After his contribution, Sally said that the role of the channel is to allow viewers to be involved in the discussion and express their viewpoints. She did so in such a way as to clarify that we don’t necessarily agree with all the opinions expressed by all viewers.
Arman explained that Holocaust Memorial Day also marks other genocides, such as those in Rwanda and in Cambodia. And he reminded viewers that the Holocaust by Nazi Germany targeted Poles, Russians and a quarter of a million people with physical or mental disabilities– all on the grounds that they were inferior people.
“The point is that we are against any extremism that tramples and harms human dignity,” Arman concluded.
Pray: Ask for courage, sensitivity and God’s wisdom for SAT-7 producers, presenters and guests as they seek to bring God’s perspective on many important but sensitive subjects within their own cultures. Pray that viewers – both Christian and non-Christian – will have receptive hearts.