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Nothing but a name
What did my father die for?

By Yasaman Rohani
June 28, 2001
The Iranian

Today once again I find myself in one of those moods where I look at my life and wonder why it turned out the way it did. I begin to ask myself over and over again what if things would have been done differently? What if that wouldn't have happened? What if I wouldn't have done this? Where would I be now? Would I be living in Iran or would I still be here? And so on and so forth. I can sit outside all day by myself not talking, not eating, not doing anything but asking myself these questions over and over again.

It is not because I lead a bad life. It is not because I don't have a good family and true friends to help me out through tough times. It is not because I am not pursuing a goal in life, which will lead me to something that I will enjoy for the rest of my life. No, it has nothing to do with that. The reason why I find myself in such trances sometimes is because I lead a life which carries traces of an event in the past, which has marked my life. And I might not be the only one.

I think that the war affected a lot of people even though some tend to show it less than others. I myself belong to those who do not try to show it. We were forced to leave our country and start a brand new life in an unknown country. I have lived here a great part of my life and if I were to start analyzing my life now in this country, which might by now feel like home yet will never be my real home, then I would be in big trouble.

What would my life be like then? Not a good one for sure. It would be filled with regret and anguish and that is definantly not how one wants to live. But, for some reason I am starting to move towards that direction more and more lately, always filled with bitter thoughts about my past and how it affected my present life and how it will definitely affect my future and that of those around me. What happened to make me turn out into such a mind-freak who literally chops every thought and idea into fine pieces and analyzes them?

The answer is quite simple. It is the war. It is my father. It is everything he did and everything he still stands for today. Having lost my father at a very young age to war is not necessarily the immediate reason for this. Being a pilot, and a good one I might add, with lots of honours and respect, it was in some way his duty to try and help his country. I understand the reasoning behind his actions. And in our minds and those who know what he did, he will always be a hero.

That is how I used to think. But lately I am starting to question everything. What did his death really accomplish? Well, first off, it stripped me from having a father. It made me live my life in a foreign country and, as a result, loose some contact with my Iranian roots and origins, even though that has not stopped me from being a dokhtare iroonie.

I recently went back to Iran and I think that is what triggered all these thoughts and questions. Looking at Iran now, I ask myself: My father fought and lost his life for this? He died, so that a bunch of mollas and other religious figures could take over? I have no interest in politics and therefore I will not pursue this specific aspect.

However, I remember when I was smaller I used to hear stories of people who had fled with their families and moved to the West. At that time I used to think of my father and say: "They should have stayed and fought like a man." But now, being older and wiser, I understand that it has nothing to do with "being a man". It had to do with the fact that those people felt like there was no hope in trying to sacrifice their lives for something that will never be. Instead they thought of trying to protect their family.

Of course I am very proud of my father and what he did for his country. But I find myself plagued by the fact that I will have to live my life with no real memories of him. Nothing but pictures and his name. And even though I might be able to adjust to that, it becomes really unbearable when I see how certain people have abused the actions of my father and lots of other heroes and used it to their own advantage.

My father and all the other people who lost their lives did not fight so that we would have to leave our country. They did not leave everyone and everything they loved behind so that the country could be corrupted even more. No, that was not what they wanted and seeing how that is exactly what turned out to be, I feel like someone has stabbed a knife through my heart. I feel the pain for the loss of my father even more and it becomes agonizing.

I do not want to get political here. I will end this on a good note and say that my father and all those people lost their lives for a reason. A reason that most people have forgotten nowadays and don't seem to want to be bothered with. But the fact is that even though they might no longer be on this planet, physically speaking, their actions and bravery still linger above us. It will be part of our life and the lives of our children because it represents a part of our history. I used to think that I could go back to Iran and change everything; that I could make a difference. However it does not seem very probable right now.

I will tell you all what I always end up telling myself when I find myself in those moods where all this knowledge seems to become a big dark cloud: My father along with all the other brave heroes who lost their life on the battlefield died for a reason, for a cause. They never lived to see daylight again, and that is perhaps why a lot of Iranians whether in Iran or in other parts of the world have forgotten about this cause.

After reading this try to remember this cause again and refresh it in your mind. Try to keep it alive and pass it on to those around you. That way, even though we might not be united physically in our homeland, we will mentally all be united and as a result fulfill the hopes and reasons why people like my father juneshun ro baraaye vatan daadan va az beyn raftan.

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