The epic of the Arbaeen Pilgrimage, despite its high capacities and potentials, has not yet received the attention that it truly deserves by scholars, analysts and artists of the Islamic world. The global mainstream media has pursued a policy of silence and disregard toward the greatest gathering of pilgrims in the Islamic world, which has turned into a political revolutionary march against the oppressive world order.
The fact that there have been very few “systematic” attempts by artists and filmmakers to capture and display this grand pilgrimage shows the extent to which negative propaganda has been successful even within the Islamic world, especially Iran.
The first international photo and film festival of the journey of love is an attempt to reverse this trend and respond to the needs that are in place in this particular realm. This festival has many important dimensions which should not be compared with other festivals in the world.
The epic of Ashura and Moharam is interwoven in our spirits and it transcends political and ethnic affiliation. Arbaeen is the gathering of ideologies, values, tastes and political views under the unified umbrella of Imam Hussain (pbuh). Other festivals come and go, but the Journey of Love will be preserved in the hearts and minds of anyone who associates with it.
Furthermore, unlike many film festivals that emphasize on form and technique, the Journey of Love is a festival of compassion. Also other considerations in structure and design, such as the simultaneous holding of the event in Mashhad and Karbala, are among the distinguishing features of this festival.
History is shaped by cornerstones. The Iranian Islamic revolution and the epic of Arbaeen are clear instances of these cornerstones. The global mainstream media, despite its relative disregard for this historic occasion had to admit that this is the largest gathering of Islamic pilgrims in the world. The international business times has written about this annual event: “More than 22 million pilgrims march towards Karbala, outshining the Hajj with 2 million pilgrims. This can indeed be considered unprecedented.”
BBC also reported regarding the Arbaeen Walk: “The presence of 22 million pilgrims for their religious beliefs or as a political demonstration has clearly stunned the world. People ask themselves, what sort of impact does the message of Ashura have on these pilgrims?” In a world saturated by injustice and greed and love of material procession, the Arbaeen pilgrimage is a great source of compassion, spirituality and self transcendence.