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Bam, Iran: Children of a Lesser God

By Syma Sayyah, Tehran

Personal tragedy brings out a side of a person that he/she did not know it ever existed. When such sad state of affairs becomes multiple, and when the magnitude of pain is so deep and so horribly devastating, may be the only way to cope with it is that simply send it to an invisible void and be in permanent state of shock; keeping all the pain tightly inside, and swallowing the sorrows so the shocking grief and wretchedness one feels deep within won't dare to come out or be visible in order to carry on, as so many in Bam seem to have done.

Everyone we saw, met or talked to in Bam had lost relatives and friends, neighbors and loved ones. I asked many people how they could manage to cope with all this? In reply they just turned and with sad eyes mostly said, "It was God's will" or something to that effect. It was unbelievable and amazing how many times we heard the same statements from everyone; old or young, man or woman, the reply was the same. I desperately wished I could challenge that though, yet I could only feel sickening anger towards God up there, as I had felt so many years ago about Boueen-Zahra quake as a child.

We had been in Bam for two days before we set off to go to the cemetery on Thursday afternoon. We got there about 4 pm.

If I were to describe what we saw in a few words, then I must say that what we saw was Massive and Unbearable Pain! Men, women, children, old and young, in groups or alone, were sitting by their loved ones' graves, those who were not with them no more. The sheer agony on their faces, the deep cut damaged souls, the bleeding hearts that they have been living with in the past 6 weeks was more than we could bear to see and witness. My friend and I both simply lost control and burst out crying within a few minutes after we got there and our uncontrollable tears poured down.

There was no way I could/can possibly imagine the pain and sorrow, of these children of a lesser god, no matter how hard I tried to put myself in their place. I kept asking how they managed to bear their heavy grieves? How and where do they find the will to carry on, under such heavy burden of emotions? Today, and probably for the rest of my life I shall be wondering and trying to find the answers to these questions. The 'why' to all this may be easier to find an answer to, may be.

I felt terribly awkward and ill taking pictures there. Yet, I did only so by reminding myself that these pictures will inform others who can not be here, and will show them these proud and strong people's sorrow and pain, and to remind them that the real task of helping them has not even begun yet, the task of bringing hope back to these dead strong faces, and bring their souls back to life. We shouldn't be fooled to think that the needs of these lesser children of our God are only physical and require simply a short term efforts. The people of Bam must be brought back to a normal emotional balance where hope, love and care becomes normal again. This may only be achieved by love and care of others, which will not be an easy task.

I can only hope that people will remember Bam on the 26th of each month, for at least for one whole year, and will remind themselves how lucky they are that they did not have to go through this, and that they will help the people of Bam in any and every way they can, specially with their time and expertise which are desperately needed.

With a very heavy heart after my trip to Bam

... Payvand News - 2/4/04 ... --

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