Reading the World – Iran

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi


I think a graphic novel still counts as a book, especially a graphic novel as fascinating and informative as this one.

This was brilliant: a graphic novel depicting the coming-of-age of a young Iranian girl living in Iran during the Islamic Revolution, who is eventually sent to live in Austria for 4 years for her safety. It shows the horrors of living in a war-torn nation, as well as how terrifying it must be to live in a country run by religious fundamentalists/fanatics. The Muslim leaders recruited 14 year old boys in the war effort, closed down schools, targeted intelligent people and women wearing jeans and nail polish…

As a woman, the sexist views of the Islamists made me angry. One panel shows an Islamist on television saying “Women’s hair emanates rays that excite men. That’s why women should cover their hair.” If that isn’t the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard!

This was a very raw and candid portrayal of  a young girl’s life. Satrapi didn’t really try to sugarcoat anything. I liked the precocious child, Marji, who was trying to understand the world that was going on around her and wasn’t scared of questioning the hypocrisies she witnessed. Her self-realization as she tried to determine her identity in Austria and when she went back to Iran and was perceived as an outsider and a worldly woman also held my attention.

It made me think of people,especially children, living in other war-torn places such as Syria, what must they be going through everyday? What must they be witnessing? Torture, death etc? How can someone get over that?

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