Thursday, February 23, 2012

Marjane Satrapi on the Difference Between People and Governments

The other day, in one of their newsletters, World Can't Wait sent an old interview that was done with the Iranian-born Graphic Novelist Marjane Satrapi, who some people might know because of the animated film that was based on her best-selling Persepolis books. (It was a great film; although the graphic novels were better).
Although the interview was done in 2005, (by Michelle Goldberg for, it is actually very timely--especially with all the recent talk of possible war with Iran.

The best quote in the interview is when she is asked if she has any advice for secular Americans living in a country that is increasingly becoming controlled by religious fundamentalists. She says:

If I have any advice, it’s that every day that you wake up, don’t say, “This is normal.” Every day, wake up with this idea that you have to defend your freedom. Nobody has the right to take from women the right to abortion, nobody has the right to take from homosexuals the right to be homosexual, nobody has the right to stop people laughing, to stop people thinking, to stop people talking.

If I have one message to give to the secular American people, it’s that the world is not divided into countries. The world is not divided between East and West. You are American, I am Iranian, we don’t know each other, but we talk together and we understand each other perfectly. The difference between you and your government is much bigger than the difference between you and me. And the difference between me and my government is much bigger than the difference between me and you. And our governments are very much the same.

Earlier in the interview she made it very clear that, "My criticism is not towards America -- it's towards the American government, which to me are two different things" Another very interesting part of the interview is when she is asked her thoughts about the idea that some Americans have that Iranians would be happy if America came to "liberate" them. Although she has some allusions about the United Nations, she clearly sees that no good can come from U.S. intervention. "For people who think that America will come and liberate them, I invite them to read the history and see what America has done," she said.

(Click HERE for an article on U.S. Intervention in the Middle East, up to 2001).

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