Economic sanctions on Iran degenerate into a meme war of Game of Thrones between Donald Trump and Qasem Soleimani. HBO does not appreciate. However, the situation does not make people laugh.
Since we are in a very strange world, we are talking about these days economic sanctions that the United States are returning to impose on Iran. Or, to put it better, we are talking about memes born because of these economic sanctions.
However, created not by ordinary Internet users, always ready to do justly satire on anything, but by two of the political and military leaders involved in these thorny international issues: Donald Trump, the President of the United States, and Qasem Soleimani, general of the Iranian armed forces.
The situation is, in reality, more complex and interesting than it seems, so it deserves a little deepening: let's see what happened.
Sanctions are comingsays Trump
Because serious and complex international issues, such as the reintroduction of economic sanctions on Iran, must be tackled with memes.
Now, I will not summarize the whole story for you, since it is a very complex question (you can read the long and in-depth analysis of the New York Times Thu), but I'll do it right a very brief summary for those who have not followed the story.
Basically, relations between Iran and the western powers had suffered a severe blow, when in 2002 the international community discovered that the Shiite nation had built of nuclear power plants. By 2005, the United Nations Security Council had imposed heavy blows on Iran economic sanctions, since it was feared that these plants would also be used for production nuclear army.
However, in 2015, under the push of the Obama administration, it came to a agreement between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (China, United States, France, Russia and the United Kingdom), and Germany (the so-called P5 + 1 or E3 + 3). In exchange for the promise not to produce nuclear weapons for the next 10 years and in exchange for constant inspections of Iranian power plants and military sites, the other world powers would have removed economic sanctions on Iran.
In the meantime, however, Iran has militarily supported a whole host of more or less terrorist factions in the Middle East, starting from Hamas to Gaza, passing through the political party / military group of Hezbollah in Lebanon, up to running in aid of Syrian President Al-Assad. In recent times, however, there has been discussion about Iran 's involvement in the civil war in Yemen: second some studiesin fact, the Houthi rebels would have received Tehran's economic and military support, so as to carry on the conflict with the Yemeni government, which instead is supported by Saudi Arabia and the USA.
Consequently, these days Trump has announced new embargoes against Iran. The intent is to prevent the Shiite state from earning enough oil exports to spend money on helping these destabilizing factions in the Middle East. This announcement was made with great pomp, probably also to collect votes in view of the elections of this week.
And, obviously, a matter of such gravity must be announced to the sound of memini on Twitter, paraphrasing the Stark motto.
I will stand against you, Soleimani replies
Since we are in meme-war mode, we must not miss anything. This is how Qasem Soleimani, general of the Iranian Islamic Revolution Guards, responds to the sound of memes in salsa Game of Thrones, this time on their Instagram profile.
Surrounded by snowflakes and looking down, Soleimani seems the liked version of Roose Bolton. In fact, the military almost arouses sympathy, in comparison to the American orange alien and his oxygenated hair, more fake even than the Starfire wig in Titans.
However, meme wars, catchy slogans and catchy phrases are quick to create one contrast between good and bad made belly, out of pure dislike or sympathy towards now bad Muslims, now ignorant Americans. The situation is obviously more complicated than that.
In fact, Qasem Soleimani is most likely the Tywin Lannister of the Middle East, perhaps more religious, but perhaps with as many Castamere on his shoulders. Veteran of the Iranian Revolution of 1979 before and of the War against Iraq in the XNUMXs, Soleimani has climbed the ranks of the army, exercising huge influence even outside the borders of Iran.
Not only would that have been instrumental in getting Bashar Al-Assad's forces back in Syria, it would also be one of the protagonists of the war against ISIS in Iraq, being responsible both for numerous reconquest interventions and for the collaboration between Iraqi soldiers, Shiite militias and Kurdish partisans. Furthermore, he would also be one of the main proponents of theIran's alliance with Russia, in support of Syrian and Iraqi governments.
It is therefore not surprising that, in its own way, Soleimani is the pop-culture symbol of resistance to Trump, and not the President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani.
The reaction of HBO and the cast of Game of Thrones
Needless to say, the TV broadcaster of Game of Thrones she was not happy to see his flagship series used by Trump to produce political memes and slogans (Soleimani's response has instead been ignored).
After sarcastic reply on as we say "misuse of a trademark" in DothrakiHBO went into the matter further, claiming that they had not been informed of Trump's message and that they preferred that their brand not be used for political purposes.
We were not aware of this messaging and would prefer our trademark not to be misappropriated for political purposes.
For its part, also the writer de The chronicles of ice and fire, George RR Martin, spared no criticism, posting an image in which he urges to vote in the November 6 elections. On the other hand, it is not the first time that Martin has expressed his dislike for Trump, who had compared him to Joffrey Baratheon, considering him not only a bad President, but also a bad person:
Many good men throughout history have been terrible kings. Many bad men have been good kings. Of course, now we live in a time where we have a bad man who is also a bad president.
Trump's tweet was answered by other cast members of game of Thrones, starting from Maisie Williams, which replied "Not today" to "Sanctions are coming".
On the other hand, S she was less diplomatic: her reaction is, literally, "Ew". Economic and expressive, no doubt about it.
Reality is more complex than memes
Honestly, there is not much to say about this story: it's just the umpteenth exit over Trump's lines. Simply, this time the orange man touched a brand and a fandom dear to us, which is not really liked at all.
It is useless to pay attention to people like that, who speak by slogan and try to ride the popularity of the most watched show in the world.
However, it is interesting to reflect on how international politics and, more specifically, international populism, despite all its sovereign and nationalist rhetoric, is actually extremely globalized and resort to the same media and communication techniques. In this case, they have been Game of Thrones and his fame to be used as a tool for political propaganda, to create slogans that do not show the problems and gray areas of these political facts.
On the one hand, Trump presents himself as the inexorable guillotine of freedom and the law that falls on the bad guys, like the Strangers fall on Westeros. On the other hand, we have Soleimani who portrays himself as the calm general, who resists the unjust harassment of the West.
Just a nice way to polarize public opinion even more. But to the sound of memes.
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