Iranians Depicted as Cockroaches by US Newspaper


by nmilaninia

In the early 1990s, prior to the Rwandan genocide, the minority Tutsi group in Rwanda were constantly called inyenzi, or cockroaches,
by those who sought to destroy them. The strategy was to dehumanize the
minority group, making it easier to inspire others to join in
destroying the minority group, thus resulting in the Rwandan genocide
in 1994. The same rhetoric has often been used by Israeli soliders
and generals which have been connected with Palestinian massacres. For
example, following the Sabra and Shatilla massacres in which thousands
of Palestinians were massacred, Rafael Eitan,
former Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defence Forces, stated “the Arabs
could only run around like cockroaches in a bottle, like drugged
cockroaches inside a bottle.” At the same time, then Prime-Minister Menachem Begin called Palestinians “two-legged beasts”.

In fact, this trend of dehumanization is apparent in almost every epic of genocide, massacre, war, and atrocity including the Cambodian genocide massacres, the the massacres of Serbs and Bosnians in the Yugoslav wars, the Armenian genocide, and the Holocaust. As noted by Dr. Gregory H. Stanton, President of Genocide Watch, dehumanization of a people is a step toward genocide and other human rights abuses:

"One group denies the humanity of the other group.
Members of it are equated with animals, vermin, insects or diseases.
Dehumanization overcomes the normal human revulsion against murder. At
this stage, hate propaganda in print and on hate radios is used to
vilify the victim group."

As further noted by anthropologists Ashley Montagu and Floyd Matson:

"dehumanization might well be considered “the fifth
horsemen of the apocalypse” because of the inestimable damage it has
dealt to society. When people become things, the logic follows, they
become dispensable - and any atrocity can be justified."

It is, therefore, no small thing when the Columbus Dispatch publishes a cartoon depicting Iranians as cockroaches crawling out of an sewer representing Iran. As noted by the National Iranian American Council:
“By publishing this racist cartoon, the editors of the Dispatch have
insulted and propagated hate against the Iranian American community.”
The Columbus Dispatch should be ashamed of itself for both being
historically ignorant and blatantly racist in its depiction of
Iranians. History has shown that it is precisely these allusions that
have results in horrendous atrocities. The cartoon’s political point is
outweighed significantly by the disturbing message it portrays about
Iranians, particularly given the existing political and racial
environment toward Iranians. Shame on them.


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Need to sign the petition against Ohio Dispatch

by Ali Tabesh (not verified) on

This is the time for action more than discussions. We can discuss it later.

Please sign the petition below:



Ali Tabesh

Kaveh Nouraee

What else can you expect from COLUMBUS OHIO?

by Kaveh Nouraee on

C'mon. Let's consider the source. Columbus is a homogenized midwestern third-tier city that serves as the primary test-market for consumer products prior to mass-marketing in the rest of the U.S.

Translated, that means a bunch of bologna and American cheese on white bread with mayonnaise eating people who are no more than guinea pigs for the rest of the nation.

I have been to Columbus. I couldn't wait for my return flight. To this day, the locals still call black people "colored". Bowling is considered a "night on the town". How can you expect people in a city like that to have any culture with that mentality?


My take...

by eimanz on

Nema jaan, I completly agree with your argument that cartoons like this are meant to dehumanize a race of people and therefore are racist propoganda. I also agree with jigsaw that the IRI and the media in Iran does the same thing, if not worse and at a much higher rate than we see here. Hatred for the West is much more instilled there than hatred for Iran is here.

Here was my initial take...

Comparing Iran to a drain where cockroaches live? Wow, fascinating cartoon to say the least. Completly galvinizing and inaccurate, of course. The Columbus Dispatch editoral board apparently seeks to offend Iranians, and many probably will be offended by this f-ed up cartoon.

Columbus Dispatch, listen, comparing Iranians to cockroaches is against this country's national interest. Why? Because its not true, that's why. Also, because the Iranian people are the least violent and more pro-modernization people you will find in that region of the world. Why do you want to help screw up that relationship too?

So a small group of people organize and go join the insurgency in Iraq, so what? Your main problem are those extremists coming from Saudi Arabia; they've killed many more of our U.S troops and innocent Iraqi than any Iranian faction. (psst, no Iranian was involved in 9/11, but many from Saudi Arabia were. Check into that.)

And guess what, most of Iraq is Shia and so is Iran. So naturally there will be influence between the two countries when both countries are a true democracy. But you're in luck, because historically the Arab Shia and the Persian Shias don't like each other all that much, so unless you have solid proof of joint efforts, I'm afraid there's little basis in the argument that Iran is causing the significant issues in Iraq. It may feel that way to you because you can't differentiate between an Arab Shia and a Persian one, but thats not their problem now is it?

If there is any unifying ideology that would get Iran to help with the insurgency, it would be U.S. presence in Iraq. That's what you get for calling Iran an axis of evil. No one in Iran likes their current government, but you're really making things worse. The U.S has lost its moral authority and they continue forward assuming they still have it.

