سلام (That means hello in Persian!). My name is Marji Satrapi. I currently live in France, but I grew up in Rasht, Iran during the Iranian Revolution in 1979. My family was all about the Marxist theory and fighting the power of the revolution. I was all about Kim Wilde, Michael Jackson, and jean jackets. Unfortunately, I still had to wear the veil to school, and we didn’t know who we could trust, not even our neighbors. If you want to know more about life during the Iranian Revolution, let me put on my phrophet cap and lead the way.
I didn’t have many real friends growing up. There was Mehri the maid who was fired for pretending to be my sister. There was Kia, a boy I basically controlled and he followed me around pretending to be revolutionists and dictators, all while carrying his father’s brass knuckles. There were some neighborhood kids that I hung out with here and there, and a boy that I liked who moved to America. But other than that, I spent all my time with my family.
I liked a boy from my school at the beginning of the revolution. His parents thought it was too dangerous to stay in Iran, so they moved to America. I wanted us to move to America too, so we could stay friends and I could continue to like him, but that didn’t happen.
I’ll admit it. I was a little bit of a bully in my day. I liked to play dictator and torture other kids. One time, Kia and I were going to shank a kid with fake brass knuckles because I heard his father was involved in one of the attacks on our people. They said he killed hundreds! Mom put an end to that and I grew out of my bullying phase eventually.
Do you understand how weird it is to be a girl during a religious revolution? We all had to wear the same clothes and the same veils to school. It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack trying to determine one of us from the next. I was big on spicing up my look with things like Nikes and jean jackets. Of course they were illegal and contraband, but that didn’t stop me. I felt good about my rebellious look, until I got caught.
Fighting back against the revolution was considered a crime. You could go to jail for protesting, wearing the wrong clothes, owning alcohol, going outside without your veil, and a whole bunch of other semi-non-legitimate reasons. Sometimes if you were particularly unlucky (or lucky, I guess, depending on your stance) you didn’t make it to jail. You were killed instead in a riot, or a protest, or just by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Death was all around during the revolution. People died in riots and protests everyday. People died in bombings and firefights, and people were also executed in prison. My Uncle Anoosh was one of those people. In fact, people died so often that when a kid was told his or her relative was on a trip or in jail it basically meant they were dead, or on their way to being dead.