Iranian Cartoonist Mahmoud Shokraiyeh has been sentenced to a flogging with 25 lashes after drawing a cartoon that showed Arak MP Ahmad Lotfi Ashtiani wearing a football jersey.
Such practices and even imprisoning cartoonists, film makers and artists in Iran has become the norm rather than an exception, as in the case of famed Iranian Cartoonist and illustrator Mana Neyestani and Iranian Director(still in prison) Jafar Panahi. We saw a similar issue against the Syrian Cartoonist, Ali Ferzat whose hands were broken by military police. But Public floging and lashing for drawing a cartoon is taking it to another level.
As Mana Neyestani said, and I am paraphrasing, “I ask my colleagues to pick up their pens and do what Mahmoud Shokrayieh has done: Draw the Arak official without belittling or insulting him, then publish them on their weblogs and sites”
This act goes beyond one individual, the offical from Arak. It is an act against freedom of expression by an ideology that is regressive and suppressive which is against the basic human right to express oneself. No one has the right to physically punish another for one’s expressed views no matter how offensive or revolting they may be. To allow such a freedom is true democracy.
In case of artists, especially cartoonists, flogging one (breaking one pencil) simply means that there will thousands more who will pickup their pencils and draw. I am just one but there will be many many more…. the message from all of the artists around the world is “Hey, Ayatollah…. flog these!”
There is a petition to stop this asinine verdict.
See the Cartoon titled: “Hey Ayatollah, Flog These!” on Facebook.
Kaveh Adel, the Human.
Kaveh Adel, Iranian American Artist and Cartoonist.