A war story for children
History of the Iran-Iraq War for my granddaughter
August 23, 2006
I have a grand daughter who is five-years and nine-months old, and going thirty-six. She is very smart. She watches a lot of DVDs with her brothers, sometimes the same movie several times. Her favorite is Phantom of the Opera (watches that one without her brothers). She can recite some of the lyrics in that movie. She has a great vocabulary to a point that sometimes it is hard to tell that she is just a kid. One day while I was babysitting them, they wanted to watch a movie that was rated PG-13, so I said this movie is not appropriate for children under thirteen. She said, "Grandpa we are not children!" She also likes to paint, and draws very quickly and uses bright colors in her painting. I was thinking how would it be if I ever told her a story of a war that happened in a strange land, long time ago. So, I wrote this story. I hope you like it.
This is a story of a war that happened long, long time ago. When grandpa was very young he lived in a country called Iran. Back then people in Iran, or anywhere else, did not have computers yet. Many of them didn’t even have a television, that’s how long ago it was. So, for entertainment they went to mosques, jeleseh, or rozeh khoni. Mosque is a place where people go to pray and exercise. jeleseh is like a meeting, and rozeh khoni is like singing a sad story song. In those places people did not talk about their king, because they were scared of him. The king had a secret organization called SAVAK, which is a short name for Security Agency of Very Awful Killers. If SAVAK found out that anyone had talked bad about the king, they would arrest him, and make him sit on eggs. That’s how bad they were.
So, instead of talking about the king in those days, people talked about Imam Hussein and Imam Zamon. Imam Hussein is from the past. In the sad story of Imam Hussein, he was trying to bring justice to this world, but he gets killed at the end, like Mel Gibson in the movie Braveheart. He died in a hot place called Karbala in Iraq, in an unfair battle. That made people very sad, and they cried a lot for him. The story is so sad that some people wish to die just the way he did. If you heard the story you would get sad too and cry, that’s why I’m not going to tell it to you.
On the other hand Imam Zamon is a futuristic Imam, and for him to come to earth there has to be an Armageddon first. You know what Armageddon is, right, like in the movie Terminator where there is a big war and everything gets destroyed in the future. That’s what was going to happen in Iran, a big war was coming, but back then Terminator movie was not made yet, that’s how long ago it was. If it was made back then, people might have gone to see it and had a better understanding of what horrible things were going to happen to them in the future, that is if they had any money to go to the movies in the first place. Back then, most people were so poor they couldn’t afford to go to the movies.
People knew Imam Hussein was dead for sure because rozeh khonha, those people who sang the sad story song, made sure everyone knew it, and Imam Zamon was going to come in the future. So, They wished for another Imam in their own time. Some one who could take them to Karbala so they could die over there like Imam Hussein. So, they wished and wished till their wish came true. They wished for their king to leave, so he left. At the same time they wished for an Imam to come, so one day a big airplane landed and an Imam appeared coming down the stairway of the big airplane that had flown almost from the other side of the world. His name was Imam Khomeini. He had many titles, but a lot of people just called him Imam. They chose to call him Imam because he was very crafty like a wizard. I am going to call him Khomeini in this story, because I don’t want to confuse you with the other Imams.
In the beginning when Khomeini did not have any power, he had many men with different opinions around him. But as his power grew bigger and bigger he got rid of those men one by one till there was nobody left around him accept the ones that were very obedient to him. Some of the men that he didn’t get a chance to kill escaped to other parts of the world, and still after all these years they say he was a bad man. On the other hand, the men that Khomeini liked and kept for himself always told him his robe was very pretty, even though some of them didn’t even like his robe.
When Khomeini was coming down the big airplane stairway he was very tired. Other passengers in the airplane had talked all day when they were flying and did not let him get any rest, so he was very grouchy. When he was coming down the stairway some one asked him what his feeling was about returning to Iran after all those years, away in another country. He said: “Nothing!” That’s right, he said “Nothing!” because he was very tired and grouchy and wanted to get some rest as soon as he could, without wanting to say anything else. This was a bad omen, a bad sign. As soon as he said “Nothing!” instead of saying: “I am very glad to be back”, some people got very frightened and started to shiver and shake. They immediately began to gather their belongings and leave the country, but in their minds, after all these years, they are still stock in that day and wish they had never left. But for every person who left there were many people that didn’t leave. They didn’t care what Khomeini had said. They loved their country so much that they decided to stay no matter what, but some of them paid a big price for staying. Some of them were murdered, some of them went to prison, some of them couldn’t find a good job, and some of them never got married and never had any children.
Very soon Khomeini’s power grew so much that he became the most powerful man in the country. He became so powerful that he called himself the “Supreme Leader”. He told people they should not play chess or listen to music any more. He even told soccer players not to play in their shorts anymore, and to wear pants and long sleeve shirts. He even told girls not to go to soccer matches and look at soccer players. That’s how powerful he had become.
