Fadwa’s story tells us a lot about the distance between our lives and the lives of those we hear about in the news, and how that affects our perceptions. For lack of a better expression, it’s exceedingly true that in our reception and perception of the lives of those living in the Middle East and elsewhere around the globe. I think that her story highlights the importance of those who choose to go into reporting and storytelling. Journalism, though considered a profession that simply is meant to record and relate facts, actually falls under the umbrella of story telling pretty consistently. The journalist, in telling the story of the “facts”, inevitably tells a story they devise and create. This means that the ability to be truthful in the nature of your story, as well as the details, is supremely important for any journalist to acquire before they write about another country.
One thing I found interesting and relatable in Persepolis was Marjane’s experiences in Vienna. Specifically, the doubts she has about assimilating into western culture and the fears she expresses about losing her roots. The voice of my grandmother doesn’t come to me at the times when I’m immersing myself in the fashions, tastes, and interest of my friends, but I do experience from time to time a large amount of doubt about my identity. Despite the fact that i consider my abilities to assimilate to be pretty good, I know that I still abide in a distanced space from many of my peers. The anxiety of this, and the attempt to not think about it add a layer of stress, in reconciling two conflicting halves of myself.
I think Persepolis is an amazing example firstly of what can be done with the graphic novel as a form, and secondly how powerfully art can make a world that is distant and foreign feel immediate and familiar. Powerfully familiar. I have to admit that as I read Persepolis, especially the first half about Marji’s relatives and the war, I was frequently moved by the writing and entranced by the story. I hope that more artists with unique experiences can do work like Persepolis; it’s an act of bridging that feels so right and real.