Marjane Satrapi on America and the “Islamic Revolution”

Posted by John Rosenthal

Since the premiere of her animated film “Persepolis” at the Cannes Film Festival in May, the Paris-based Iranian comic book artist Marjane Satrapi had become a sort of icon of hip “opposition” to the Mullah regime in Tehran. But if one is to judge by the interview with Ms. Satrapi that appeared in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) on Friday, there is something to which she is more opposed than the Mullahs and their “Islamic Revolution”. Here a translated excerpt; the question is posed by FAZ-journalist Andreas Platthaus.  

What can a film about Iran still accomplish nowadays, when America has threatened to start a Third World War?


That we even have to talk about such questions is tied to the fact that people are treated in the abstract: as citizens of a rogue state or as a Yankee, but not simply as people…. If one knows that the guy that one is bombing is not just anyone, but has a wife and kids like oneself, then things could go a little bit better. But I have no illusions: films do not influence world history. If they did, Michael Moore would have gotten rid of President Bush all by himself with “Fahrenheit 9/11.” How can one see such a film and then still elect Bush again?

Asked by Platthaus about the 1979 seizure of American diplomats at the American Embassy in Tehran, moreover, Satrapi responds:

Please. Nobody at home [in Iran] was interested in that. After the Islamic Revolution, the occupation of the Embassy seemed entirely normal, since it was thanks to the Americans, after all, that we had the Shah. Nobody was killed during the occupation and everyone was released later. My suffering compatriots are supposed to be impressed by that? If you spit in somebody’s face for decades, eventually they will have had enough. That is exactly what is happening in South America. That is why Chavez was elected. Human beings have something called a memory. Nothing in life is forgotten.

The website “Iran-Resist”, incidentally, has called into question Satrapi’s credentials as an “opponent” of the regime. The site normally publishes in French, but translates some articles into English. The French version of the Iran-Resist “investigation” into the biography of Marjane Satrapi is available here and the English translation is here.


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