Monday, May 29, 2006

Cartoons of Revolution?

It looks like Iran is having cartoon troubles. Not Mohammed Cartoons. Cockroach cartoons.

On May 12, the newspaper ran a cartoon in which a boy repeated the Persian word for cockroach in several ways while the uncomprehending bug in front of him says "What?" in Azeri, Reuters reported. Azeris, a Turkic ethnic group, make up about 25 percent of Iran’s 70 million people.

Protests broke out after the publication and gained momentum this week. Protesters set fire May 21 to Iran’s local office in the city of Orumiyeh, where Azeris make up the majority, media reported. Azeris pelted government buildings and security forces with stones in Tabriz, injuring several policemen, according to news reports. Police dispersed the crowds with tear gas and arrested several dozen rioters.
It seems that the cartoonist was Azeri. This is just a guess but I'd say he was just protesting the treatment of Azeris.
* The cartoonist's name is Mana Neyestani, and he was the paper's staff cartoonist.
* Neyestani is a member of the Azeri minority that was insulted by the cartoon.
* Size of minority in Iran: roughly 25 percent of 70 million Iranians.
Evidently some folks agree with my guess.
I was surprised that the separatists took the cartoon as an excuse to cause such a turmoil. Hundreds of thousands were on the streets yesterday. The government closed the paper and arrested Mana and the editor to settle the case, but it hasn't worked yet.
Gateway Pundt has some more info and lots of links and some pictures. Regime Change Iran has pictures with translations of some of the signs.Iranian Woman has a pretty good analysis of what is going on:
Wake up and smell the gunpowder. Revolutions don't wait for calendar dates. Many times they happen over seemingly unimportant things. An attempt by the Romanian government to evict a dissident Hungarian Reformed pastor led to fall of Ceauşescu's regime. Probably few Romanians knew about the existence of the pastor before he became part of that nation's history. The Islamic revolution started from an article in the daily Ettela’at. It is time for students, workers, and minorities to rise up in a coordinated fashion. The mullahs will find it increasingly difficult to continue their rule. The mullahs know it and are therefore scared to death. That's one of the reasons why they are literally begging to talk to the Americans. The idiots think that the Americans are planting the seeds of the revolt or that talking to the Americans will demoralize the people. They are wrong. The mullahs’ rule has expired because the mullahs don't belong to this age. They belong to an age when stoning, mutilation, and blinding were considered norm. The tolerance of the Army and the Pasdaran to obey "shoot an kill" orders is limited as demonstrated in Qazvin's unrest in 1995. Therefore the regime has to rely on its thugs (i.e. Basij), but the effectiveness of that force is limited too. A coordinated move will bring down the regime.
Check out the CIA fact book to learn more about Iran, its economy, and population.

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Hat tip Instapundit.

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