>> Lamia Ziade grew up in the midst of the Lebanese civil war, seeing her apartment destroyed, her parents trapped in the other side of town from her, and her country “collapse into homicidal madness.” She told me she was, quite naturally, scarred by the experience, but when she finally felt able to chart her experiences in memoir form, she did so in a brilliantly inventive way.
Bye Bye Babylon is the result – it’s reminiscent of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis in that it uses art to chronicle upheaval from the eyes of a child, but it’s less prescriptive than the comic strip style of that book. Instead, Ziade uses bright, bold pop art imagery with accompanying text: it’s more picture book than memoir, but it’s nevertheless a compelling and blackly comic record of a completely confusing time both for Ziade as a child, and Lebanon as a whole.
“It was very important for me not to write a gloomy book. It’s not my style. In Lebanon in the 1970s we were very influenced by western brands, so it felt natural to have a Pop Art feel. It seemed to fit the iconography of the era somehow.”