Zmnako Muhammad is from Hallabg. Zmnako was taken by the Iranian soldiers to Iran on March, 16 1988, and he has lost his family except his mom. Zmnako has written the below story.
Two days after the mortal chemical bombardment of Halabja in 16 March, 1988, an Iranian airplane brought some of the Halabjian injured to Mashhad, North East of Iran. A boy of three months was among them. He was delivered to the care of an orphanage. In the orphanage, a widow was who was another victim of the Iran-Iraq war cared for the “Dandelion,” a flower seed who had blown over the border. By and by, the woman became attached to the baby. The nurse turned into Dandelion’s mother.
Years passed. Dandelion had a pleasant home life, but he experienced many problems in his adopted culture. The Dandelion had drifted into a society where he had no civil rights or citizenship. Since his mother didn’t have a husband, according to local law, she couldn’t get Iranian nationality for Dandelion whom the woman named Ali. She loved Ali as her own sons, and told him the story of how he had come to live with her.
Dandelion in his adopted mother's arms
Occasionally, Dandelion would sit in a corner of a room and wonder why he didn’t have a father, or why he never knew the father he once had. “For which sin,” he wondered, “was this punishment?” He didn’t understand why he lacked this essential thing that all the other children around him possessed. After an hour of crying, Dandelion would wipe the tears away and resume his life. His adopted family wasn’t rich, but love and kindness do not let them to think about their poverty.
Ali with his adopted mother, 2000
Dandelion’s life passed well enough, until one awful day when the boy went to visit Tehran and a cousin phoned him and said, “Your mother had an accident and now she is in the hospital.” Ali quickly returned to Mashhad and went directly to the hospital where his mother was. When he saw his mother, he caressed her face. He was sad but certain that his mother would not be ill long and soon return home.
A month went by. Sadly, the doctors offered grim news about the dandelion’s mother: An infection in her leg had gotten so bad that it was necessary to take a drastic step: “We must cut off her leg above her knee,” said the surgeon.
After four more days, on the morning of 7 January, 2007, a nurse called Ali and said, “Your mother doesn’t have good health. You must come to the hospital.” When he arrived to the hospital, Dandelion saw his mother’s nurse and she said, “Your mother died this morning with the morning prayer.” That was the worst news in his life. This wasn’t believable for him. He just cried. He didn’t have any other person in the universe. The only things that remained from his mother were old glasses, her prayer beads and a shawl. Dandelion closed his eyes when his mother was buried.
The hardest part of Dandelion’s life began. After his mother died, he was accepted in university. But because he didn’t have enough money, he couldn’t continue his study. He was living alone. He couldn’t study or have a good job because he didn’t have Iranian nationality. He struggled to stay alive. Many days he cried for three hours. He still had his question, “For which sin?” He had lost two families, one of them in Halabja and one of them in Iran.
Four years passed. One day his friends in Tehran phoned him and said, “One of the Kurdish ministers is here and you can meet her.” Dandelion was very happy to hear this news. One afternoon, Ali saw the minister and she said, “There are many families in Halabja that lost their babies March 16.” She invited Ali to go to Kurdistan. In his heart, a bright light shone. He said to himself, “Maybe my father or my mother is alive and maybe I can know who my family is.”
After two months, Dandelion came to Kurdistan and was welcomed by people and the press. On the first day he went to Halabja. He was very glad because he saw his town and his people, and he cried. Forty-two families had lost their children in the 1988 massacre. Among them, just five families had a child the same age as Ali. The only way to connect Ali to a family was by DNA test. The test result came after a month. That month was very hard for Dandelion.
First time Ali arrives to his city Halabja after 22 years,
And mayor of the city greeting him
Everyone came to know what the test result was. All of them waited. Dandelion just had his phone in his hand and saw his mother’s picture in that. He thought about his mother and just cried. That moment came and a man began to read the test result. He read the name, “Fatima Mohammad Saleh.” Dandelion didn’t know how to react to his true mother when he met her. First he kissed her hands and caressed her face. Everyone cried.
After the crowd departed, Ali was alone with his new mother. His first question was about his father. His mother began to cry. After that she gave Dandelion seven pictures. One of them was his father and one of them was his sister. Other pictures were his brothers’ pictures and of course a photo of himself when he was three months. Dandelion learned his real name was Zmnako. Then he went to Halabja cemetery and saw his grave stone. There, he removed his name from the names of victims in Halabja to show that he is alive.
Dandelion's name removed from his grave stone by a green box
Maybe after reading this history, you will think this is just a story and is not true. But this story is true and now Dandelion has lived with his new family for 3 years in Sulaimani. He is an undergraduate student at the American University of Iraq-Sulimany.
He wishes all the world peace and prosperity. He believes Halabja was an event that happened in a day, but the grief is in Halabjian hearts forever. Dandelion believed that the bombardment of his city should be recognized as genocide. He does not want this tragedy to be repeated in anywhere in the world.
Dandelion is with his mother now but other families still haven’t found their children. 5000 people died, and 10000 of his people injured by the brutal attack from the dictator regime of Saddam in March 16, 1988. Saddam Hussein died, but in every year in March 16 many drops of tears come down from Halabjian people’s eyes. 42 families have lost their children, and they are waiting for another Dandelion to come back. Still Dandelion has this very old question: “For which sin?”
This is the memory of Zmnako, Ali, and Student Eye will give more explanation about Zmnako's life in a report.