This cartoon, if we would replace the Israeli and Iranian flags on the politicians’ pulpits by other flags, would also be meaningful for other countries where wars threaten to break out.
By Andres Jauregui:
Mana Neyestani’s Controversial Political Cartoon Goes Viral
04/3/2012 5:44 pm Updated: 04/5/2012 3:01 pm
At a time when the rhetoric surrounding Israel and Iran has become particularly hawkish and inundated with fears of nuclear weapons and threats of preemptive air strikes, “hope” can seem like a four-letter word.
But a political cartoon by an expatriate Iranian graphic artist has stuck a chord with communities of people across the Internet. The message? A desire for peace that transcends nationalism and subverts political leadership.
The cartoon, which first appeared on the official Facebook fan page of the artist Mana Neyestani on March 23, depicts pairs of outstretched hands exchanging roses from under a set of opposing podiums bearing the flags of Israel and Iran. From atop their podiums, angry pundits engage in a shouting match represented by empty word bubbles shaped like bombs.
At time of writing, the illustration had garnered more than 6,800 Facebook “likes” and 2,100 shares from the artist’s page, where many commenters wrote supportive messages in Persian, English and Spanish. It also receive more than 3,000 separate likes and shares through at least one other English-language repost.
The cartoon arrives on the heels of several high-profile denunciations of potential acts of war between Iran and Israel from Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who called the prospect of armed conflict “a nightmare” and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said that air strikes on Iran by Israel would have “disastrous” consequences for the Middle East.
Turkey will host diplomatic talks between Iran and a group of world powers — the U.S., France, Britain, China, Russia, and Germany — beginning on April 13.
Born in 1973, Neyestani began his career as an editorial cartoonist in 1990. He was arrested in 2006 and spent two months in prison following riots sparked by a cartoon he drew that appeared in a state-run Iranian newspaper. He lived in Malaysia from 2007 to 2011, and now lives in Paris.
The Huffington Post contacted Neyestani via e-mail for comment, but had not received a response by time of publication.
UPDATE: Shortly after post time, Neyestani responded to The Huffington Post’s request for comment, adding that he was inspired to draw the cartoon after encountering a campaign by Israeli and Iranian pacifists on Facebook.
“I liked the concept that the pacifists try to separate themselves from the governments and encourage each other. I drew this cartoon [last] week to support the campaign and the pacifists of two countries,” Neyestani wrote in an e-mail.
Enlisting Michelle Obama – and the American Public – to Stop War on Iran. Medea Benjamin and Rae Abileah, Common Dreams: “On Friday, March 30, First Lady Michelle Obama received an unusual request at her San Francisco fundraiser. Instead of ‘Can I have a picture with you?,’ one major donor asked, ‘Will you use your leadership to prevent an attack on Iran?’ Kristin Hull hand delivered to Ms. Obama a petition against war on Iran that was signed by prominent women including Gloria Steinem, Alice Walker, and Eve Ensler, and over 20,000 American women and allies”: here.
Raising Their Voices”: Iranian Intellectuals Speak Out Against War: here.
The US and Iran Are Talking. Why Is the New York Times Peddling Iran Islamophobia? Robert Naiman, Truthout: “The New York Times has suggested to its readers that Iran’s supreme leader is uniquely and intrinsically untrustworthy when he says that Iran will never pursue a nuclear weapon. Why? Because, according to the Times, Iran’s leaders are Shiites and Shiites have a religious doctrine called ‘taqiyya,’ which allows them to lie. No scholar or analyst was cited by The New York Times in support of this argument, which should have been a red flag for Times’ editors for an argument claiming that the leadership of a country against which the United States has threatened war is essentially different from us because they belong to a different religion”: here.
Ali Gharib, ThinkProgress: “The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported yesterday on a series of viral videos produced by a new organization TheLandOfIsrael.com offering justifications for an Israeli attack on Iran. JTA notes the videos, littered with factual errors, misleading half-truths, and comparisons between Iran and Nazi Germany, have been viewed millions of times on YouTube. Many of the clips in the films, including one of Mitt Romney’s controversial adviser Walid Phares, are drawn from the documentary ‘Iranium,’ a film by the Islamophobic organization Clarion Fund that also pushed a hawkish perspective on Iran”: here.