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Kayhan for Kids: shaping young hearts and minds

29 Aug 2009 21:227 Comments
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By GOLAB P.

Kayhan Bacheha -- Kayhan for Kids -- is a weekly magazine for children published by the Kayhan Institute, the same publisher that prints the daily Kayhan newspaper headed by the notorious Hossein Shariatmadari. The picture above is of the very first issue, published in 1956.

I have vague memories of being bought the magazine as a kid, and being read the stories by my elders. My grandfather also kept a great collection of these from the time my mother was growing up; I loved the stories in those issues in particular. From what I remember, the magazine was aimed at grades 1 through 5, and being a state owned, the publication was always heavy on religion and adulation for the Shia saints and the Iranian leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, then Khamenei. Another common theme of the magazine was remembering the Iran-Iraq war martyrs.

I remember excitedly holding my aunt's hand at newspaper kiosks and picking up my magazine, just like the grown-ups. I even remember the smell of the pages -- so warm and archaic-smelling.

Here are some covers of the magazine, from 1981, 1982 and 2005:

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So, imagine my surprise when I saw this:

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The magazine was always heavy on state religion, but I don't recall a political page. This is a page out of last week's issue, in which they go over a lighter version of Mehdi Karoubi's letters about rape and abuse in prisons. They tell kids how that's all a big lie and how the poor man was unable to prove his case. The article is as follows:

The Claim that was Never Proven

Last week, a letter was published by Mr. Mehdi Karoubi. In this letter, it was claimed that those who were arrested for having had a role in the recent riots, were abused and harmed in prison.

Mr. Karoubi wrote this letter to Mr. Rafsanjani and asked him to investigate. After the letter [was published], parliament and the judiciary started looking into it. They investigated and saw that Mr. Karoubi's claims have no truth to them. To top that off, when they asked his son [Karoubi's] where his father's evidence came from, he said: "our evidence is phone calls which have been made to our newspaper!"

Do you think that a reasonable person accepts whatever claims someone makes over the phone? Do you even think that you should believe just anyone who says just anything?

Mr. Karoubi's reasons for writing that letter were just a few phone calls. Phone calls by anonymous callers who have no name or identity. When Mr. Karoubi's letter was published, TV and radio stations which are against the Islamic Republic were made very happy. They said that in the prisons of the Islamic Republic people are tortured. Their only evidence was Mr.Karoubi's letter. A letter, which, according to the parliament speaker, was all lies. These allegations made the enemies of the Islamic Republic happy because they could claim that prisoners were mistreated in prisons.

The top page also includes an article on the BBC:

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The English Lie

It was only a few days ago. Some foreign TV networks, like the BBC and some local newspapers reported a piece of news with much fanfare! The news was this:

"A young Iranian boy by the name of Behnam was killed by police batons!

"We were all worried! Has the police really killed a young boy?! But it did not take long for the truth to be revealed. Everyone found out that the enemy, with its television and newspapers, lied once more. They lied so that the reputation of the police and the Islamic Republic would be be tarnished. They lied so that some would riot in the streets."

The story goes on to tell the "real" version of events.

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7 Comments

They will forever claim foreign forces are responsible for unhappy Iranians.

mark / August 29, 2009 7:27 PM

sounds like the story in The Real Story of the 3 Little Pigs by A. Wolfe. Interesting parallels.

Deveney / August 29, 2009 11:36 PM

You remember the snake in Disney's "Jungle Book": "Truuuuuuuuuuussssssst Meeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!"

Teaser Summerwine / August 30, 2009 7:10 AM

it's simple "keyhan" is a print for their own kids ..so "baba" have to lie to little "ali" ..

f / August 30, 2009 8:15 AM

f, the point of the beginning of this piece was to note that Keyhan for Kids is NOT a "print for their own kids." In fact, many kids read this magazine, especially in smaller towns and cities. And from what I remember, it was always a worthy publication, even with the religious undertones. That's why I am all the more surprised to read of these recent articles.

Golab P. / August 30, 2009 12:33 PM

Golab,


"That's why I am all the more surprised to read of these recent articles."

Surprised? Or worried?

IranianCanadian / August 30, 2009 4:54 PM

No, just surprised. Why should I be worried?

This magazine has almost no audience at all if you compare it to IRIB which is broadcast to children AND grownups throughout the country. I'd worry about that along with the satellite channels too. And most kids I'm sure would rather read the stories than boring stuff like this.

Golab P. / August 30, 2009 7:04 PM