War and No Peace in the Middle East

Courtesy of Middle East Eye: “A 10-year-old Palestinian girl breaks down while talking to MEE”

I watched the video clip above. Before I know it, a stream of tears was coming down my cheeks, leaving me feel helpless. I exactly knew what the girl felt. Exactly!

Below is a personal story from when I was 12. I have written similar story previously. Please bear with me!

 I was twelve

I was around 12 years old when Sadaam Hussain reached Tehran. Our house was on Shriati Street, in the Andishe neighborhood northeast of Tehran. We had a very big house with swimming pool, library room, and about six bedrooms. For security reasons, my mom had taped all the windows and glasses in the house. It was a precautionary measure recommended by experts on radio and TV to protect people from injuries caused by shattered glass.

One night, around 2 am, we woken up by a very loud siren. My 27-year-old aunt, 11-year-old sister and I were sleeping in the safest room in the house. My mom, dad and 2-year-old brother were sleeping in my dad’s study, the next safest room. These two rooms didn’t have too many windows.

A few minutes later, I heard a very loud scream. “Where is Sara?” my mom was yelling. Her voice sounded like a crying wolf.

All five people in my family were sitting by the door frame, except me. I was in bed. I didn’t want to leave my sleep! I didn’t care about the siren and the bombing. I was too tired of leaving my bed each time I heard siren. I was too tired of being scared.

 

“Allah, I am your slave. Allah I am your lamb, I am nothing. God, please do not test me by taking away my kids.”

 

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Next thing I knew, someone was wrapping me in my blankets and sliding me towards somewhere. Then, she grabbed me in her arms and held me very tightly. It was my mom.

My mom was holding me so tightly. My aunt was holding my mom so tightly. And my dad was holding my sister and brother so tightly. We thought we could save one another by holding each other tightly.

A few minutes later, our house shook so violently. For a second, I thought we were dead. When I opened my eyes, the smoke was everywhere. Every single window in our house broke that night.

About five minutes later, my 2-year-old brother started crying. My aunt was 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, my mom spotted a few tiny shards of glass stuck in his forearms. She rose to grab the first-aid kit. Just then, my dad shouted, “Sit down!” As he was screaming, the whole house shook so hard again. At first, I thought the house was shaking due to my dad’s scream. But, in fact, there had been another attack.  I closed my eyes.

Aghajoon, My Grandpa

Three hours later, my grandpa was at the gateway. His steps were so heavy. It seemed like 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 allowing 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.

Death and carnage

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

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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 commanded, “You stay here with me.”

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 before. The bomb had hit houses on Andishe 8, less than two blocks away from us.

When we turned into Andishe 8, I saw something I would never forget. There, lying on the ground, was the corpse of a 12-year-old girl. Her mom was close to her, sort of putting her hands on the girl’s head. The woman was pregnant.

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

 

The Middle East and Its Endless Wars

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To stop another war against Iran, or any other Muslim country in the Middle East, I feel helpless.  I honestly feel I cannot fulfill my promise to the 12-year-old girl!

Would the war in the Middle East ever stop?

Israel’s attack against Palestinians is unjustifiable. Her aggressive attacks to kill as many Palestinians as she possibly imagine is inhumane. The girl’s plea for help and her agony toward what’s happening in her neighborhood is one of the thousands of the cases in Gaza these days.

I wonder how we don’t draw lines between Nazi’s massacre of Jews; the world’s silence; and what’s happening today in Gaza? How could we justify weak and impotent response from the Biden administration?

I must say that many Jews vehemently reject Israel’s attacks and warfare against civilians in Gaza. And, I do not deny Israel’s right to defend herself.  However, Israel’s massacre of civilians, in the name of national security, is politically wrong. When this is going to end? When will we have peace, if ever?

 


 

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