Portraying Iranians as insects

To: gsheller@dispatch.com, michael.ramirez@investors.com

Dear Mr. Sheller,

Your dismally pathetic “one response shuts them all” reply to letters of objection regarding the display of the genocide-inciting cartoon at the top of the Opinion page in your September 4th, 2007 issue of The Columbus Dispatch only added insult to injury.

First, let me assure you sir that I’m not writing at the behest of any certain group or organization but solely on behalf of our shared humanity in the meager hope that I may arouse some level of moral decency at your paper that would, at the very least, offer an apology to the 70 million Iranian people you have offended.

Second, evident from your reference to “Iraqi regime’s support of violent extremists and terrorists throughout the Middle East”, may I recommend that next time you rush to defend a vile and depraved hate-mongering cartoon like the one by Mr. Michael Ramirez, at least have a semi vague understanding of the people being dehumanized.

And finally, is it really an exercise in “intellectual gymnastics” to see this cartoon for what it really is? Is there a fundamental difference between portraying a group of people as cock roaches inside the pages of Columbus Dispatch in 2007 versus a reptile on the cover of Nazi Germany’s Lustige Blätter Magazine in 1943?

Disgustingly yours,

Daniel M Pourkesali
Leesburg, Virginia

Dear sir or Madame:

Thank you for writing to The Dispatch.

You apparently are responding to a call from the Council of American-Islamic relations to write to me and to cartoonist Michael Ramirez to complain about a cartoon about the Iraqi regime’s support of violent extremists and terrorists throughout the Middle East.

CAIR claims the cartoon demeans all Iranians as cockroaches. But since the drain cover depicted in the cartoon is clearly labeled with “Iran” and “extremism” it is clear that the cartoon refers only to those elements of the Iranian regime who support extremism. In other words, it doesn’t come close to labeling all Iranians as cockroaches.

CAIR also likens the cartoon to Nazi propaganda. This is a remarkable display of intellectual gymnastics. Iranian President Ahmadinejad has called for the destruction of the Jewish state and questions the Holocaust, while his regime tries to develop nuclear weapons. If CAIR is truly concerned about the promotion of Nazi ideas and the use of Nazi methods, it should direct its attention to Tehran.

CAIR’s claims that its mission is to promote understanding of Islam and combat anti-Islamic information and anti-Islamic attitudes. That’s an honorable mission when it is directed at legitimate grievances.

In this case, CAIR has misrepresented this cartoon and missed the mark by fabricating a false grievance.

All the best,

Glenn Sheller
Editorial Page Editor
The Columbus Dispatch

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