Before the quake

A Testament After I left Iran I always recalled Bam fondly. I dreamed of one day taking my family and friends to meet Bam's gracious people, sample its mouth-watering fruits, and of course explore its awe-inspiring citadel.I remembered the ords of a French backpacker I encountered in Bam who had been traveling overland from China to Turkey. She was at a loss to explain why Bam had been the highlight of her travels so far, trumping India's Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China. “There was a magic I felt inside that citadel,” she said “that I've never felt anywhere else.”

When I first heard the news of the earthquake, I immediately thought of Mohsen, Ali Agha, and their families. I had kept their telephone numbers and thought of calling them. As the magnitude of the devastation began to be reported, however, I feared the worst. News reports eventually trickled out that everyone who lived or worked in the vicinity of the Old City — including curators and guides to the citadel — had been buried under the rubble.

It is tough to picture the charming little town now obliterated, nearly half of its inhabitants wiped out. The death of 10 people as a result of natural disaster is a great calamity. What do you call the loss of tens of thousands?

While the human catastrophe can never be remedied, renowned archaeologists and curators have vowed to help restore the crumbled citadel to its former glory. And just as Bam's citadel inspired travelers from all corners of the world, the global outpouring of aid and support for Bam's earthquake victims is a testament to the interconnectedness of human beings >>> Bam benefit concert, Palo Alto, Saturday, January 10


Karim Sadjadpour, a former associate producer at, is a visiting fellow at the American University of Beirut.

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