Accepted Paper:

Governmental Control and Archives: The Image of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the International Red Cross Museum's Poster Archive  


Maryam Pirdehghan (University of Zurich)

Paper short abstract:

Disaster and illness in the donated posters by Iran to the Red Cross Museum in Geneva as an international center is almost absence because the Iranian intelligence office has the task of filtering out anything that is believed to be used against the country and to ruin its face.

Paper long abstract:

One of archives of The International Red Cross Museum is poster archive in which major incidents and developments of humanitarian activities worldwide have been documented. However donated posters by Iran to this archive are completely different from other countries' ones because its posters are more relevant to unimportant meetings of Red Crescent Organization. Also, unlike other countries' efforts for showing visually human suffering in their poster, in Iran's archive, an absence of disasters is obvious. It is completely unexpected from a country like Iran which has so high level of natural disasters, war and illnesses that the Red Crescent has always been involved in. Therefore, this question arises: Why Iranian posters after the Islamic Revolution which have been sent to Red Cross Museum's archive do not portray incidents and disasters while many posters on natural disasters, illnesses and so on are produced within Iran by current government? Finally, by using ethnographic approach, the paper concludes that the Iranian Red Crescent Organization as the posters donator, has followed main policy of Islamic republic, based on preventing "tarnishing the image of Iran" that makes the "enemy" happy. According to this political view, the enemy takes advantage of even natural disasters and illnesses to challenge the Iranian government and its ideology. Hence, the intelligence office in the organization has attempted to protect the Islamic government's image as an ideal system without any problem in the international archive by ignoring the posters which are closer to the reality.

Panel P103
Archives and Anthropology