Thursday, February 16, 2012

Quote of the Day: Marjane Satrapi on East versus West

I love this old quote from Marjane Satrapi (from Iran). This is from a Salon article back in 2005, back when Bush was president.

"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."

This was in response to this question: "Do you see similarities between the Christian fundamentalists in our government and the mullahs in Iran?"

Here's the article, from Salon.
"Sexual revolutionaries" by Michelle Goldberg

The East versus West quote was just one minor part of the article, by the way. She makes some great points about sex as well. She does this in the context of discussing the secular versus the religious. She feels that her Muslim theocrats are not much different from our Christian theocrats. I'm not 100% sure I agree, but she is very thought-provoking.

I also enjoyed this exchange in the article:

Satrapi: "My grandmother always said the saddest life is to be born a cow and to die a donkey."

Goldberg: "What does that mean?"

Satrapi: "That means you are born stupid, and you’re going to die even more stupid."
Satrapi continues, "In your life you have to experience things; you have to see things. What is the interest of life if you’re always scared and you don’t see anyone and don’t go anywhere? What is the point in living? Just eating and shitting and making money?"

More good stuff:
"Democracy, contrary to what they try to tell us, it’s not a paper that you hang on the wall and then you have a democracy. Democracy is a social evolution. It is something cultural. Iranians, they have become much more secular, and they are ready for democracy, but they have to fight themselves for democracy, and the only thing that other countries can do is to understand their fight and help them in their fight."

"...if we want a democracy, the Iranian people have to do it themselves. The Americans say they want a democracy in Iran, and at the same time, when the Iranians wanted to become democratic in 1953 with [Mohammad] Mosaddeq and to nationalize our oil, the CIA came and made a coup d’├ętat in my country. Why do you want me to believe that they want to come and make a democracy? We have to make our democracy!"

This is a difficult paragraph to fully grasp, and it shows that we cannot necessarily "liberate" countries with our armies:
"There are many things that I wish for in my country — I want my country to be free, I want my country to be democratic, I don’t want any journalists to go to jail because of an article they wrote in my country. But if the United States of America attacked my country, no matter what, I would be against the United States."

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