Woman, Life, Freedom
An urgent, groundbreaking and visually stunning new collection of graphic story-telling about the present Iranian revolution, using comics to show what would be censored in photos and film in Iran.
Marjane Satrapi, author of Persepolis, returns to graphic art with this collaboration of over 20 activists, artists, journalists, and academics working together to depict the historic uprising, in solidarity with the Iranian people and in defense of feminism.
On September 13th 2022, a young Iranian student, Mahsa Amini, was arrested by the morality police in Tehran. Her only crime was that she wasn’t properly wearing the headscarf required for women by the Islamic Republic. At the police station, she was beaten so badly she had to be taken to the hospital, where she fell into a deep coma. She died three days later.
A wave of protests soon spread through the whole country, and crowds adopted the slogan “Woman, Life, Freedom”—words that have been chanted around the world during solidarity rallies.
In order to tell the story of this major revolution happening in her homeland, Marjane Satrapi has gathered together an array of journalists, activists, academics, artists, and writers from around the world to create this powerful collection of full-color, graphic-novel-style essays and perspectives that bear witness:
- Contributing artists: Joann Sfar, Coco, Mana Neyastani, Catel, Pascal Rabate, Patricia Bolanos, Paco Roca, Bahareh Akrami, Hippolyte, Shabnam Adiban, Lewis Trondheim, Winshluss, Touka Neyastani, Bee, Deloupy, Nicolas Wild, and Marjane Satrapi.
- 3 expert perspectives on Iran: long-time journalist for Libération and political scientist Jean-Pierre Perrin; researcher and Iran specialist Farid Vahid; and UC Berkeley historian Abbas Milani, Director of the Iranian Studies program at Stanford University.
Woman, Life, Freedom demonstrates that this is not an unexpected movement, but a major uprising in a long history of women who have wanted to affirm their rights. It will continue.
Praise for Woman, Life, Freedom
"A small miracle of lively, serious and joyful intelligence, like Marjane." —Elle (France)
*"Satrapi (Persepolis) brings together a sweeping anthology of political essays in comics form that takes its title from the protest chant of the feminist uprising in Iran following the 2022 beating to death of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by morality police for wearing her head covering “improperly.” In entries representing the stunning breadth and vitality of the Iranian resistance movement, the government’s oppression of women is framed as just one symptom of a diseased and dying system. “The guy who wants to control your body and your life also wants to control what you’re thinking and not thinking.... It’s not just about the veil,” warn Bahareh Akrami and Farid Vahid in the volume’s opener, “Sparking a Revolution.” The following sections dig into state censorship and spy networks; the brutality of the Revolutionary Guards; the abuses in Evin prison, a “hellhole” where the incarcerated are forced into false confessions; the corruption represented by “the aghazadeh,” high-living young elites; and the “Blue Girl,” a female soccer fan, imprisoned for attending a match, who self-immolated in protest. The impressive spectrum of art ranges from Par Mana Neyestani’s claustrophobic crosshatching, to Joann Sfar’s charmingly loose lines, to Touka Neyestani’s unforgettable caricature of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei strolling into a sea of blood. Interstitial drawings by Satrapi in her trademark, fiercely thick-lined style include a gorgeous portrait of Amini with her hair flowing like flames. The result is a stirring call for change that reminds readers “the art of rebellion is an everyday battle.” (Mar.)
“ The author of Persepolis returns with a collection about burgeoning activism in Iran. In September 2022, the beating and death of Mahsa Jina Amini, an Iranian student arrested for not wearing her headscarf properly, incited a solidarity movement among women and men that spread around the world. To publicize and bear witness to this major uprising, Satrapi has gathered stories, cartoons, and essays from more than 20 artists, activists, journalists, and academics. The author has two aims: “to explain what’s going on in Iran, to decipher events in all their complexity and nuance for a non-Iranian readership, and to help you understand them as fully as possible”; and “to remind Iranians that they are not alone.” Setting the movement in context, Iranian American historian Abbas Milani offers an overview of the political upheavals and revolutions that have led to the current misogynist, repressive regime and the “resolute defiance” that has emerged in protest. As each contributor attests, life under a wrathful dictatorship is consistently frightening and dangerous: “The Islamic Republic ensures its own survival by murdering people. During the successive demonstrations” over Amini’s murder, “several hundred people were killed in an attempt to strike fear into the hearts of protesters. Young people were forced to confess under torture.” Women are especially vulnerable. Since November 2022, young students in schools across Iran have been poisoned by toxic gas as part of an attempt to force girls’ schools to close. Protecting the regime falls to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a paramilitary organization that answers directly to Khomeini, the Supreme Leader, and for the past four decades has carried out a reign of terror. This collection pays homage to victims and celebrates the dreams of Iran’s determined activists. Other contributors include Joanne Sfar, Lewis Trondheim, Paco Roca, and Mana Neyestani. An impassioned message of rage and hope.” — Kirkus