Everything Can Be Censored: Fadwa and Persepolis

Fadwa Laroui's death highlights some key aspects of protest and media coverage. Although Fadwa initially attempted to change her state of injustice through courts and instructed procedure, she continued to face inequality. As a single mother, she was left a victim of the system that prioritized male gender and married women. However, Fadwa fought back against this system very dramatically and violently. By lighting herself on fire, Fadwa demonstrated the extremity of the situation. She protested in front of a government building, "where we expect citizens to receive assistance, not neglect." (200) Even a nearby police officer offered no assistance to this woman who had set herself ablaze. I also think that it is important to note who is interested in telling Fadwa's story. Western media has not broadcasted this woman's protest, however, many Moroccan websites have recognized the significance of her death.

Social loss speaks to the cultural homelessness that Satrapi illustrates throughout Persepolis. Our protagonist describes the process of trying to assimilate as a betrayal to her heritage, as if she was, “playing a game by somebody else’s rules.” (Satrapi, 192) There emerges a clear dichotomy of Marji’s identity, where her Iranian past seems to haunt her. “I wanted to forget everything, to make my past disappear, but my unconscious caught up to me.” (Satrapi, 193) This social loss can also be seen when she returns to Iran and has no knowledge of the war that has occurred. In this way, social loss can be seen through Persepolis as the political disruption is cemented into Marji's identity and shifting social landscapes.

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Page 118 of Persepolis 2 illustrates some of the most vulnerable moments of Satrapi's storytelling

What matters most to me is the vulnerability of Persepolis. The commitment to complete human-ness throughout the graphic novel is not only inspiring, but incredibly effective. Unfortunately, even when the single-story of Iran is not something that we would transparently teach, it is dominating the media coverage. Although many people would declare their acceptance to an alternative story of Iran, it takes skill to break apart the years of stereotypes ingrained and emotionally attached to an individual. However, by weaving herself into our trust, Satrapi makes her readers look at their stereotypes. Personally, I have never once heard statistics of suicides in Iran. However, this novel taught me of that reality and many others.

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