No matter how long you’ve been away, when you go to Iran, it feels like home. True that you do not know one street from another, true that all the names changed from what they used to be to those of some old terrorists or dead Arabs, but it feels like home.
When you’re home, you’re happy; except for one occasion.
We went to pay respect to our departed elders and parents who are buried in Behesht Zahra, the mega cemetery that occupies a very large parcel of land south of Tehran. We were accompanied by a family member whose brother had perished in the long and bloody war with Iraq that robbed many Iranian families of the chance to see their young sons mature and be a productive member of their society.
We first went to this young man’s grave-side who had perished at the age of 19 in a battle in Iraqi Kurdistan. Rows upon rows of the war dead greeted us when we came upon this particular part of the cemetery designated for those who died in the war. The feeling was surreal and strong as we walked the endless rows of the young men who had given their lives to defend their country as Persians have for thousands of years in various battles. Even now, weeks later, as I write these words my eyes are filled with tears.
Close to the graves with the names of the dead soldiers were the graves of the unknown……Again rows upon rows of the soldiers who has given their lives for Iran, but now laid dead and unrecognized as if they had never existed.
That day I cried for my distant relative, I cried for all the young men whose names appeared on their tombstones, and I cried for all the unknown soldiers who had died for Iran.
That day I cried for Iran.
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