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.