Have You Ever Been in a War Zone?

 

My heart is palping too fast. My soul is sinking in the void. I feel an iron feast on my throat. It is hard to breathe. It is very hard to feel happy.

Just a few minutes ago, I opened my twitter account to see what is trending. I saw a hashtag. #NoWarWithIran.

Didn’t the war in Iraq start with a hashtag #NotWarinIraq? Do you remember?

 

A 12-year-old girl was lying on the ground. Her mom was close to her, her hands on the girls head. The woman was pregnant.

All dead. 

 

I have a large and extended family in Tehran. From my mom’s side, there is Sara Soltan, my 82-year-old grandma in which I adopted her name a few years ago, lives in Narmak, east of Tehran. My brother, with his wife and 2-year-old daughter, lives in the northwest of Tehran.

From my dad’s side, there are 29 people of my cousins and uncles, with their families, live in South Tehran. My uncles are Muhammad and Mehdi. And my cousins are Maryam, Marzieh, Ali, Nazi, and others.

Marzieh is one of my oldest cousins. She is in her early 30s. She has a son and a husband. All of the people in her family are good citizens. My two uncles are in large houses in the south. If any war happens against Iran, I may lose them.

But, what can I do? The biggest question that hangs in my throat at the moment, that doesn’t let me breathe as easily as I want … is the question of what can I do to prevent the bloody war.

 

Have you ever witnessed war?

I was around 12 years old when Sadaam Hussain reached Tehran. We were living in a mansion at the time. In my dad’s house, we had a swimming pool, a library room, around 6 bedrooms … you get the idea. The house was big.

 

My mom wrapped me in my blankets, slided me toward door frame. Then, she grabbed me in her arms. She held me so tight. 

 

Due to security reasons, my mom and dad taped all the windows in the house. It was a precaution to preventing the shattering of the tiny glasses throughout the house during the bombardment.

On a particular night, around 2 AM, we heard a very loud siren. My 27-year-old aunt, my sister, my brother and I were sleeping in the safest room in the house. The room was close to the staircase. My mom and dad were sleeping in the library room, the next safest room since there weren’t too many windows in those rooms.

A few minutes later, I felt a loud scream, “where is Sara?” my mom was shouting. Her voice heard like a wolf crying.

All the five people in my family were sitting by the door frame. But, I was not there with them. I was in bed. I didn’t want to leave my sleep! Next thing I knew was someone wrapping me in my blankets and sliding me towards somewhere. Then, she grabbed me in her arms and hold me so tight. It was my mom.

 

I am not going to talk about War against Iran. I will talk about peace.

 

My mom was holding me so tight. My aunt was holding my mom so tight. And my dad was holding my sister and brother so tight. We thought we can be saved by holding each other so tight.

A few minutes later, the smoke was everywhere. Every single large window broke that night.

After we knew we were safe, my 2-year-old brother started crying. My aunt was all in tears. My mom kept checking my head and my body for any sign of blood.  My dad was all over my sister and brother, checking them for any sign of injuries. As he was moving his hands around our bodies, checking us out, my mom spotted a few tiny glasses stuck in my dad’s forearms. She rose to grab the medical aid. Just then, my dad shouted, “sit down.” As he was screaming, the whole house shook so hard. First, I thought the house shook due to my dad’s scream. But, in fact, there was another attack.  I closed my eyes. When I opened them, I thought I was in heaven. There was smoke everywhere. My head was so dizzy. I couldn’t see anything.

 

Aghajoon, My Grandpa

Three hours later, my grandpa was at the gateway. His steps were so heavy. It seemed that he couldn’t walk. When he got closer, he started crying. I had never seen a man cry so hard.

“Thank you, God,” he said. “Thank you very much for granting me to have my kids back. Allah, I am your slave. Allah I am your lamb, I am nothing. God, please do not test me by taking away my kids.” Then, he held my mom and aunt so tight. They were all crying.

 

Have you seen dead bodies?

After a long time crying and hugging, my mom took my grandpa to our large terrace on the second floor. There were remaining parts of the bombs everywhere. “I cannot believe you were spared,” my grandpa said helplessly.

Our house was still standing. But, I could hear loud cries from the distance.

My grandpa wanted to go and see where the bombs hit. “Can I go with Aghajoon,” I asked my mom. Aghajoon was what we called him. “No way,” she said. “You stay here with me,” she commended.

 

“Thank you very much God for granting me to have my kids back. Allah, I am your slave. Allah I am your lamb, I am nothing. God, please do not test me by taking away my kids.”

 

Aghajoon left the house a few minutes later. Without telling my mom, I grabbed my shoes and zipped out of the house. I wore them outside, running after my grandpa.

Our house was on Andishe Ten, in a neighborhood that was built by Germany a few years ago. The bomb hit houses on Andisheh eight, less than two blocks away from us.

When we turned to Andishe Eight, I saw something I never forget. A 12-year-old girl was lying on the ground, dead. Her mom was close to her, her hands on the girls head. The woman was pregnant. She was dead too.

I vividly remember the scene, and I remember what I told to that 12-year-old in my heart. “I stop another war in Iran,” I told her. “I promise you.”

 

Peace, Not War

#NotWarWithIran has a very heavy influence on me. I am from Iran. I was born and raised in Tehran, the capitol. I know all the streets, many stores in different neighborhoods, many places in different areas. I know people there. I have my family and friends in Tehran.

I am not going to talk about War against Iran. I will talk about peace. I will talk about how we can improve peace in many regions, especially the Middle East.

Soon, I will write about Peace Journalism and what it means for us in Goltune News.

 

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