Hanoch Piven
Mahmoud A.
posted: March 23, 2008
This past friday celebrating Purim I 'hosted'
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the President of Iran
in my column in Maariv

My wife Janet baked great Hamantashen
or as they are called in Hebrew Haman's ears.
(Haman is the villain in the tale of Purim, as described in the biblical Book of Esther. The tale takes place in no other place than the Persian Empire - therefore, a certain relevance to the current Persian leader)

Purim is pretty much the Jewish Carnival when everybody dresses up and makes a lot of noise in both secular and religious environments.
In synagogues as the Book of Esther is read, every time the name Haman is mentioned, the crowd makes a lot of noise
with horns, graggers, etc...
A close up on the great Hamentashen which just happened to look like his eyes....
The way the spread looked in the paper.
Dr. Yoram Yovel, a psychiatrist and novelist wrote about Mahmoud A.
In essence the article said that the guy is not necessarily crazy, he just thinks different than 'us Israelies'.
for the Hebrew readers...
Edel Rodriguez March 23, 2008
Hanoch, one of your best portraits. Nice gesture in the beard and painted hair. The Hamantashen came in handy for the eyes, my wife bakes them too, they're delicious.
Walter Vasconcelos March 23, 2008
Great! The eyes in esfiha format are fantastic.
David Flaherty March 23, 2008
Does he smoke? Lots of Purim parties in my building, looks like fun. Nice job.
Brian Stauffer March 23, 2008
Great portrait, and a generous assessment of Pres A by the writer. I couldn't disagree more with Achmadinijad's take on reality, but it's ineffectual to simply dismiss him as a lunatic. nice assignment.
Cathleen Toelke March 23, 2008
Your selection of elements and how you made them work here is really wonderful. Wow!
Steve Brodner March 23, 2008
Hanoch: This is a masterful caricature. I have to agree with Brian on this. Demonizing him is part of the daily ritual of the nutty right-wing media noise machine here in the states. They are looking for a Hitler as an organizing focus in their coming war with Iran. They are delighted that this guy talks the talk. But he doesn't walk the walk. He has a very slippery hold on power and his support among Iranians is weak. It's hard, in satire to shade things. It's a blunt instrument, designed for attack. The truth is more like, he would be nothing without us. Our stupidity, by removing his natural enemy, Saddam, made him much stronger, seeing a Shiite majority in Iraq he can manipulate. The whole administration didn't understand this. And now McCain shows he's just as dumb. It's a brilliant portrait, nevertheless. And, of course, you shouldn't change a thing if the piece truly represents your POV. I'm your biggest fan either way, Hanoch. Steve
Hanoch Piven March 24, 2008
Steve the truth is I that I totally agree with you on this. The caricature was made in the spirit of Purim, of comedy of exageration and of dressing up. To Israel and to the USA he is the current day "Haman", i.e. "the villain on duty now" and he indeed enjoys playing that role. In his interviews with the American media or his visit to Columbia he shows great comedy skills. He is having a great time. I purposely chose to use weapons that bring out the primal fear of the archaic almost medieval aspect of his image. Sort of saying: "They probably don't have smart scientists there, they all use whips and ancient knives." As we all know in a caricature there is no time or room to say: "Yes, but lets think for a minute about the other side.." So I went all the way to the first side hoping some of the irony will surface.
Steve Brodner March 24, 2008
Hanoch: I see the ridiculous inside the image. I had to work a little to get past the red flag that is the large message. I'm pretty sensitive to the Cheney-ista noise machine over here. They could use this and have a good time with it. This is tricky stuff, f'sure.
Fatemeh March 26, 2008
Hello, I come here to know about a great artist, but what I found, speaking about my country's president. I don't know anyhing about politics, but you western people are very naive! It is very funny for me, that YOU BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOUR MEDIA SAYS... and you never investigate or try to find the truth, to know people, cultures more... what a shame!
Hanoch Piven March 26, 2008
Hello Fatemeh you probably are 100% right. As someone who has lived in 4 different cultures I know that even in the 'Global World' what you see from one place is not what you see from another. The Internet does bring this to light by transporting information written in one context to a totally different one without transporting the cultural context in which it appeared. (Which is the case of this illustration) But yes it is right that most people in the Western world don't know much about Iran and are left with what the Media, eager to make things black and white, says. Having admitted to that I have to say that while researching material for this portrait, I have found your President to be the author of several comments that are a bit scary, whether he said them to play with Western Media's head or not. The Internet brings the opportunity of exchanges like this one to happen so I hope you'll keep visiting my blog. thanks for the comment.
barry blitt March 26, 2008
Fatemeh, You are SO right! We western people are very naive! And we all believe everything our media says! [if only we were as eager not to stereotype and generalize as you] [Great caricature Hanoch, by the way]
TURCIOS April 3, 2008
genial!!! aquí un fans. un abrazo