Jailed Cartoonist, Riots in Universities & Anniversary of a Victory

Last week Global Voices reported about the cartoon affair and unrest in Azeri community. This affair goes on and Mana Neyestani, the cartoonist who drew this cartoon, and his editor, Mehrdad Ghasemfar, were arrested. Several bloggers discuss this affair again this week.

Birthday in prison

We read in Free Mana blog that Mana’s brother, who is a cartoonist, says he stopped drawing in journals. He wished to see his brother free on his (Mana’s) birthday (Persian). Nickahang, a leading cartoonist & blogger, drew a cartoon to wish happy birthday for his jailed colleague. In this cartoon, a cockroach, presents the cake. As you may remember, the problem started when a cockroach in a cartoon said Namana, which means “What” in Azeri!

Supporting colleagues

Zannevest says that 300 journalists have signed a letter and asked forgiveness for cartoonist and editor who are both in jail. In this letter, journalists explained to Azeri people that cartoonist did not want to insult them and during all these years’ journalists did their best to defend their rights (Persian).

Anger against wrong man

In Fanous, a collective blog, we read:

There are no good news is coming from our Azeri speaking countrymen…They targeted wrongly a cartoonist. It is true for years we made fun of Azeri speaking people and tell jokes about them for years. Now they got opportunity to show their anger.”

Blogger talks about some irrational thoughts among Iranians: some even consider this cartoon a conspiracy mated minded by state run newspaper and then cartoonist as Islamic Republic’s puppet (Persian).

Another top issue is riots in universities in Tehran. According to media, two universities in Tehran were rocked by clashes between students and security forces. Students were also demonstrating to protest the forced retirement of some professors at Tehran University . At the Amir Kabir University, students demonstrated against the intervention of the Basij in elections for members of the Islamic Student Association, one of the few remaining pro-reform groups. Iranian bloggers are discussing these two events.

Reasons to protest

Alpar writes protests in universities have not been for ethnic reasons. This Iran based blogger says a kind of Cultural Revolution movement has started in universities (Persian). According to Alpar several University Professors were forced to retirement. He says :

Basij and other forces intervene in university affairs…During last year a Cleric has been appointed a s head of university and Minister of Sciences does not stop saying nonsense…University is in explosive situation.”

Sedaye farayd says after that Ahmadinejad came to power a real military-security presence started to dominate universities (Persian). The Blogger says :

They wanted the only protest place to remain quiet. During last year Ministry of Sciences appointed people, who can not govern a family, as heads of academic society. All was done to restrict liberty of students and their democratic movements. They want no protest voice raise from university.”

Protest in photos

Abede Tavanche, a blogger and student activist from Amir Kabir University, has published several photos about student protests in this university. The sentence above the photos says people who think the truth is only be broadcast from official TVand radio can look at these photos and think for themselves. He also mentions that riots broke out when the university director and Basij wanted to intervene in the Islamic Student Association election.

Left wing students versus right wing ones?

Bidari says the Amir Kabir Islamic student association is dominated by Marxists, including Abede Tavanche (Persian).The blogger says it seems that the Shiraz Tahkim Vahdat student association asked the Ministry of Sciences to clarify Amir Akbir’s left wing Islamic student association’s legal status.

Anniversary of reformist’s victory is third topic that we discuss here.

A Failed experience

Frankula says: Reformist government fought on two fronts: against strong enemy and against society’s problems (Persian).The blogger adds:

In both fronts, they failed. They knew their enemy but they did not know their society. Why did they not act in a more civilised way with university students? Why did the councils of cities not resolve people’s problems?”

Managing problem

Mohammad Ali Abtahi, reformist politician & blogger, explains us his own experience:

The left parties which were later called Reformists were influenced by the power and some of them did not recognize the reality of the country and increased the level of expectations to the extent that in a country like Iran with this power structure no one could have fulfilled such expectations and therefore any action taken was considered as a trivial matter by people. Another point which surprised reformists and did not let them find a clear way for managing reformism was lack of a clear-cut border between the reformists who wanted to do reform within the framework of the present structure and the oppositions who wished to overthrow the government.”


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