Having so much power even surprised Khomeini himself because in his wildest dreams he did not imagine one day he could have so much power. So, he decided to expand his power to other parts of the world, and to tell other people not to play chess and listen to music, and kick the ball only when they were wearing pants. That’s how power crazy he had become.
The nearest place where he could take over right away was in a country called Iraq. Khomeini lived in exile in a city in Iraq called Najaf for twelve years before returning to his own country. Najaf is near a big river called the Euphrates River. When Khomeini lived in Najaf he never went to spend any time by the river, not even to take his children there. He was not interested to learn about his neighborhood back then, but now that he had become a powerful man he wanted to have all the neighborhoods in Najaf for himself. When he was living in Najaf, all he wanted to do was to read books, walk to school, and teach them to his students. But I think it’s not good just to read books and work all the time without having any fun. It’s better to take a break and go by the big river and have a picnic, even if it’s for a few hours. Khomeini thought I will change the ruler of Iraq, and then I will go by the river and have a picnic, if I ever have any time.
Saddam Hussein was the ruler of Iraq back then, but because I don’t want to confuse him with Imam Hussein, from now on I am going to call him Saddam only. That’s what every body calls him anyway. At first Saddam wanted to be friendly to Khomeini so he sent his emissaries, you know what emissaries mean, don’t you? Emissaries is like in the movie Star War, like representatives, Hmmm, I know, he send his clones to the capital of Iran to tell Khomeini that he wants to be friends, and not be enemies. But Khomeini wanted to see the Euphrates River and expand his empire, and not to let people over there to play music, so he ignored the words of the clones and told his man in Iraq to say that Saddam was no good. That made Saddam mad and killed some of those men that insulted him. So, Khomeini’s man in Iraq got mad and killed some of Saddam's men. Finally Saddam had enough of these disobediences among his men and decided to invade Iran and put an end to all of this. One day Saddam gathered all his generals in a war room and asked them their opinions about invading Iran. They all told him that they would take over a big part of Iran in two days.
So, Saddam said: “Great, let mother of all battles began.”
But his generals were too busy talking about their war plans that they didn’t hear him.
Finally one of his generals asked: “What did you say Your Excellency?”
Saddam said: “Attack, Attack”. Almost like he was barking at them.
They heard him loud and clear this time.
And that is how the war started.
At first Saddam’s army advanced into Iran very quickly, but what Saddam didn’t know was that Iranians had many brave soldiers that didn’t care about Khomeini, but were willing to fight very hard for their country. So, they stood up to Saddam’s army till his army could not advance any more. The fighting went on for two years and many soldiers were killed on both sides, till Saddam’s army was completely pushed out of Iran. But Khomeini was thinking I have never seen the big Euphrates River and I don’t mind visiting there, and expand my empire. He told his soldiers to fight till Saddam was defeated. He told his soldiers that the road to Jerusalem goes through Karbala. You probably don’t know what that means, so I’ll explain it.
Far away from Karbala there is another city called Jerusalem that Khomeini wished to visit but he couldn’t because there was another war over there too, between Israelis an Palestinians. Jerusalem is very important to a lot of people in the world, so they always fight over who should have it for themselves. It’s like you and your brothers fight over a toy, except you and your brothers love each other, so you don’t really fight very hard. As a matter of fact you guys don’t even fight, you just don’t agree who should play with the toy. But over there in Jerusalem people are enemies and they hate each other, so they fight very hard. Some times Israeli children write nasty notes on bombs and send them to the Palestinian side to kill their children, and sometimes some one from Palestinian side goes to the Israeli side and blows himself up to kill their children. That’s how much they hate each other, that’s why I never want you to live in Jerusalem. But over there in Jerusalem, people on both sides were allowed to play music; and Khomeini didn’t like that. So, he told his soldiers we are going to Jerusalem, and we will tell them not to play music.
Khomeini had never played music or soldier in his life, not even for a day when he was a boy, but now that he was a powerful man he made himself in charge of the military, but still didn’t play music. One day he even said I don’t know who Beethoven is. Can you imagine that?
Khomeini told his men they have to take this road that passes through Karbala and go to Jerusalem, but he didn’t tell them the whole truth, that Jerusalem was very far away. It was so far away that there were several other countries in between Karbala and Jerusalem. Before they could reach Jerusalem, Depending on which road they took, they could go to Syria, Lebanon, Arabia, Egypt, or Jordan (that’s the place where Michael Jordan got his name from). But their most favorite road was from Karbala to Syria, to Lebanon, and then to Jerusalem, because they were thinking Syrian are our allies, and we go help Lebanese fight Israelis. But Khomeini didn’t tell his soldiers that they had to go to those other counties first, because his soldiers might think well that is too far and we are tired already, and become grouchy like Khomeini when he was coming down the airplane.
