“If it’s not on the cartoon channel, I don’t see it.”
The cartoons are now part of the nuclear crisis in Iran.
“The Muslim world is vigilant”, Haddad-Adel said. “As they have expressed outrage and protest at the desecration of the prophet of Islam, they will not keep silent against bullying remarks under the pretext of a resolution of the UN nuclear agency”.
“Give me a letter asking the American soldiers not to kill me,” a friend asks me. It’s half a joke, half serious. Iranians really worry about the effects of being referred to the Security Council.
“You mean even the Russians voted against us?” a taxi driver asks in disbelief. K explains for him.
“Only Syria, Venezuela, and Cuba voted against the resolution.”
“Syria, Venezuela, and Cuba? You mean the Chinese voted against us too?”
“The IAEA does not trust that Iran has told the full truth.”
The driver just accepts this. Like very other Iranian, he knows there is no arguing with that comment.
“Why do we have such bad luck?” the driver asks.
“Well we have a president who cannot even accept the fact that 6 million Jews were killed in gas chambers and asks for Israel to be wiped off the map. Not even the Palestinians ask for this, but we have to.”
“What difference does that make?”
“What if Bush said that there was no war with Iraq and that over 1 million people did not die in that war? How do you think that would make us feel?”
Destination reached. An informal gathering that includes Iranians, Iraninan-kharigi, an Indian or three or four, some Australians, and us…
Talk of cartoon mania. “I could start a riot in India with these two posters.” Shows us the Ali and Hossein posters that grace the streets of Iran.
“Some Iranians tell me that those paintings are not really of Ali or Hossein, but of their friends.”
“I was visiting family who showed me a light-up painting of Ali. They did not say it was of one of his friends.”
“We also have a friend who keeps a 300-year old painting of Mohammad hidden in her bedroom. ‘They say there are no paintings of Mohammad, but I have one,’ she brags.”
“But still, it’s a pretty lame expression of free speech. Especially given the fact that the Muslim communities in Northern Europe feel so marginalized and under attack, which, of course, does not excuse the reaction.”
“Muslims are thinned skin.”
“You have to have a thicker skin in this world…”
After much discussion an agreement was made: “Mono-cultures are bad.”
Well my friend the entomologist agrees. She always told me that mono-cultures can be quickly destroyed by disease.