Screenshot of Al-Nahar newspaper, published on 26/09/2017.
The Iraqi newspaper of Al-Nahar has published a sexually suggestive and offensive meme to portray the post-referendum reality of the Kurdistan Region.
The meme, largely circulated in Kurdish social networking groups has been met with a fervour of anger and disgust.
On the front cover of Al-Nahar, the Iraqi-owned newspaper shows five men in boxers, staring in an unwelcoming manner at a young girl. The meme captions the five men as Iran, Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Jordan and the girl as Kurdistan.
It comes at a time of heightened tensions as Iraq seeks to put in place a set of measures against the Kurdistan Regional Government for carrying out a referendum on independence.
The results of Kurdistan Region’s referendum showed 92.73% voters come out in favour of independence from Iraq, while 7.27% preferred to uphold the status quo.
Iraq’s parliament has called on nations to withdraw all diplomatic missions in Kurdistan Region, and requested the deployment of Iraqi army to Kurdish-controlled disputed areas such as Kirkuk.
These measures are part of a 12-point decree issued on Wednesday by the Iraqi parliament as a form of punishment on Kurdistan Region for holding an independence referendum.
Additionally, the Iraqi parliament has called on Kurdish leaders to face legal measures for holding a referendum, and requested Iran to close its airspace with Kurdistan Region.
Some of the online responses to the meme can be summarised as follows: