Many years ago when I was a kid I saw the worst of the aerial strikes and bombardments any Iranian city has seen, during the war we had with Iraq.
My paternal side of the family belongs to the city of Kermanshah or also known as bakhtaran for several years (ironically the name was changed back to Kermanshah, through popular preasure!) This mountaineous and beautiful as well as historical city located in the West of Iran was bombed intensively during the war, actually during the Iraqi invasion, they got really close to the city, reaching the towns of Qasre Shirin and Marivan.
I used to live in Tehran but used to spend the summers or Norouz with my Grandma and uncle. During the war I witnessed many sudden attacks that shattered the windows’ glasses, there were times that the casualties were high, like the time they bombed a school fool of children, killing most of them. It got to a point where most people had to leave the city behind as the life was paralized by the continous bombardments. My own uncle scaped death when the bank he was working at was evacuated minutes before being hit. Anyways, like all other Iranian children at the time I had a very clear image of the Iraqis that were causing all this, mainly images and footages from TV, showing their war prisoners and their military elite back in their own country. There was no reason for me to believe that the Iraqis that had invaded my country, that were bombing us day and night were actually good people. To me they were evil and that’s it. One summer, while spending the holidays in Kermanshah my younger aunt and her husband told me that they were going to spend some three weeks in ‘Paveh’ a very small town or village in Kurdistan. They told me about the beautiful and green mountains there. I happily joined them and we drove all the way to that town. On the way there I was told that because of the mountains and the geographical condition of that area we would only be able to watch Iraqi television. This amazed me, I was curious. I was going to watch Iraqi television, the same people that were attacking us. Once there I realized how beutiful the kurdish town was, with green vallys and rivers and fruit trees everywhere. Durding the next three weeks, I watched the most beautiful TV shows and films and programs I had ever watched as a kid. At the time Iran’s TV wasn’t that bad for kids, we had many good cartoons such as palang soorati, gooril angoori and Guliver, etc… and many interesting documentaries (raze bagha) however, we didn’t have any live shows, musicals or anything like it (except for the Michael Jackson and Break Dance stuff and films we used to watch at home or parties) The Iraqi channels were amazing, they had beautiful shows everynight, with singers and artists. I couldn’t understand any of it but the Iraqis I saw there, were all very good looking, modern and civilized not even close to the image I had in my mind. They had parodies and plays making fun of khomeini just as we had ours goofing their saddam. Besides, during couple of hours they had a Persian speaking program whith news and also with a section for Iranian prisoners of war where they would talk about their lives and some would give out their names and addresses in Iran in case someone could get in touch with their families to let them know that their son was alive. Now I’m certain that that specific section, was mainly a show, as our prisoners there were not treated nicely, all the opposite. However, after those three weeks my image of the Iraqis had changed and I couldn’t wait to tell my cousins and friends about it. The other night I was looking for an arabic song on the web, a song by the famous Lebanese singer Mrs. Majida Al Roumi (equivalent of Googoosh, in Lebanon) when I came across the following video clip. The singer of the song is a well known Iraqi musician (I found out later) and when watching the video I remembered those three weeks in Paveh.
During the last twenty years or so outside Iran I’ve met Iraqi people and most of them are wonderful, friendly and very sofisticated people, just as many Lebanese and other arab nationalities are (with the exeption of Saudia Arabia and the UAE, with all du respect..) It seems to me that the Western media is commited to give a very bad image of Iraq and Middle East (including Iran of course) The two attacks or wars (anglo-American) with Iraq have literally destroyed that country, breaking its back. I really doubt that coutry will ever recover from what came upon them. I do not want this happen to my own country, who can guarantee that this same thing hasn’t been planned for Iran? We humans are all the same and want to live in peace and could live in peace and harmoney if they let us. Well, going back to that song, if you are interested you can watch it here (I recommend it)