As a child I liked books with little drawings and this attraction for text accompanied by images remains with me today. It gives me the greatest pleasure when I find a well-written story with illustrations drawn by the author herself. It was precisely this combination in Persepolis, by the Iranian author Marjane Satrapi, that captivated me. Her very first pages pulled me in, evoking my days as a reader of comic books, but I did not imagine that her vision of Iran would affect me so deeply.

Like everything that comes quite late to my Island, first I learned of the green tide in Tehran and later was able to explore the story of this woman growing up in the midst of intolerance and prohibitions. The young Marjane can’t stop asking questions, as has been the case for me for more than twenty years. If it weren’t for the black veil on her hair and the constant presence of religion, I would think that Persepolis tells the story of the Cuba in which I’ve lived. Especially with regards to the extreme tension, the constant mention of an external enemy and the creation of a cast of martyrs around the fallen.

I showed Teo some pages of the book and he fixed his eyes on the panel where Marjane reflects about a political billboard. It featured the phrase, “To die as a martyr is to inject blood into the veins of society” for which the girl drew a body that was screaming while transfusing the insatiable Nation. My son, who is no slouch when it comes to questioning everything, found similarities with the slogan, “We are ready to shed every last drop of our blood,” so often repeated in these parts. I could not control my graphic imagination and visualized a Cuban dripping on native soil, after being squeezed to the maximum.


7 thoughts on “Persepolis

  1. Great post. We’ve discussed Persépolis with several friends – it seems the book is generally understandable for people who lived in a totalitarian state. It seems she picked up the core attributes. As did Orwell in his 1984…

  2. Ofcourse Señor i’m still reading her post’s,i’ve just cooled down my net usage,so i have to read a few altogther in one;for i’ve missed the past post’s;the more the merrier i say.
    This does show another similartity;& though your right about the injustice’s we suffer,while i was reading this post,i was immeadiately reminded of my soilders in the Northern Area’s.Yes the army has the reputation of gangster’s,but not all of them are bad,especially the Infantry.I am reminded of our Shaheed when i read this post,and the mistake’s the government made,and the conclusive step,which they should’ve taken long ago,they took so late,making it harder for the Infantry.

  3. The Cuban regime is not just made up of thugs, but also vampires. Just as in the legend, these bloodthirsty parasites that make up the Castro dynasty, are seemingly hundreds of years old, and they prefer virgin, young blood, especially that of children. They’re also not picky, they’re opportunistic, like hyenas and will take whatever bloody opportunities comes their way.

    But not to worry, these monsters must contend with the weathering effects of tropical sunlight, hurricane winds and time. They will blow away soon.

  4. Mushba
    I hope you are still reading this wonderful post by Yoani
    This one in particular seems to be tailor made for the comments you have made in the past about similarities between Pakistan and Cuba.
    I guess in every society there is similarities to others and things that translate even if our cultures are so far apart.
    I think it all have to do with something that unify us

    Been human!

    so we all suffer injustices in one way or another
    lack of freedom and get manipulated by the people in power.

    Is time to help each other and let freedom take hold
    everything will follow suit from free people.

  5. In theory and practice that has been the ideal of the Castros always!!!!treat that all the people were immolated for their cause!!!!.

    May be during the first 10 years, that was really possible, but after these years, step by step the people was realizing that it was a lie, then as usual , the reaction has been the double face, the double moral, pretending that they are willing to die, but when it reaches the right moment!!!!,,,the answer is another!!!!.

    The best example I have and may be the latest an the only one after those first 10 years (from 1969 on) is the “Granada War in 1982″, where Castro wanted that the 600 builders and the 60 military working in the Island have given their lives,,,,what kind of political propaganda that had been announcing that more than 600 persons died for their homeland defending the revolution after being massacred by the invading Americans!!!!!

    What a expectacular moment had been for the Castros brother!!!!

    However, this was not what happened,,,,,because with the exception of 25 Cubans that were killed , most of them were killed at random, because a bomb exploded nearby or where they were traveling overturned the jeep, things like that,,,,, the rest, the majority surrendered saying ” We are Cubans, we don’t want to fight, we want to surrender”!!!! because every one of them were preserving their lives,,,none of them wanted to die for the revolution or its leaders, and this has included all the military with their superior officer in charge , Pedro Lopez Tortolo, that as a coward chicken ran to the Russian embassy to hide.

    This is something probed, something that, the recent history of Cuba has behind her past, behind her dark way of repression, abuses, corruption and catastrophic system.

    We could think that really would happened if the American Army had invaded Cuba?

    1-Absolutely sure we will free!!!!
    2-Absolutely sure the Castros brother had been executed
    3-The people of Cuba would have avoided all the miseries and calamities through which it has passed through more than 50 years.

    And finally, we will be able to heard a Coffee vendors all around Havana City, announcing, screaming !!!!

    “Coffe,,Coffee,,,10 cents a cup”!!!!!!!!!!!


  6. To teach children in elementary school to be ready to shed every last drop of their blood in defense of a political system they can’t understand and to have to learn to shoot an AK-47 befor they are allowed to drive a car is in my view, an act of ‘Child Molestation’!! Your great keaders are little more than child molesters!! Moreover, they are among the most reprehensible of cowards. They take away the bread and milk from women and babies, while they themselves grow fat with their excess. They are constantly vilifying the United States as the ‘enemy’, but it’s only because of your favorable geographic location to that very enemy, that their governmental system,’of the Thugs’,’by the Thugs’,’and for the Thugs’, even still exhists! All that is needed for them to bring a swift and sure end to their rein of terror is to invite the likes of Hugo Chavez, Iran’s Ahmadinejad, and Kim Jong-Il to Cuba for a bar-b-que with the Castro brothers, and their corrupt system and their miserable lives will come to a swift and complete halt!! Let them give their own blood and shoot their own guns and die in martyrdom for their own nongovernment, but let the good citizens of Cuba join the international community of civilized societies.

  7. An amazing graphic novel. I’m glad you were able to read it. My favorite part is when she was a teenager trying to buy heavy metal on the black market :) The second book is even more interesting, her experiences as an immigrant living in Europe, dealing with racism and adjusting to a radically different culture. Hopefully you can get your hands on part 2.

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