About a week ago, a Chicago newspaper, The Colombus Dispatch, published a cartoon that depicts Iran as a sewer with cockroaches crawling out of it. The cartoon has created intense discussion among Iranian bloggers, especially those living in North America.
Iranians as cockroaches
Iranian Truth says, it is no small thing:
“In fact, this trend of dehumanization is apparent in almost every epic of genocide, massacre, war, and atrocity including the Cambodian genocide massacres, the the massacres of Serbs and Bosnians in the Yugoslav wars, the Armenian genocide, and the Holocaust.”
The blogger has also senta letter of protest to Dispatch editors.
Racist cartoons in Iran
Kamangir does not share the same sense of outrage. He says, “Following the issue about the cartoon in The Columbus Dispatch, I did quick research on cartoons published in the [Iranian] state-run newspaper Kayhan whose head is appointed by the Supreme Leader. The result? See it for yourself.”
The blogger says:
“Some people in the Iranian blogosphere have felt insulted after The Columbus Dispatch published a cartoon “resembling Iran to a sewer with cockroaches coming out of it”. The issue has also attracted NIAC’s [National Iranian-American Council] attention, “By publishing this racist cartoon, the editors of the Dispatch have insulted and propagated hate against the Iranian American community”. Guys! Cool down! No one is saying you are a cockroach. Someone has practiced his freedom to say that Iran is acting like a source of trouble for the Middle East. Does anyone think this sentence is wrong?”
Us and them
Nik Ahangkosar, a blogger and a popular cartoonist, says [Fa]: “Freedom of expression does not mean that we can publish whatever we want.” The blogger says we need to protect the feelings of all ethnic groups, and adds that freedom is a relative concept that depends on our place, beliefs, tradition, rules and many other elements.
“What is the use even if we mange to force the Columbus Dispatch to apologize? Would it be the end? Unfortunately, we are the cause of it ourselves. As long as we identify ourselves as Iranians we are one with whatever is Iranian, Ahmadinejad and Khameneii included. Don’t you hear Ahmadinejad’s speeches everyday? Don’t you get angry and disgusted? Do you think he portrays us much better than those cartoons? I don’t think any of us wants to admit he is one of us, an Iranian. But he is, and the whole world sees it that way, no matter how hard we try to separate ourselves from him. For sure, these Americans won’t see us differently, and they don’t have to. If we need to be respected collectively, we should be respectable collectively and need to act respectfully, all us Iranians.”