cover image Woman, Life, Freedom

Woman, Life, Freedom

Edited by Marjane Satrapi, trans. from the French by Una Dimitrijevic. Seven Stories, $35.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-64421-405-3

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.)