Mean while Israeli generals were thinking if these guys want to come to Jerusalem let them come because while they are coming they will destroy our enemies and themselves at the same time. So they were very happy that Khomeini was coming. They were so happy that they even sold him some weapons and equipments so they can continue fighting with each other.
Khomeini tried for six more years to go to Jerusalem but only moved a few feet forward. Saddam soldiers did not want to lose the road to Jerusalem because that was part of their country, so they fought very hard. By now he had figured out that he had made a big mistake messing with Khomeini, and tried several time to say I don’t want to fight anymore, and say he was sorry for what he had done. But grown up people don’t just come out and say I am sorry like children do; instead, to make up, they give money to the enemy. Saddam was very sorry so he offered to give lots of money to Khomeini. Other countries that were friendly to Saddam and didn’t like Khomeini also agreed to give money to him to stop the war. They agreed to give a lot of money which means they were very sorry, but Khomeini wanted to visit the big Euphrates River and go to Jerusalem, and tell the people over there to stop playing music so bad that he told his soldiers to keep fighting. If anyone said I am tired of fighting and want to listen to music for a change, Khomeini would put him in jail, whip him, or kill him.
Towards the end, war became so nasty that it was hard to tell who was doing what to whom. But at the end Saddam told his soldiers to send missile to Iran’s capital, Tehran, which is a very large city with millions of people living in it. Tehran was too far away from battlefields, and people did not usually see any fighting except on television. Saddam told his soldiers to send missiles to Tehran, and other big cities as far as they could reach, that way people get scared and don’t want to fight anymore. As a matter of fact this was exactly the plan Khomeini had in mind for Iraqis, except he told his soldiers to send missiles to Iraqi cities and the people of those cities would rise up against Saddam and defeat him, but the Iraqis didn’t want to defeat Saddam in that way. They wanted to keep the road to Jerusalem for themselves, because that was part of their country.
When Saddam’s missile exploded in Tehran they made big sounds, broke window glasses, and caused a lot of damage but only in small areas. The damage was more sociological, that means the bombs scared the people. Most daddies living in Tehran told their children and their mommies to go back to their small hometowns and live with their grandparents, aunts, or uncles for a while, because it was safer over there. Then, any time they got a chance, the daddies asked their boss for vacation and went to visit their families in their small hometowns. That is why the big cities became empty all of a sudden. Some people even went to camp in wooded hills near Tehran. So many people left the big city that air pollution cleared up, and if you were on a hill you could see for miles and miles. That’s when some people saw Damavand Mountain for the first time in their lives, because the air was so clean. There were almost nobody left in Tehran to make air pollution any more. Nobody has ever seen cleaner skies ever since.
Khomeini’s man were telling him there is nobody working any more, so we are not making any money, and if we don’t make any money we can’t go to Jerusalem. So Khomeini finally said go get me some poison to drink, but make sure it’s not too strong to kill me. So, he drank the cup of poison and accepted the truce. He did it that way because he wanted to say: “I did it, but I really didn’t want to do it.”
That’s how the war ended, but this is not the end of the story yet because when Khomeini drank the poison he became really mad and ordered the execution of thousands of people in prisons, just because he didn’t like them. In his poisoned mind he thought one day those people might get out of prisons and try to kill him. He told his executioners to ask the prisoners some questions, and if their answers were any different than his to kill them. That’s exactly what the executioners did because they were scared too. Some of those prisoners hadn’t even done a bad thing in their lives. The only thing that they had done was to disagree with Khomeini and the way he was ruling over the country; and that they didn’t want to make their answers the same as Khomeini’s.
Khomeini died less than a year after he drank from the poisoned cup. Some people say he was punished at the end because of all the bad things he had done in his life, because he was very old and sick. But that is not true. Good people or bad people get old and sick and die all the time. He had the best doctors in the country taking care of him. Only poor people who cannot afford to go to doctor suffer when they die. His doctors were giving him powerful drugs to make him happy. They made him so happy that he thought he was going to go to heaven and visit God, and from up there look at Jerusalem all day. So he was not sad at all, but a lot people in the country loved him so much that they became sad, because he was dead. They were sad because they thought he was the Imam that they had asked for, and their wish had come true, but he was a false hero savior, and he had not made their lives any better, except for those men that were very close to him, like his clone Rafsanjani and his children. As a matter of fact people’s lives had become much worse than it was when he appeared on the stairway of the big airplane and said: “Nothing!”
When Khomeini was about to be buried in the ground, some people became sad so much that they lost their mind and did not want him to be buried. Any time some one tried to bury him they would rush in and grab onto his shroud, that’s the cloth that is used to cover the dead person’s body. Finally they grabbed to his shroud so much that they removed it from his weewee. And that is the funniest thing that happened that day.
As for Saddam, he started another war with another one of his neighbors soon after. Finally in a third war, he was completely defeated forever. His war days were finally over when his hiding place in an underground spider hole was discovered, and he was arrested for his crimes against humanity.
And that is the end of the story. Comment