Review | The complete Persepolis By Marjane Satrapi

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4-5-stars

Things I didn’t know before : The Complete Persepolis was originally written in French. Way to feel dumb as shit in the (French) bookstore, I assure you.

Things I know now : Marjane Satrapi, as a French-Iranian, can’t enter the US now. But hey, it’s for your “security”, all that shit.***

*** I just learned that French-Iranian had been authorized to go to the US with a Visa.

(since I wrote this review, the #muslimban was fortunately judged unconstitutional)

Favorite quote from the whole collection :
“As time passed, I grew increasingly aware of the contrast between the official representation of my country and people’s real lives, what happened behind doors”
(approximate translation by me, I don’t own the English version to check)

… because we’re at the core of what makes The Complete Persepolis so interesting and, I’ll say it, indispensable. For me, the strength of Marjane Satrapi‘s graphic-novel relies on the insight it offers the reader : where more classic nonfiction books can easily end up as mere juxtapositions of historical events (which is often boring, okay?), The Complete Persepolis successfully breaks the codes by combining Iran’s History with Marjane Satrapi‘s experience. I, for one, believe that we need this kind of insight just as much as history books, because as I said in my review of Rooftops of Tehran, it’s way too easy to dehumanize people we know nothing about, to forget the much real people living in the countries that our leaders target.

This is what I mean when I say that there’s nothing political anymore in strongly disagreeing with Trump’s decisions, especially when it comes to Muslims. At this point, it’s not about agreeing on reducing taxes for the rich in order to avoid flight of capital, it’s about acknowledging that everything in Western culture participates in feeding our prejudices. Really it’s about acknowledging that these prejudices are real and that it’s an everyday, conscious work to fight against them.

What fighting prejudices does not mean : It doesn’t mean agreeing with everything. It doesn’t mean, oh my god, erasing western culture** – and that concept, loved and spread by so many of far right voters is so fucking ridiculous given the fact that we have controlled the narrative for so long, it’s not even funny. The “great replacement” so dearly loved by FN voters is merely another way for them to express their islamophobia and show their lack of basic education. Forget me with this shit.

** I’m using “western culture” as a generalization here – I don’t believe that all western countries share the *same* culture, far from it.

What fighting prejudices means : it means accepting that different experiences are just as much valid. It means educating yourself, reading about and from people from different cultures. It means rejecting any attempt of categorizing cultures as being good or evil as a whole. It means a lot of listening and maybe less talking.

Trust me, I very much include myself when I say that we have to educate ourselves. The truth is, I have a shit tons of biases. I’m desperately secular, hopelessly Cartesian and very much on the Left spectrum. I’ve beneficed from my white privilege my whole life. I’m a straight, abled woman from Europe. I will never understand religion – I am interested in religions, but it’s not the same thing and it never will. As far as I’m concerned, though, people can believe what they want as long as they don’t try to convince me that I should believe and live my life according to thus beliefs. And just to be clear, right now the intolerant people who are being vocals about condemning abortion or LGBTQIA rights in my country are very much Christians.

Nobody asks you to change what you are, but to accept that others aren’t the same.

Am I going to screw up and fail to notice hurtful contents in the books I read? Probably, unfortunately. Yet I think that in the end, what baffles me and makes me so sad and so angry is the fact that so many people genuinely do not want to listen, learn and do better.

Everything starts with education, and I’m not saying this because I’m a teacher. Nobody should ever forget that “[we] know one thing; that [we] know nothing”.

As usual, if you’re an #ownvoices reviewer and would like to share the link to your review, please put it in the comment section, I’ll add it!

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