“A Little Prince in the Land of the Mullahs” Tells the Story of a Victim of the 1988 Massacre
Sister of Political Prisoner Writes Graphic Novel about His Life and Death
The story of the 1988 Massacre in Iran is not an easy subject for a book. There is no happy ending and no resolution for those who were involved. It is not a topic one would usually consider for a graphic novel. But “A Little Prince in the Land of the Mullahs” manages to tackle this difficult subject matter through the eyes of a young man and his struggle for freedom in the midst of oppression.
A New Graphic Novel – a Little Prince in the Land of the Mullahs
The story of "A Little Prince in the Land of the Mullahs" is a graphic novel about the #Iran'ian youth's fight for freedom.https://t.co/GZYrFuZ8WA #1988Massacre pic.twitter.com/AOjXebvn5h
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) December 24, 2018
The book, published by Société des écrivains, is written as a graphic novel, which allows the story of Ahmad Raouf-Basharidoust to come to life on the pages. Ahmad was one of the victims of the 1988 Massacre, in which 30,000 political prisoners, most of them MEK members or supporters, were executed by the Iranian regime over the course of a single summer.
Ahmad’s story is told by his sister, Massoumeh Raouf Basharidoust. In Ingrid Betancourt’s preface, she writes: “Telling the story of your little brother is a need, of course, but it is above all a right. It must honor Ahmad’s heroism, the majesty of his spirit, his beauty, his charisma. That is why she draws him for us and makes him speak because she knows that he alone can be his best spokesperson.”
Ahmad was born in 1964 to a middle-class family in northern Iran. The story of his childhood is also the story of the final years of the Shah’s rule in Iran, the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and Khomeini’s rise to power. Ahmad began to seek an alternative to the mullahs’ rule as a young man and became an active sympathizer of the MEK.
Ingrid Betancourt writes in her preface: “And in this suffocating and misogynistic world of the mullahs, his heroes are his mother and sister: a sister who manages to escape from prison, a mother who dies under the persecution of the regime’s executioners.”
Ahmad was later imprisoned for his political beliefs and, in 1988 he was rounded up along with 30,000 other political prisoners and executed.
A Story of Strength
Ahmad’s story tells an important story about one of the largest mass executions in modern history. This atrocity by the Iranian regime has never been investigated and its perpetrators have yet to be brought to justice. But “A Little Prince in the Land of the Mullahs” is also a story of strength in the face of oppression. An entire generation of Iranians rose up in opposition of Khomeini in 1988, despite the consequences. They spoke out for freedom until the very end. In this time of protest and turmoil in Iran, their message of resistance is more important than ever.
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