Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Columbus Dispatch Cartoon

One more cartoon, one more insult, one more humiliation, and a million more protests. I hope this time we learn what we must learn, what we should have learned long time ago and did not. It is hard to believe but true that we live in a biased and fanatic country. We live somewhere that racism and sexism and fanaticism is as widespread as anywhere else in the world with the difference that we the immigrants do not want to believe it. A young Iranian journalist, Gelareh Asayesh, in her memoir very eloquently showed that in the process of immigrating to the US

one endures so much that it is hard to return even if one wants to. This is true on all account. We come here, either by choice or by forces beyond our control, the process of adjustment takes so much from us that we have to close our eyes and become callous towards many things that the pain becomes unbearable we protest only for the wrong reasons.

We rely so much on what we call objectivity and fairness and we assume that Americans, being so modern and sophisticated, are infallible in those regards that when we see those cartoons we become “saddened.” To tell you the truth, I don’t feel saddened. Not that I don’t feel bad that some idiot portrays us as cockroaches, but because it happens so often and almost everyday, one way or the other, that it loses its effect.

Did not we protest against the movie 300? Did not we protest against the Pope’s speech? And the Danish cartoon? We did. Though we did nothing or said nothing when we ourselves did no better, portraying ourselves as mean or handicapped. Did you not read Reading Lolita in Tehran? Did you not hear of Camelia? The authors were not American or Danish, they were one of us indeed.

The other issue closely connected to this constant disappointment is this artificial line that we have drawn between ourselves. We artificially separated ourselves from some seventy million other Iranians. In a way it is true we live differently and are different from those ruling in Iran. It is true we constantly become embarrassed by the government which does not represent us. However, not everybody knows these tiny, thin differences. Why should they? We need to draw this line because we need it for our survival, but that division is totally immaterial to the cartoonist who has to compete with a thousand others and won’t get to the front pages of newspaper unless he sensationalizes.

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. It is time to learn that either we are Iranians or not. If we are, we share that with a whole nation. Not such a happy face, right?

1 comment:

Hooman said...

Hi, Great Blog , I totally agree with your points , Iranians need to learn how to speak for themselves and they need to take action for change otherwise we will have to tolorate all these nonesence and put up with it everyday, this is really sad. Please keep up the good job your doing great.Hooman