|Not just the wounds
They robbed my son of his spirit, of his soul
By Banafsheh Dastyari
January 3, 2003
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
"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
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
"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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