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Not just the wounds
They robbed my son of his spirit, of his soul

By Banafsheh Dastyari
January 3, 2003
The Iranian

Third excerpt from my memoir is about my parents in a demonstration during the revolution. In 1982, at the age of 12 my family and I escaped through the mountains to Turkey. We were caught as soon as we crossed the border by the Turkish guards and spent two weeks in jail while our fate was being decided.

Recently I began recording our experiences in a memoir: "
Facing Iran: A family's struggle to survive". It begins with September 8, 1978, follows the events in our lives during the revolution, Iran Iraq war, our escape and ends with our arrival to Australia where we currently live. See first and second excerpt .

Hooshang opened the door to their apartment. A handsome man of 40, Hooshang was tall and lean with olive skin and thick black hair. He hugged Kamal and Nina affectionately.

"Thank you for coming. We've been so distressed since..." His words trailed off. He pulled a white hankerchief from his pocket and blew his nose. He motioned with his hand for Kamal and Nina to follow him.

"He wakes up screaming in the middle of the night." He spoke as they walked down the hall to his son's bedroom. "Faranak hasn't left his bedside all night."

The door to the bedroom was ajar. Hooshang pushed the door gently open. Inside on a single bed his son lay on his stomach. He moaned between every breath while his mother gently caressed his hair. The flickering of the gaslight threw dark distorted shadows on the posters of Rock stars decorating the walls.

Nina walked around the bed and took grieving Faranak into her arms. Faranak's face was wet and pasty. She pulled away from Nina and wiped her face with the back of her hands.

"He's asleep. I've been giving him pain killers every four hours."

Nina picked up the gaslight and lifted it over the wounds.

Nina suppressed the bile that rose within her.

He was covered with thick red and purple wounds criss-crossing his back.

The wounds had cut through his skin exposing the raw flesh underneath.

"As Allah my witness," Hooshang's voice rose as he walked closer to the bed, "I'll promise to find those animals that did this to my son." He clinched his fist in front of his face. "Then I'll kill them one by one with my bare hands."

Kamal placed an arm around his friend and led him out. In the dark corridor, Hooshang dropped to his knees, buried his head in his hands and wept.

"I've failed my son Kamal. I've failed him. I couldn't protect him from those animals. I brought my family back thinking I can provide a good life for them in our own country. All they were doing was listening to music. They weren't harming anyone."

"Hooshang the wounds will heal. You still have your son."

Hooshang lifted his head. "Kamal it's not just the wounds. They robbed my son of his spirit, of his soul. They robbed the laughter in his eyes and the carelessness in his heart."

Kamal turned away blinking the tears stinging the back of his eyes.

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By Banafsheh Dastyari

High on freedom
They marched with the belief that Iran would finally be the master of her own destiny

Outside the tunnel
Story of an escape




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