24 Mar. 2015 The Importance of Satrapi
During times of terror, most people are not brave enough to speak the truth. And can we blame them? Wanting to protect the lives of themselves and their families is a basic human instinct. But while we must not criticize them for inaction, we must not forget to praise those who spoke up and made a difference, people, like Marjane Satrapi.
Graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi was born on November 22, 1969 in Rasht, an Iranian coastal city (Luebering). Satrapi was raised by her secular, Westernized and Marxist parents in
Tehran, Iran (Luebering; Satrapi 3). Although she has written many books, it is the first of her two autobiographical books,
, that I want to draw your attention to.
, little Marjane starts off as a six year old. She tells the story of her life and the Iranian Revolution, up until she has to leave for France at fourteen to escape Iran’s religious regime. Though at the same time poignant and comical, Satrapi’s book does not fail in its mission to educate the West on the victories and failures of Iran.
In her book, Satrapi starts off by sharing with readers a snippet of the ancient and current history of Iran. She starts off by saying that the area now called Iran was invaded by the descendants of the Medes and the Persians, who gave the country its name; the word Iran comes from “ Ayryana Vaejo”, which means “the origin of the Aryans” (Satrapi “Intro 1”). This area
was taken over by Cyrus and was made part of the Persian Empire and was called Persia until
1935, when Reza Shah renamed it Iran (Satrapi “Intro 1”).
In the 20th century, Reza Shah tried to industrialize Iran and discovered oil (Satrapi
‘Intro 1”). This attracted Westerners like Great Britain who began to influence the Iranian economy. When they refused to side with the Allies in WWII, Iran was invaded by the Allied
Powers and the Shah was sent into exile. Mossadeq became the prime minister of Iran and attempted to boost Iran’s economy by nationalizing his country’s oil industry (Satrapi “Intro 2”).
Britain reacted by putting an embargo on Iran’s oil and later, with the help of the CIA, overthrew
Mossadeq. Reza Shah’s son, Reza Pahlavi filled the political vacuum until 1979, when the
Islamic Revolutionaries forced him to flee (Satrapi “Intro 2”).
At the end of the introduction, Satrapi talks about how Iran has been incorrectly associated with fanaticism, terrorism and fundamentalism because of the action of extremists.
She wanted to show the world that the actions of a few radicals should