In Marjane Satrapi’s graphic memoir, Persepolis, her religious identity fluctuates quite a bit as she grows up. As a young child, she describes herself as being “born with religion” and also believes that she will be the last prophet (Pg. 6). When she starts getting older and sees more of the atrocities going on in the world due to the revolution, her faith begins to falter as she does not understand how God could let these things happen. At one point, she demands God leave her life altogether after Anoosh was executed. Even though she asks God to leave her life, I believe she still knows her need for God in her life when she says “I was so lost, without any bearings…what could be worse than that?” (Pg. 71). All this to say, her religious identity becomes quite complicated as she begins to fade away from her childlike faith, but I feel that we can all relate to this. Personally, I am experiencing and have in the past experienced this uncertain, complicated religious identity as I am growing into my own faith and out of my parents’. And like Marjane, while I do not know where I stand at the moment, I do still recognize the need for God in my life. I really appreciate how Satrapi represents her faith in her memoir and that it is more complicated and difficult than a lot of people believe. It is also very reassuring to read of someone who is unsure of their faith because at times, it can be a very uncomfortable place to be at and people can very easily feel judged for their uncertainty. I believe that by portraying her faith in this manner, she helps people to know they are not alone in this situation and that it is okay to have a complicated faith.
The United States’ influence in the Middle East has always seemed quite interesting and controversial. It is intriguing how they hold their influence over a place that is so far away from the U.S. In January 16th’s New York Times article, Iran Complies With Nuclear Deal; Sanctions Are Lifted, David Sanger discusses that after inspectors confirmed that Iran had dismantled much of its nuclear programs, U.S. sanctions were lifted from the country. The sanctions dealt specifically with oil and finances, including the release of $100 billion of assets. In order for the sanctions to be lifted, Iran “shipped 98 percent of its fuel to Russia, dismantled more than 12,000 centrifuges so they could not enrich uranium, and poured cement into the core of a reactor designed to produce plutonium” (Sanger). Amidst this deal, a prisoner swap between the two countries as well with five “unjustly detained” Americans and seven Iranians convicted/charged of breaking American embargos released. It seems like Iran was almost cornered into making this deal and did not have any other choice because of the powerhouse America is. Again, this influence that America and the West has over the Middle East is quite controversial and astounding.