Well…this is one for the books.
On the other side of the planet, an international art exhibition has been held in remembrance of American George Floyd, who was horrifically killed by police officers in Minneapolis on May 25th.
It’s no surprise the incident has stoked protest, including in the art world. It’s a worthy cause: A stance against injustice is a right and virtuous thing, and one upon which virtually all can agree.
The I Can’t Breathe exhibit happens to go far beyond issues of American police brutality, depicting Donald Trump as Hitler and American law enforcement as the KKK.
[Warning: The following video features very disturbing images]
Tehran Hosts “I Can’t Breathe” Cartoon Exhibition: America, Trump, Police Depicted with Nazi, KKK Imagery; Star of David Shown Crushing the Neck of a Dove pic.twitter.com/2YEbsfXaHo
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) June 14, 2020
But here’s perhaps the most curious thing about the show: It was sponsored by Iran.
When you think of beacons of hope in the quest for human rights…when you ponder the planet’s paragons of justice…is Iran your go-to?
As reported by The Daily Wire and shared via a Middle East Media Research Institute report, Masoud Shoja Tabtabaei — director of the Center for Visual Arts in Hozeh Honari — explained the exhibit to state television:
“After we witnessed the bitter incident…we also witnessed a wave of protests in America, and it has spread to other western countries. … In our view, the fire was smoldering underneath the ashes, and it has now erupted. This is not only happening in America. We are witnessing a wave of protests against racial discrimination in all Western countries. We invited our friends, the artists, to accompany us in this. The result is 72 pieces by 45 artists from 27 countries.”
In perhaps a not-altogether unrelated story, as per The Guardian, Iran executes citizens for being gay.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif defended the policy last year:
“Our society has moral principles. And we live according to these principles. These are moral principles concerning the behavior of people in general. And that means that the law is respected and the law is obeyed.”
Here’s more on the Western Asian country from TDW:
An increase in gasoline prices sparked a massive wave of protests against the Iranian regime last year. The government responded forcefully, killing potentially hundreds of its own citizens in an effort to quell the backlash against its government. An Iranian economy devastated by U.S. sanctions contributed to the unrest and anger against the regime.
“The recent use of lethal force against people throughout the country is unprecedented, even for the Islamic Republic and its record of violence,” Omid Memarian, the deputy director at the Center for Human Rights in Iran, told The New York Times in December.
Back to the exhibit, one work portrayed a Star of David crushing the neck of a dove.
Apparently, the world’s largest sponsor of terror hopes to defend birds and innocent Americans. I agree with both. But if you’re looking to hold an exhibit in a show of solidarity, you may be safer stateside — President Hitler notwithstanding.
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