The farting Ayatollahs

Kamangir, January 6:

When I wrote a piece about how the Islamic Republic benefits from turning the Ayatollahs into holy figures, in my Persian blog [Persian], I had no idea about the backlash it would create. The reactions, however, offer a good insight into what the main problem in Iran is. It is not Ahmadinejad or the Ayatollahs who have “corrupted” Iran, as some people like to put it. It is the corrupted framework of thought they have infested Iran with which is the core problem.

In the post, for which I had used the title “The Picture of the Day: Ayatolah, Fart, and a Question”, I had used a picture, also shown here, which is taken less than a week ago in Jamaran, the old residence of Ayatollah Khomeini, the former leader of the Islamic Republic. The picture shows a lady touching the window of his room, because “it is blessed”. The picture also shows a couch Ayatollah used to sit on and recite Quran. It is now covered by a white cloth and is in effect “blessed”, for many Iranians. The woman is a family member of a martyr, as this group of visitors is described by the state-run Fars News, but, nevertheless, the reactions showed that many other Iranians share the same point of view, to different extents.

In the post I implicitly referred to the propaganda of the regime, which through very deliberate use of music and light, portrays Khomeini as a saint (see this example on YouTube). I had asked, “This couch is an important piece of furniture to this woman, not because of the history behind it, but because it has been touched by the Ayatollah. Now the question is, knowing that the Ayatollah was a very old man, is it not possible that he had to pass his gas, right on the couch, at least once?” I had continued, “Now, the question is, how many of these worshipers do you think will not slap you on the face if you tell them that someone has farted on this holy couch?”

Text and images ©2023 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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