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Marjane Satrapi's "Persepolis" serves as a reminder of this Islamic holocaust, voicing a persecuted generation's quest for civility


June 22, 2005

Marjane Satrapi's eloquent comic book memoirs in Persepolis I and Persepolis II easily comprise the most relevant and significant post-IRI work of Iranian art and literature to date, hitting every mark spot on with full redemptive power.

On rereading the touchingly honest and unabashed sharing of personal experiences that in essence speak for the turbulent life of an entire generation of cultivated Iranian youth, what seems most remarkable about Ms. Satrapi's masterpiece, is its daring account of the kind of traumatic details of the dark Islamist terror and genocide that Iranians, out of embarrassment or convenience, have relegated to their collective historical unconscious.

For those of us who can and want to remember, Hezbollah's methods to crack down on secular opposition and intelligentsia in order to impose its ghoulish Islamic norms, compete with the well documented exemplary records of Khmer Rouge and Chinese Cultural Revolution. It took the immeasurable bloodbath of the nihilistic war that followed to drown out any present consciousness of massive Islamic crimes against our own people and humanity.

Ms Satrapi's Persepolis serves as a reminder of this Islamic holocaust, voicing a persecuted generation's quest for civility to a globalized world which is so far aware mostly, if not only, of our evils. As such, this absorbing graphical memoir is effectively helping to redeem our tarnished collective identity.

While detailed accounts of torture, killing and Islamic style terror generally do not belong in children's happy literature, this highly accessible work should be a must-read for the literate Iranians children and youth who came of age in the years after the revolution and war, in order to gain a perspective on the collective experience of a generation that came before them.

Most importantly of all, Ms. Satrapi's remarkable accomplishment serves as an example that with courage, ambition and independence, they too can make the kind of difference that would be noted globally.

There is no better time to try and recall our eerily forgotten recent history when last week's elections tell of the alarming apathy and incapacity with which Iranians are content to accept whatever destiny is forced on to them.

For letters section
To Omid Parsi

Omid Parsi



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