Thursday, May 24, 2007

So Many Anniversaries, So Many Dreams

Having a long history, a diverse society and a country in transition mean that every day could have different interpretations for different generations and social groups. That certainly applies to Iran and her contemporary history.

May 24th is the third of Khordad, third month in Iranian Calendar, the anniversary of liberation of Khorammashahr, Iran’s major city and port. Khorrammshahr had fallen to Iraqi armored columns at the beginning of war after a 34 days long valiant resistance by a handful of Iranian volunteers, Navy commandos, gendarmes and scattered army units. In mourning the loss Iranians called it KhooninShahr: The Blood Stained City. After 17 months of occupation city was liberated by Iranian forces, nation rejoiced.

Today anniversary of liberation of Khorammshahr is celebrated across county by all Iranians, independent of their political views. However there is no united opinion on the either conduct of war or its continuous after this point. Many suggested that Iran should have accepted a cease fire then; some argued that continuing the war was inevitable anyway, since no one could have trusted Saddam Hussein and he might have attacked again after recovering from his defeats.

For those who cherish the memories of war and volunteers’ selflessness liberation of Khorramshahr is a proof that blood shall overcome the sword. For those who advocate the cause of Islamic Republic it is a proof of IRI abilities to protect the country and its territorial integrity. Khorramshahr still is recovering from the destruction it suffered during war.

Yesterday, May 23rd was the second of Khordad. Iranians call it: Dovvom-e Khordad. It is the day that Mohammad Khatami was elected as the president of Islamic Republic for the first time, defeating Mr. Natiq-Nouri the speaker of Majlis. The reform movement became a reality at political arena of Iran’s domestic policies, the 8 years that followed it, like the 6 years that followed the liberation of Khorramshahr, was filled by hopes and hopes and hopes; some extravagant, some unrealistic, some modest. Today it seems that President Khatami’s most significant achievement was to stay in office for 8 years.

Yesterday many gathered in Tehran to listen to him speaking of those days. Many remembered that era nostalgically. Many repeated their critics, many talked of their hopes and many wondered what would have happened: “If”.

May be that is what history about, to remind people of their victories and their losses, to repeat the lessons gained from both, hoping someone is listening.

There was another anniversary, something that becomes important in Iran because of circumstances, something that many foreigners may find odd. May 22nd Georges Prosper Remi or Herge would have been 100 years old. In Iran he is famous for the character he created: Tintin.

Those who grew up during 1980’s still treasure this young reporter’s adventures, the series were hard to find and the author stroke many friendships in order to read ones he did not have. In this selfish endeavor he was not alone; many Iranian children of 1980’s discovered a colorful world through Tintin. Even today many remember Tintin stories fondly, so why not remembering the man who helped us smile through the days of a long war. BBC Persian has an article on the Herge.

And may be this is what life is about: lost hopes and unfulfilled dreams do not matter as long as one can smile innocently. Let’s hope someone is smiling.

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