When Satire Conquered Iran

“I better hurry up and cover freedom faster so that no flies manage to sit on it.”
Published between 1906 and 1930, the satirical Azeri magazine Molla Nasreddin attacked the hypocrisy of the Muslim clergy, the colonial policies of the US and European nations, and the venal corruption of the local elite, while arguing repeatedly for Westernization, educational reform, and equal rights for women. Managing to speak to the intelligentsia as well as the masses, the magazine was the first publication of its kind to be read across the Muslim world. Iran was arguably the country where it had its greatest impact: its essays and illustrations acted as a preamble of sorts to the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1906-1910, which resulted in the establishment of the first parliament in all of Asia.