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Fight The Power: Iranian Artists Expose Human Rights Abuses Through Cartoons
February 21, 2013
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We've all heard that classic line by English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton - "the pen is mightier than the sword."

Well, in some respects, that's the spirit of this project. It's a book called Sketches of Iran: A Glimpse from the Front Lines of Human Rights.

Inside are 40 political cartoons by seven leading Iranian artists, many of whom were banned by the government and are now living in exile.

There are also commentaries by respected Iranian writers, activists, journalists and lawyers who have been imprisoned, charged, and tortured into forced confessions because their work.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran describes it as an "unprecedented collection of drawings, editorial cartoons, and portraits of human rights defenders."

"These drawings depict defiance in the face of power. They are infused with a quiet determination. Their unflinching portrayal of suffering, as well as the occasional use of humor, resonates on an emotional level in a way no human rights report can," said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Campaign.

Here's a video about the book.

A couple of months ago, the Campaign ran a crowd-funding drive on Kickstarter.com to make sure the book got to people who can raise awareness about human rights abuses in Iran.

That means UN officials, government officials, diplomats who work on Iran, and international journalists.

"There is a moral imperative that these images, and the facts on the ground they represent, be seen," said Ghaemi.

fight-the-power-iranian-artists-and-writers-expose-human-rights-abuses-through-cartoons-feature2.jpg The book was edited by Iranian journalist Omid Memarian, who was thrown in prison in 2004 and tortured for articles he wrote.

Memarian now lives in the U.S. He told the BBC that the book depicts the struggle for political and social freedom in Iran, and the resiliency of those who fight.

"When you go through that kind of experience, I think people feel committed to care about others, to care about what is happening in that regard and to shed light," he said.

You can see the BBC feature with Memarian here.

And you can get the book in both English and a bilingual English-Persian edition at Amazon.com.

On a side note, there's a cool animated film called Persepolis. It's about a young girl in Iran who discovers punk during the Islamic Revolution.

Throughout her life, she struggles with her pride in being Iranian and the anger she feels toward her oppressive government.

You can check it out here.

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