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« Terrorist Bombs West Bank Checkpoint | Main | ISRAPUNDIT »

August 11, 2004


Brett Chatz


There appears to be no end in sight to the depths to which the Iranian regime is willing to sink. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the charismatic leader of the world’s most vitriolic regime, has implicitly sanctioned the project – A holocaust cartoon festival. A prominent Iranian newspaper, Hamshahri, owned and operated by the Tehran Municipality under the guardianship of the presidency of Iran is running the cartoon fest; this in an attempt to test the Western nations’ resolve in respect of freedom of expression in the press.

A regime founded on hatred and espousing the idea of the extermination of the Jewish people and the State of Israel is what feeds the Iranian leadership and its citizenry. This is a front for a much broader objective: the elimination of Western influence in Arab affairs. Whether or not you support the notion of Arabia for the Arab nations or not, a fact of life is that there will always be a multi-cultural world which we all inhabit. The argument of the Iranian leadership holds no ground. Their propaganda machine has so successfully infiltrated and manipulated the minds of the masses that only through such diseased methodology can a cartoon festival depicting the massacre of six-million Jews and countless non-Jews as some good fun be implemented.

There is no other way to view the notion other than as an overt act of provocation, much like the now public knowledge that Iran did in fact supply Hezbollah guerillas with weapons to attack Israel. Everyone in the media world determines credibility of information from its source; whether this account of proceedings was written by a Jew, a Muslim or a Christian matters not – the truth is all pervasive. It is now apparent that Iran is intent on developing a nuclear arsenal and it is clear that the initial object of Iranian ‘affection’ is the State of Israel. Do not for a second think the buck stops with Israel. Anyone who would have the audacity to dispute such a notion is clearly out of sorts with reality. When the Danish cartoons aired there was widespread condemnation from the Jewish community; the Christian community and the Muslim world when the Prophet was depicted with a missile in his turban. Why try to evoke further outrage by sadistically playing on the raw emotions of surviving relatives of the Holocaust? Why try to minimise the heartache and grief shared by millions of Jews the world over?

This scenario is all too familiar: The National Socialist German Workers Party did as much in the early 1930’s; the Iranians are doing it now. When Hitler decided to rearm following the 1929 depression, the world stood by and appeased the tyrant. When Germany marched through the Sudetenland, the world stood by and appeased the tyrant. When Germany occupied Czechoslovakia, Chamberlain appeased the tyrant and claimed he had made peace in his time. What happened? Pray tell? Make no error – history always repeats itself. The now famous cartoon depicting the Nazi march through the Rhineland rings true: “Goosey, Goosey Gander; whither dost thou wander? Only through the Rhineland – pray excuse my blunder!”

One might be forgiven for thinking that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad actually had the interests of freedom of speech and expression at heart, but when the news and disinformation services in Iran are completely dominated and sanctioned by the office of the executive – who is kidding whom? That Ahmadinejad called the Holocaust a myth and his repeated calls for the State of Israel to be wiped off the face of the planet are a matter of public record only tells the world one thing: the Iranian leadership is rotten to the core. In the words of South African poet Sipho Sepamla: “We are free to roam within prescribed boundaries” – this is the real freedom enjoyed by Iranians. So long as Iranians declare unswerving loyalty to the iniquitous regime are they free; so long as the Iranian Media toes the party line are they free; so long as the Iranian leadership is firmly entrenched and meets no opposition are they free. So pray tell – where is this freedom they speak of?

When the Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad sparked worldwide controversy and furore, advocates of freedom of expression throughout the European world were divided on what constitutes freedom of expression and what was offensive to the religious sanctity of followers of Islam. It was a no-brainer; if a cartoon attacks the very essence of a person’s religious persuasion or cultural heritage, then it should be disallowed – no questions asked. The offensive cartoon was slated by people the world over, with the exception of several print and media houses whose determination to see the freedom of expression entrenched remained strong. It is clear that if something is offensive and inflammatory to a person’s religion or identity it should not be publicised – so where is the debate on the Holocaust cartoons?

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