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Wide awake
Mahmoud's molla cartoons

By Jahanshah Javid
August 9, 2003
The Iranian

I woke up this morning in a particularly bad mood. No particular reason. I sat behind the computer and I knew that I did NOT want to update the site. There was nothing in my immediate view that looked remotely tempting.

So I started talking to my fiance and at the same time tried to find something bloody interesting and original. She said I look so angry I could bite her head off. I forced a smile.

Suddenly I got an email from Mahmoud, one of my favourite cartoonists:

I have a surprise for you. As you know I don't have many cartoons about political figures, because politicians are the last people I like! But here I had to laugh myself. I am sending you 3 emails, each with 3 new cartoons, all about Iranian Akhoonds. Figures are not so important, but the dialogues and conversations. So it is more text than cartoon.

I kissed my fiance. She gave me that look: Why the sudden outburst of joy from depths of darkness?

I love Mahmoud's cartoons. It's pulp cartoon, if there is a such a term. And it oozes the kind of cheese only we can taste to the fullest. So I was thrilled to get the new cartoons. I thought they would be perfect for a cover story.

First of all they're funny, and I had begged Mahmoud to send me a large set of cartoons for a cover story on ANY subject.

Second, he's making fun of mollas, which there's too little of in iranian.com for my own pleasure and comfort. I mean really... who else deserves to be lampooned more? If you're Iranian, it's a sure bet you dislike (or how about care less for, detest, oppose?) mollas more than any other group of people you can think of. This is not just a disgruntled former IRI supporter speaking. It's gone way beyond that. It's as close as to certain reality as you can get.

And finally, I want to use Mahmoud's cartoons to make a point.

In recent months the Islamic Republic has blocked access to many of the most popular Iranian web sites and weblogs. Two days ago, some 200 journalists in Iran went on strike to protest the murder of a photographer in judicial custody, continued clampdowm on the press and the imprisonment of more than a dozen prominent writers and journalists.

I just want to let them know that I'm exercising the free speech they so wish for and deserve and will have. And it feels really good.

But it has come at a cost. My fiance has gone to sleep -- and I miss her.

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