Zahra’s Paradise Melds Pop Culture and Persian Politics

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As published on Jezebel

As various factions fight for the future of Iran in the aftermath of the hotly contested 2009 elections, two activists are leveraging the power of pop culture and the internet to speak truth to power. Their weapon of choice? Comics.
Today marks the debut of Zahra’s Paradise, a thrice weekly updated comic by activists Amir and Khalil. Remaining anonymous for political reasons, there’s not much known about the creators beyond what they have decided to reveal on their site. Using a fusion of narrative story telling and current events, Zahra’s Paradise aims to reveal the high stakes involved with living in Iran.

The website provides more background about the focus of the series:

Set in the aftermath of Iran’s fraudulent elections of 2009, Zahra’s Paradise is the fictional story of the search for Mehdi, a young protestor who has disappeared in the Islamic Republic’s gulags. Mehdi has vanished in an extrajudicial twilight zone where habeas corpus is suspended. What stops his memory from being obliterated is not the law. It is the grit and guts of a mother who refuses to surrender her son to fate and the tenacity of a brother-a blogger-who fuses culture and technology to explore and explode absence: the void in which Mehdi has vanished.
The writers also plan to use the comic as part of a larger platform for information. The website promises links to news sources, and provides a space for those long thoughts that do not fit inside dialogue bubble.

Poetically explaining the motivation for the series, Amir writes:

But, of course, Zahra’s Paradise is also a story about absences.

There’s a lot that gone into this story that I wish I could undo.

Neda is dead, and buried in Zahra’s Paradise. Sohrab is dead and buried in Zahra’s Paradise. Mohsen is dead and buried in Zahra’s Paradise.

My brother is also dead, and yes, I have buried him too in Zahra’s Paradise.

I have buried these seeds here, in this ground, in my shroud of words, and Khalil’s shrine of images, because I’m afraid that they will be, and are being, lost and forgotten.

Grief, like love, is universal. It’s a currency that connect us all.

But why?

Could it be that the dead aren’t dead, that if we grieve deeply enough, that our love can summon them back to life.
A lot of death has gone into Zahra’s Paradise, but there’s still plenty of life in the dead. There’s no destroying their life force.

The dead speak to us, and through us. They can come back as fact, or they can come back as fiction. The trick, I think, is to face them, to channel their force, to write through and with one’s grief. To lend them your pen so that you can let go of their pain.

You can read more here.

15 Comments

AnTiViRuSSeptember 9th, 2010 at 4:55 pm

keep it real, iight

JoeyNovember 24th, 2014 at 9:01 am

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ñïñ!!…

DonaldNovember 25th, 2014 at 12:37 am

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tnx for info!!…

LeroyNovember 26th, 2014 at 9:10 am

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áëàãîäàðñòâóþ!…

TedNovember 26th, 2014 at 4:30 pm

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ñïñ!…

michaelNovember 27th, 2014 at 1:04 pm

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ñïñ!…

GeorgeNovember 30th, 2014 at 3:25 am

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ñïàñèáî çà èíôó!!…

KenNovember 30th, 2014 at 11:37 am

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ñïñ….

carlosDecember 5th, 2014 at 1:19 am

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ñýíêñ çà èíôó….

SamDecember 11th, 2014 at 2:34 am

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áëàãîäàðñòâóþ!…

WarrenDecember 23rd, 2014 at 10:52 am

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thanks….

TommyJanuary 14th, 2015 at 5:58 am

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ñïñ çà èíôó!…

alejandroJanuary 14th, 2015 at 6:30 am

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ñïñ….

MichealJanuary 15th, 2015 at 3:23 am

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ñïñ….

alexJanuary 21st, 2015 at 5:49 pm

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ñýíêñ çà èíôó!!…

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