Iran News ...


7/11/03

Bodies of Iranian twins taken to their village for burial

Residents in the provincial capital city of Shiraz in the southern Fars province on Friday bade farewell in tears to once conjoined twin sisters Laleh and Ladan Bijani, whose separated bodies were flown in from Tehran Friday morning for burial in their home town, IRNA reported.

A funeral procession was held at Shiraz airport by a number of friends, relatives and well-wishers before the bodies were taken to the remote village of Lohrasb in Firouzabad for burial.

Young children dedicated flowers to the coffins of the 29-year-old sisters, who lost their lives under a marathon operation to separate their fused heads at Singapore's Raffles Hospital.

Among the mourners were their octogenarian parents Dadollah Bijani and Maryam Safari, who fought their tears to thank the Iranian nation, President Mohammad Khatami and other officials for their sense of sympathy.

"Laleh and Ladan belong to the whole Iranian nation and their memory will always remind of the arduous and tireless spirits of the two sisters, who will remain alive in the minds," they said.

The two sisters were born in Lohrasb in 1974, with their heads conjoined, and were brought up by an adoptive family to the west of Tehran in Karaj since they were two years of age.

They went to college and became lawyers, but their main quest was to live separate lives and finally came the decision to risk their lives under an unprecedented operation, which went wrong.

Their bodies were flown into Tehran Thursday from Singapore and were honored at a grand mosque among the recently retrieved remains of 300 soldiers of 1980-1988 Iraqi imposed war.

Several public places, including a park and a residential complex, were announced as have been named after Laleh and Ladan. Laleh means tulip in Persian and Ladan another kind of flower, which grows in mountains.

"We were confident that Laleh and Ladan would not survive after the operation and we did not agree with the trip," head of State Welfare Organization, Mohammad-Reza Rahchamani said at the airport.

"However, Laleh and Ladan's trip to Singapore was made on their own will and since there existed a high chance of death for one of the two, the Ministry of Health and (State) Welfare Organization did not support (the decision)," he added.

As the news emerged about the twins' determination to go through the risky operation, the whole nation sat up and held its breath, as did the rest of the world, and several Iranian leaders offered prayers and hoped the operation would go well.

"Both of us have started on this journey together and we hope that the operation will finally bring us to the end of this difficult path and we will begin our new and wonderful lives as two separate persons," Laleh and Ladan said in a letter, carried by most Iranian papers, before the operation.

Iranians closely followed up the progress of the operation through the media and succumbed to shock when news broke that Ladan, who dreamt of becoming a lawyer after the separation, had died because of massive blood loss.

Ninety minutes later Laleh's death was announced and then came messages of grief and condolences. "Surrendering to divine fate is a sign of strong faith, profound knowledge and stable will. What happened to Laleh and Ladan is one page in the great book of destiny," President Mohammad Khatami said.

His office had earlier announced to cover the cost of the surgery operation, which was estimated at about US$300,000 and thought to be met through charity donations.

Raffles Hospital, where the twins were operated, had underwritten the twins' stay at the hospital as well as the previous costs of tests. Doctors also waived their professional fees for the surgery.

... Payvand News - 7/11/03 ... --



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