Put a stop to it
15 years after the Iran-Iraq war, I have drunk the
sweet elixir of forgiveness
October 8, 2003
He drank the sweet elixir of martyrdom 22 years ago, and he died.
He tied a
grenade around his waist 22 years ago, and he died. He was thirteen
old when he slid his childlike body under the enemy tank, and he
In 1986, a stamp was issued in his name, but he is dead. He looks
us from posters and murals all across our country's cities, but
he is dead.
Right or wrong, he didn't sit on the sidelines and take a worthless
of neutrality. Right or wrong, he was asked to grow up and enter
decade or more earlier than any boy should have to. Right or
wrong, he was
one of many who lied about his age in order to enlist in the
Right or wrong, he fought for our country aside hundreds of thousands
others. Many died along with our little boy, and they remain
Love him or hate him, Iran's leader at the time had something
emotional value to say of this young soldier, of this little man, "The
value of his little heart is greater than could be described by
tongues and hundreds of pens..." He also should have added
keystrokes on the computer.
I had heard the name Mohammad Hossein Fahmideh in many books
and war movies
when I was younger, but I never truly knew his story until I
read an article
about the twenty-first commemoration of his death on CNN.com.
Now, I know a
little. Now, I want to know more. Not only about Fahmideh, but
ones whose deaths were not commemorated through the years.
American history books tell me, nearly 1,000,000 of our soldiers
what I read in the news, we are still exchanging the bodies
of our war
prisoners with Iraq. From what I hear, there are men and women
still in our hospitals today, dying little by little, of the
after-effects of Iraqi chemical warfare. Living a daily death.
A cycle of pain
ends, heaviness of breathing, bodily pain, scars; longlasting
the bombings and the tanks and the flying shrapnel.
So what does this have to do with us? Us, meaning those who were
toddlers when all the horrors were taking place. It's ironic
that I might
have been taking my first steps at about the same time that men
fighting for my country were losing their limbs and their lives.
What do I
do now, 15 years after the end of the fighting?
There are things best not remembered, but I am glad to have read
I did about Fahmideh. I am glad that I my mind was refreshed
in the history
department. All around the case the go to war with Iraq today
is the Iran
issue. Americans like to quote it and analyze it and repeat it
over and over. Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against Iranians.
give them a hand. They finally let it out. But where were they
ago? Why did no one in power say a word and why did no one take
I am Iranian. I used to feel that if there was an attack, it
justified. It would be the perfect revenge for two decades ago.
But now I
know. I have drunk the sweet elixir of forgiveness. I have tasted
cup of peace. I have found the answer to that question of: What
do we do?
We put a stop to it. Whatever is past is past. The future begins
with us and
the choices we make today. If today I stand for peace, if today,
cries out to Iraqis, maybe tomorrow they will
stand for me.
The world turns in strange ways. What was up, falls down, and
If only someone had taken a stand so long ago...
Think of all the little boys who would have grown to be great
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