I was 11 years old when the last run of Iraq’s missile attacks on Tehran started. My mom was out in downtown Tehran to have some used toys fixed for poor children. We knew there could have been a missile attack and my dad urged her not to leave. But she was thinking of those little girls who would get excited by playing with those pink princess dolls. The missile attack started at around 5pm. There weren’t any cell phones at that time. We didn’t know what had happened to my mom. She came back home at midnight. She was stuck in the traffic due to a missile attack on a nearby area, but she was alive! She didn’t leave the house during the whole months of missile attacks. Our schools were closed. We could easily see the missiles in the sky getting separated from their warheads and then heading to different directions. After each explosion everybody would call friends and family to check if they are OK.

There were rumors that Ekbatan, our apartment complex which is a huge area near the airport, was safe and Saddam didn’t want to attack it. So, Ekbatan was overpopulated all those months by friends and families of people living there. My aunt, uncle and cousins stayed at our house for a couple of weeks. One night we saw from the balcony a missile attack on an area near my cousin’s uncle’s house. Everybody was crying. The phones weren’t working. I held my 10-year-old cousin in my arms and cried with her. My dad and uncle left the house at midnight to go and find out whether they were alive; they were!

Then all of them left Tehran and went to the cities in eastern Iran. We stayed in our “safe” apartment; hearing the red sirens (bomb sirens) everyday; rushing to the interior corridors of the building (which was assumed to be the safest place in the building); singing songs; playing games in the corridors until the white sirens were heard. We were trying to make the situation more bearable, pretending that nothing was happening, although every now and then someone had a panic attack after hearing the sound of an explosion.

We were among the luckiest people in that eight-year war. We didn’t lose our house or our friends and families. None of what happened in the western and southern cities of Iran happened to us. We weren’t raped by Iraqi soldiers like women of Soosangerd. We didn’t get exposed to chemical weapons with which Saddam attacked some western cities of Iran. But I still remember those days in details. I still have nightmares of war, fire, and missile attacks.

I also remember the poor economic situation of that time. Our parents fought with each other constantly about money and how to make ends meet. I remember mothers of infants looking for infant formula (dried milk) and diapers for days. I remember my mom waiting in long queues early in the morning to get a bottle of milk. I remember that bananas were considered the most elegant fruit in the world and it would have been a special occasion to eat one banana (if you were lucky and an acquaintance brought one from a foreign trip).

It was during that 8-year-war that Iran’s government took advantage of the critical situation and murdered thousands of Iranian opposition members. It was the best time for the hardliners to manipulate Iran’s revolution and strengthen their position. And all those years Saddam Hussein was supported by some European governments and the US administration.

And now we hear every now and then about US administration’s plans to attack Iran…

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