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May 09, 2008

The touch of wars past.

South of Tehran lies a huge burial ground. Rather like the Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC, this cemetery houses special areas for military and religious leaders but it also has space for the common man. It covers a very large area and has a network of roads internally, several mosques and I'm told a Christian Chapel. Imam Khomeini is buried on it's Western side in a huge complex surrounding the catafalque and shrine which is part of a university devoted to the study of the Quran.

To me the most poignant and touching part of the complex is the Young Martyrs section. Here all the child soldiers of the Iran/Iraq war are buried, many with touching reminders of their stolen childhoods still adorning the simple graves. One in particular is visited and revered by everyone who comes here and my hosts had not had the opportunity to visit it either. What makes this small grave remarkable is the heavy scent of flowers that hangs in the air near it. Now the sceptic says - where are the blooms? That is the remarkable thing about it - there aren't any. What is more, winter and summer, wind or rain, the scent hangs heavily around the grave. The boy who lies here was just thirteen when he was killed.

The War Memorial to the fallen in the war with Iraq. The central plinth records the names of all the fallen, many of them naval. Only the Navy remained reasonably well armed after the Shah's fall and so bore the brunt of the early fighting and ships unsupported by aircover are very vulnerable.

In a central location is another huge mosque which houses the graves of a President and seventy odd ministers of state who were killed by Mujaheddin terrorists based in Southern Iran and funded by - you guessed it - the West!

Another very thought provoking visit.

Posted by The Gray Monk at May 9, 2008 08:34 PM

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