Friday, 19 June 2009

The dirt and dust of poetic insult

"The nation's huge river would not leave any opportunity
for the expression of dirt and dust"

In a nation where poetry is a venerable and much-loved form of expression, it was no suprise that the defensive Ahmadinejad would produce a stanza of note. But the bitter poet then let his guard slip by accusing his opponents of "officially recognising thieves, homosexuals and scumbags" in exchange for their vote. Poetry evaporates, ephemeral in the mind of a bigot.

Iranians chose to ignore Ahmadinejad's baser insults to appropriate instead his poetic slur, "dirt and dust." The label has returned as a slogan to haunt the errant poet-bigot. It is now the rallying cry of protesters, who wear and chant the term with a potent mix of anger and pride. "Dirt and dust is you who are the enemy of Iran" is one chant heard on the streets, and the reformist newspaper Etemad-e Melli carried a picture of a huge banner carried by protesters:


The supreme leader is due to address the nation at Friday prayers this morning. As a man renowned for his love of poetry, it will be fascinating to see how he responds to this epic poetic struggle.

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  2. Thanks Mona - I concur. Although 'souls' is a word I don't use myself.

    "Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars" - Kahlil Gibran