My Enemy, My Brother

4:19 AM Amer Bekic 0 Comments


On September 1980, Iraqi-Iranian war was triggered. A bloody eight years tragedy, at the very least half a million and possibly twice as many troops were killed on both sides. One of the most brutal wars of the 20th century.

There were two humans, Najah Aboud—Iraqi and Zahed Haftlang—Iranian; both were soldiers forcibly fighting each other despite their humanity and their shared religion and even sect. Not that anything is above humanity. But for religion disputes dominate a huge part of human history, however, this dispute wasn't one of them.

Najah Aboud, was just another Iraqi soldier, one of the million+ Iraqi soldiers who fought against Iran back in the time. Started his morning with a heavy shelling demolishing every bunker including his. Only to be wounded and rendered unconscious on the ground.


 Najah Aboud, 'My Enemy, My Brother'  by Ann Shin, 2015

Iranian army usually begin with rain-like firing of artillery then would send their infantry to kill every last Iraqi soldier.

Zahed Haftlang, entered the dilapidated bunker to find this young wounded man laying on the ground, covered with his own blood. He decided to search him only to find a Quran and gets shocked of how similar they are, searched the other pocket to find a picture of the Iraq soldier's girlfriend. Now the doubts would start accumulating about the point in all what was going on, he considered helping him out, which is a deadly offense; treason.

 Zahed Haftlang, 'My Enemy, My Brother'  by Ann Shin, 2015

Haftlang's only available solution was to cover Aboud with his bunker-mates corpses, so other Iranian soldiers wouldn't find and kill him. This continued for three days, then Zahed managed to take him to a military hospital! Iranian side won the battle, and the story seemingly ended here.

Six years after the incident, Haftlang was captured by the Iraqi army as a prisoner to be held for two years. He was then released and sent back to Iran, failing to find his family who actually thought he had died. And he visited his own grave to read his own name on the headstone. Naturally, he suffered huge psychological problems and faced a hard time in Iran. So he decided to move to Canada to get some treatment and live a better life.

  Zahed Haftlang, 'My Enemy, My Brother'  by Ann Shin, 2015

Aboud, the miraculously saved Iraqi soldier, Had also been held a prisoner in Iran, but he had learned Persian. Finally he was released. Luckily he has his brother in Vancouver, Canada, so he flees Iraq to Canada to pursue better opportunities and flee the war-torn Iraq. After he arrived to Canada, he would decide to attend VAST (Vancouver  Association for Survivors of Torture) meetings, the same association Zahed happens to attend. They spend a few days meeting not having any clue they ever met before. After a few chit-chats they have found out that one of them actually saved the other's life. Now they are more than best friends. Especially Aboud speaks good Persian.

 My Enemy, My Brother'  by Ann Shin, 2015

 You can watch the full story told first hand from both gentle men here: ‘My Enemy, My Brother’

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