Between 1980-88, Iranians lived in the dark.
“Every day after five or six o’clock it was all dark, and we should not have any lights on because of the bombing. The enemies come and see if there is any lights somewhere, they come and bomb that place,” said Azizeh Ferdowsi, 62.
Ferdowsi, an Iranian, entered Canada in 1988 with her husband, daughter, and son. The enemy was Iraq: a country northwest of her home in Bushehr, Iran, that invaded in September 1980 following the Islamic Revolution of the previous year.
“Canada was not involved in the war and we did not choose to come here,” she explained. “We were brought to Winnipeg as refugees.”
In 1979, Iranians rallied and protested an economic crisis that yielded high prices and food shortages across the country. The public outcry became the Revolution, Hossein Bashiriyeh wrote in The State and Revolution in Iran.
In The History of Iran, Elton L. Daniel wrote the eight year Iran-Iraq war was over a number of things, including an agreement Iraq made with Iran in 1975 about the border between the two countries, the comfort Iran and Iraq offered the other’s enemies during early 1980, and fear, ideology, and emotion in general.
Ferdowsi does not know what the war was about.
“I do not know why it happened. And no result come of the war, but so many casualties from both countries,” she said while studying a map of the world mounted upon the wall of her office. “Many people from Iran’s side, we lost our homes, our kids, our properties. Myself, I had a house, but we had to flee the city, we had to leave everything behind: all the furniture, everything. We had to escape.”
A button pinned on Ferdowsi’s shirt pictures two girls: they are her granddaughters. Both her children are married now.
“At that time my son, 19 years old, he was ready to go to army. I didn’t want him to go to army. I remember we had a clothing store. My husband and I sold our store and then we give all the money to the smuggler to take my son to Pakistan, where he meet us in 1986.”
Her daughter was merely two.
“While we still in Iran, I had to go to the gas station to put gas in the car. There was a big truck just running and my daughter was screaming because the noise- she thought it was bombing.”
Ferdowsi blinks her eyes as she remembers what happened.
“I was screaming and I was telling him ‘shut down your engine! Because you are just staying there shut it down!’ Everyone was just looking for some gas to put in the car. If something happen they can flee to another city.”
In the dark one evening, Ferdowsi saw the light of an explosive.
“I remember a rocket came behind our building and many people were homeless there. They were killed. And all the blood was all over our wall on the building. And it was really scary, and we just screamed,” she shakes her head.