Friday 6 June 2008
I am reading Persepolis by Marjana Satrapi at the moment, it's a really great autobiographical graphic novel. It is also a reflexion on history. Persepolis tells the story of a girl growing up in Iran during the Islamist revolution. But through her eyes, it is the story of a people who cannot free itself from tyranny (the monarchy, then the ayatollahs) and ultimately cannot find peace. It is also about the corrosive nature of ideologies, as they turn people into unloving, violent zealots. Reading it, I am thinking the regimes in Iran (either monarchy or Islamist republic) look a lot like the one of Oceania in Orwell's 1984. Like Ingsoc, the regimes in Persepolis use double thinking, patriotism and religion to try to control every aspect of individual life, including sexuality and love. Unlike Ingsoc (so far anyway), it does not as far as penetrating the consciousness of the citizens. Not all of them anyway, as many people do criticize the regime, even revolt, sometimes openly. That said, to see that a country that was not short of free thinkers and smart, open-minded people got opressed so easily is shivering in itself. And it makes me think that we Westerners are not out of danger in that regard. I mentioned on this blog in the past our own brand of fundamentalism and they are also more than eager to control us, to impose their system of beliefs on us. We should show vigilance, but when I see nowadays that Big Brother is for the young generation a vulgar, trashy game show, I wonder if there is really hope. If the real Big Brother shows up, who will oppose any kind of resistance?