Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

Nationalism in the Questionable Legitimization of Conflict in Satrapi’s Persepolis College

In Satrapi’s graphic memoir Persepolis: A Story of a Childhood, there is a constant theme of exploitation of heroic concepts to legitimize political movements. The dissenters of the Shah used martyrdom, even exploiting a man who had died of cancer, claiming he was a political killing by the government (Satrapi 31-32). The Islamic regime mobilized religious fundamentalism to legitimize closing schools and purging western culture and thought (Satrapi 73). However, while fundamentalism and martyrdom were used often to achieve domestic political goals, it is nationalism which was used in a way that shaped the relations between Iran and foreign states, mobilized first in the novel by the British-installed Shah, and then later by the Islamic regime in its war effort against Iraq. Understanding Global Conflict and Cooperation defines nationalism as “A celebration or assertion of national identity that commonly finds political expression in the claim of a right of self-determination or self-government.” Throughout history this concept has fueled ethnic violence, civil war, and countless revolutions, but in Persepolis Satrapi investigates the ways in which nationalism was exploited for British imperialist means, and as a form of...

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