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Heart of the puzzle
Discovering the hidden reasons to why we are where we are

Nilufar Hakhamanesh
May 5, 2005

I am 19-years old and I have been living in the U.S. half of my life. I left Iran when I was a little girl with my parents. All my knowledge and education about the Iran-Iraq war in school was very much censored, amended and adjusted to the government's political ends. It was hard to take people's words for it and trust their statements, so you always had this doubt and skepticism in you.

The other lingering issue was is that in Iran there is this tendency of radicalism and going hard core and straight out madmanly on things without considering a limit. I'm still not adament nor fully knowledged on whether this tendency is in Iranian culture or simply brought by religion to the world and by the Islamic Republic to modern Iran?!

As I remember and think about it, this sense of radicalism and extremism in the regime was beginning to take its toll and fire back after about almost 20 years into the Islamic Republic. The result and outcome of this was that people and even kids my age were being somewhat turned off. They gradually developed feelings of evasion and escaped to things exactly the reverse of what they were fed day and night. It was as if the only full, solitary replacement that neutralized and deactivated this extremism was to go the opposite way in equal extreme intensity.

This is somewhat how I felt when I was in Iran. As a curious girl I was put off by others imposing their will and views on me. I got in trouble evey now and then for questioning what I was being fed in Iran. I wanted to breath my own air. So when I was coming aboard I developed this sense of running away as far as possible from the Iran I knew (the Iran I grew up in). I was hardcore in going at the culture and ethos I was landing on. However this feeling didn't last long; it was just a short-term amusement because of my ignorance of Western culture and, most importantly, of my own culture.

As the world order changed and started embarking on a new era (9/11), I became confused and stranded in my childish dreams and in the quake between the two colliding earths I had lived on. This current world order took advantage of my lack of knowledge of where I was coming from and led me to shame and sadness. I don't know why it touched me but it did and you know how they say... if you can't change it, you can't worry about it? Well, I figured I couldn't change the world but I could change me.

Therefore I started studying Iran from the heart of it's core and after a couple of months I turned upside down. I was even brought to tears by the power of enlightnment I was experiencing, of what Iran really is and how little I knew about it. I knew it was not my fault and I was deceived by what meets the eye and by Iran's current image in the world, just like the majority of people. I was discovering the hidden reasons to why we are where we are and it was so empowering and enlightening. It still is and will always be, as I have so much more to learn and the peices of puzzle keep coming together.

I am very ambitious and future-oriented but I've come to believe knowledge is power and in order to drive ahead I need to keep my eyes on what's in front of me with AWARNESS and KNOWLEGE of my rear-end mirrior!

I was wondering if anyone out there has been in the war with Iraq (veteran) and has first hand, real life experience about it and would be kind enough to share it with me and answer my questions. I was very little during the last periods of the war and everyone has their own take on it but people say a lot of things. I know there are many written records and texts on this, but I want to hear about the way it was from a person who endured and felt it in the heart. Please write me.

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