Iran: a virtual candidate for the presidential election

May 15, 20130 comments

Iran: a virtual candidate for the presidential election The people of Iran will be electing their new president on the 14th June. And one of the candidates,Zahra, does stand out from the crowd, because she is a fictional character: a 52 year old woman who says she’s running for president to challenge the Mullah regime and campaign for democratic change in Iran. The resident of Tehran is in fact the heroine from a comic strip called “Zahra’s Paradise“, created by Amir Zoltani, an Iranian journalist living in exile in the US. The graphic novel began online as a blog, and tells the story of a mother desperately searching for her son who disappeared during the demonstrations against the highly disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009. The serial has since been edited and translated into some fifteen different languages and now the story continues as Zahra runs for president. A number of panels are published online each week, recounting the campaign developments for this virtual candidate who is not afraid to speak her mind. Other illustrations denounce Iran’s poor human rights record, looking, for example, at the treatment of political prisoners held in the country’s jails. And although they won’t actually be able to vote for Zahra on election day, countless web users have been voicing their support for the virtual candidate via social networks, and calling for a free and fair election next month. Watch the video here.