Its REALLY ironic because many Iranians actually believe that Arab influence in Iran is what brought about the "cockroaches" (aka extremists/nuts). I don't know what to make of this thought, because it is a racist one as well.

But what I do know is that the Iranian people are the most beautiful people in the world, and comparing them to cockroaches will come back to haunt you.



You didn't do a "quick

by manesh on

You didn't do a "quick research".  It's your job to keep an eye on Iran


Let's look at the finding of CMIP on Iranian Textbook and Kayhan

by jigsaw on

 From Kamangir's blog:

Following the issue about the cartoon in The Columbus Dispatch I did a quick research on the cartoons published in the state-run newspaper Kayhan whose head is appointed by the Supreme Leader. The result? See it for yourself,

  • US is the Nazi Germany.
  • Jews are fat and always hold a gun.
  • Arabs are fat and are America’s defecation.
  • Jews are like snakes.
  • Holocaust is a myth perpetuated to prepare pretext for murdering Palestinians.
  • Americans are torturer thugs.

One of the cartoons is shown here, the rest are available in the photoblog

From Kamangir's blog:



When was the last time the author,   fired off a letter to IRI, asking them to stop institutionlized demonization of America and Israel via their hatef-filled  education system and state-run TV programs about the U.S. and Israel...How about firing off a letter to the mullahs each Friday when they shout "Death to America" on the top of their lungs.

And let's look at this report on the Iranian Education System that demonizes just about everybody. The curriculum is basically an indoctrination of hate:



BRUSSELS -- The Iranian education system is preparing its students for a global war against the West in the name of Islam, according to an independent study of 115 textbooks and teachers guides released today. With Tehran accused of seeking to develop a nuclear weapons arsenal and the United States dispatching a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf, the report by the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace highlights the uphill task Washington faces trying to persuade Iranian youth to distance themselves from the hard-line Islamist regime. The study, which claims to be the first of its kind, catalogs how pupils as young as 9 are conditioned to take part in a global jihad against such "infidel oppressors" as Israel and the United States. "Hate indoctrination is a professed goal of Iranian textbooks," said the report's author, Arnon Groiss, a Princeton- and Harvard-educated journalist who also has written critical studies of the Israeli, Palestinian, Syrian, Saudi and Egyptian education systems. According to Mr. Groiss, Iranian pupils learn from an early age that the Islamic republic is in mortal combat with Western powers bent on its destruction. One 11th-grade textbook, quoting former spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, refers to the United States and its allies as "the World Devourers" and says that if they "wish to stand against our religion, we will stand against their whole world and will not cease until the annihilation of all of them." Students are drilled for battle from age 12, when they are obliged to take defense-readiness classes, according to the study by the Israel-based nongovernmental organization. Some also are drafted into the Revolutionary Guard and other elite combat units, where they are taught how to handle shoulder-propelled rocket launchers, the study says.

Through stories, poems, wills and exercises, martyrdom is glorified as a means of defending the Islamic republic and attaining eternal happiness, the report says. A Grade 10 textbook on "defense readiness" boasts that during the eight-year war with Iraq in the 1980s, half a million students were sent to the front and "36,000 martyrs ... were offered to the Islamic Revolution." Describing Iran's school system as a "global war curriculum," Mr. Groiss said the emphasis on military training from such a young age instilled a "siege mentality" among many students. "It is a form of child abuse to install such notions in children's minds," he told journalists at a briefing in the European Parliament in Brussels...


The exclusionary hateful discourse from the medieval jihadist Islamic Republic, weekly Death chants sanctioned by mosques and clergies, glofrifying death over life, celeberating death of children as young as ten in the name of allah, all this keeps the Islamist connected to old immoveable tribal conceits and ‘frozen by decree’ Muslim traditions. It stands to reason that in a place where ideas do not move, but are rather replaced with zillions of rules learnt by rote, pretty soon you have a population incapable of true original reasonning and other innovations.



Regardless of intentions

by nmilaninia on

Honestly, regardless of what the editors intentions are, when you
characterize an entire nation in order to symbolize terrorism or
extremeism, you are dehumanizing its people and the consequences of
such acts are apparent as noted above.


Look at the Positive!

by ahvazi on


Unlike Iran's security official, Columbus Dispatch calls it by its correct name- Persian Gulf :-)


Mullahs and Muslims are sosks!

by sh8tune on

Columbus Dispatch got it right!


I have spoken to them

by Abarmard on

I've called the Columbus Dispatch and spoke to them in
regard of the cartoon and they have insisted that the cartoon talks only about
the Iranian regime and extremism. He mentioned that below the picture there is
a word (Under Iran) that is written “Extremism”. He asked me to let the Iranian community know
that it was not intended to depict Iranians as cockroaches and that is the misunderstanding. I still think that it is offensive and this could've not been drawn for any other nation and be able to get away with it...


Don't worry

by mrclass on

nobody reads Columbus Dispatch.