Thursday, June 01, 2006

Azeri Protests

By most accounts, the Azeri protests over the Iranian cartoons depicting an Azeri as a cockroach are widespread and significant, and have even spread from Iran into the Republic of Azerbaijan itself. They are clearly larger than the protests one hears of now and then in Khuzistan and Kamandaran, perhaps because there are simply so many more Iranian Azeris than there are other ethnic minorities. These are not, however, pro-democracy protests. Their grievances include demands that there be public schools in Azeri, which would require changing Article 15 of the Constitution. I suspect these grievances would exist even under a Reformist government, as the reform movement in Iran is even more influenced by resurgent Persian nationalism than the regime, which sought to place a unifying Shi'ite identity in place through much of the 1980's.

I have, incidentally, purchased plane tickets which will place me in Azerbaijan in less than four months.


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