14 December 2009

Iranian Photo Battles ~ Veiled Criticism

Last week both The Guardian [1] and The New York Times [2] [3] [4] reported on the Internet chador wars currently underway in Iran. The government fired the opening salvo when the state news agency Fars published photos of a student leader - Majid Tavakoli - who has been arrested and remains in custody. In the photographs Tavakoli, who is highly critical of the regime, was forced to wear Islamic chador and maghnaeh, the female headscarf.

What the authorities apparently intended as a means of humiliating a critic had a surprising effect - it generated Internet solidarity, as scores of Iranian men posted pictures of themselves on various social networking sites wearing headscarves. Here is a sample:

Critics then escalated their reply by posting photo-shopped images of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wearing the veil as well.

Not only do the opposition web sites proclaim "We are all Majid Tavakoli!" (You too Ayatolla?) but the veiled men in the photos make clear that the images are intended as a rebuke to the official practice of compelling Iranian women to wear the chador. Perhaps the regime has made a massive mis-step here.

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Blogger Stan B. said...


15 December, 2009 10:53  

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