The Culture Of Conflict Essay

1469 words - 6 pages

Persepolis is a graphic novel in which Marjane Satrapi describes her and her family’s experiences in Iran during the Iranian revolution and Iran-Iraqi war. Her story shows the changes and struggles her society underwent, and how it subsequently affected her outlook on life. The events and observations detailed in the book contribute to Huntington’s idea that cultural influences were becoming the dominant source of conflict in the new world. Through the ways that culture can serve to unite certain groups of people while creating lines between others, it became an increasingly dominant contributor to global conflict after the Cold War era.
In certain cases, culture can serve to unite people in ways that ideology cannot. This phenomenon occurs when there are differences in education or income, as culture touches people from every social location. Accordingly, in Persepolis, during a conversation between Marji’s Uncle and father, Uncle Anoosh pointed out that the Iranian people could not be united around Marxism, or any other ideology. This inability was due to the fact that half the population was illiterate. He argued that what could truly unite them was “nationalism or a religious ethic” . He was arguing that a strong national pride or religious belief would be the true way to organize the nation and have them stand together. Uncle Anoosh’s opinion appeared to be justified later on, when Marjane and her parents were shocked to hear the old Iranian national anthem played from their television set. As the government had banned it and replaced it with an Islamic hymn, it had been over a year since they had heard it played. Hearing it again overcame them with emotion, and it brought joy, inspiration, and national pride to them. This demonstrated how people can be highly affected by a symbol of their culture, and that it can unite them in a way that a complicated political ideology sometimes cannot. This pride that is created for a country’s culture serves to unite a civilization, but the fervent nationalism it creates can also lead to revolution and conflict.
The Iranian Revolution was largely related to culture, as the people of Iran found that their culture was beginning to be contaminated by the West. The West put the Shah of Iran into power in 1941 through a successful coup d’état in which they forced Reza Pahlavi to abdicate, putting an end to his rule. In his place, they put his son, Mohammad Pahlavi, who cooperated with the allies and was proclaimed as the new monarch of the country. However, the new Shah was often accused of being a puppet to the West, and made many decisions that benefited the United States more than his own people. For example, he allowed the US to have a radar network stationed on the northern frontier of Iran, which allowed them to keep an eye on the military activity of the Soviet Union. They were also given access to Iran’s rich oil supply, which they could use to export and also to develop their own military. ...

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