Persepolis 2

freedom v. the veil

In Performing Democracy, Segall mentions the importance of Fadwa’s story.  This young mother’s cry for democracy was hardly echoed across the globe in comparison to the similar demonstration that took place just a few months before her. The search for her story shows the difference in gender roles when it comes to protesting and how Western media portrays the activists.  In the few reports that acknowledge Fadwa, they often frame the story on the need for western culture to save women surviving in the Middle East.  A story that was meant to call attention for the need for democracy was twisted and warped to strengthen the single-story written by western media that claims Muslim women are in need of rescue. The story of Fadwa is important because it calls us to reevaluate the stories we do read and encourages us to search for stories we are not being told.

In the chapter 5 in Performing Democracy, the idea of social loss is discussed in relation to Persepolis. From the reading we learn that social loss “crosses transnational borders, is passed through stories, drives communities towards movements, wraps around intergenerational trauma, tying remembrance, and identity.” The story of Persepolis is an example of the passing of social loss. The power of remembering social loss is exemplified in Iran banning the story of Persepolis. Fear of what could come from stirring up the memories displayed in Persepolis motivated Iran to keep the graphic novel from its citizens.

Persepolis is particularly important to me because of information it shares about the islamic faith and its relation to the politics of the middle east. I am currently completing an internship at World Relief working with refugees; a majority of whom are from the Middle East.  I think in America we often view Islam as working with the political forces, especially in Iraq and Iran, but Persepolis shows how Islam is often stirring below and against the political movements.  Americans often make the mistake of forcing Muslims into a small box that is shaped by Western media and personal opinion, but the story told in this novel shows the diversity that exists within the religion and importance of acknowledging that we often are desiring the same social goals.

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