Friday, June 22, 2018

Reader's Diary #1854- Mana Neyestani: An Iranian Metamorphosis

More than once I've expressed my shock and admiration for those cartoonists who tackle their home country's tyrannical regimes. The bravery that this must take!

Mana Neyestani's story is likewise brave but one feels the Iranian government inadvertently pushed him in that direction. According to Neyestani, he never set out to be controversial at all. Writing for the children's section of a newspaper, he accidentally insults a cultural group (who believed they were being called cockroaches, hence the connection to Kafka alluded to in the title). This group gets angrier and angrier and the Iranian government imprisons Neyestani believing him to have orchestrated a violent upheaval on purpose. He is denied a fair trial and interrogated mercilessly.

While he has since escaped Iran I nonetheless view his portrayal of his ordeal as brave; he must know that his likelihood of returning safely to his birth country has been vastly decreased.

I also found the inadvertent racial slur angle to be quite fascinating from a 2018 perspective. No one is denying that they shouldn't have been offended, but the reaction by the Iranian government is so over the top. It might cause some pause for thought for those who are so quick to condemn mistakes on social media; how far should their wrath go? Where is the line between taking victims seriously and due process? How drastic should a culprits sentence be?

One minor issue is the abrupt ending. There is a conclusion but it wraps up in a single page text-only epilogue.

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