By Mohammad Torang, Camp Liberty
The day I had to leave my old home in Ashraf and relocate to a small camp west of Baghdad, I had exactly the same feelings which I had 33 years back when, thirsty, hungry and beleaguered on a sea cliff in the middle of the Persian Gulf waters, I decided to jump in the water and swim to an unknown direction. I was the captain of a commercial sailing vessel which had been accidentally hit and drowned by an Iraqi fighter jet four days before.
Only two had survived, I one of them. The second person decided to remain on the cliff and did not jump into the waters with me. I swam for two consecutive days to reach the shore, and during that period, two dolphins accompanied me as friends, swimming alongside me as if protecting me. I sincerely owe my life to those beautiful dolphins who were very dangerous enemies of sharks which could tear me apart by their sharp jaws had it not been for the presence of my dolphin mates. I was swimming amidst the waves of death and had no idea of the direction the strong hand of destiny would drag me to.
Eventually it was the morning of the second day when I saw the shore afar. I said to myself, “Yes, I am saved.” I lied on the sand when I got ashore .While thinking I would get home soon and be with my friends and family, I gradually closed my eyes and drifted asleep. But this feeling of happiness did not last long and while I was still deep asleep due to the fatigue of the previous swimming, I woke up by the strong and ruthless continuous blows of a few Iraqi soldiers kicking me with their military boots. I had landed on Iraq’s Um al-Qasr Sea Port and I became a POW.
I am still in Iraq after 3 decades, though not as a POW. Many years ago I decided to fight for the establishment of democracy in my country Iran in order to save my fellow countrymen from the filthy clutches of the ruling mullahs. This inspiration led me to the Iranian dissidents in Camp Ashraf where a democratic movement against fundamentalism resided.
My life changed its path and meaning since.
What is most agonizing to me though is that despite the devastating role of the Iranian regime throughout the world and especially in the Middle East, the policy of appeasement has played as a serious obstacle before our just struggle.
In 2003 when U.S. occupied Iraq and based on the 4th Geneva Conventions officially assumed the responsibility to protect me and 3,400 colleagues of mine in Camp Ashraf, we were all given “Protected Persons” badges. But eventually when we most needed the protection against the deadly attacks of Iraqi forces to our camp, the U.S stepped back in breach of all its commitments towards us.
During several brutal attacks, the Iraqi forces under the dominance of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki killed tens of us and more than a thousand wounded.
Later on, the UN and U.S. promised we would be spared from further attacks if we relocated to a small camp west of Baghdad.
It never came true!!
We again were subjected to three other missile attacks with fourteen dead and hundreds injured.
Camp Liberty is a prison thoroughly and inhumanely besieged according to the UN “Workgroup on Arbitrary Detentions.” And while according to Dr. Walid Phares, an advisor of former administration of U.S. President G.W. Bush, “The only way to neutralize the devastating role of the Iranian regime in Iraq is to help expand its organized opposition.” An opposition surrounded in severe and astringent pressure in Camp Liberty due to a “strategic mistake” by U.S.
You know now why at the time of leaving Ashraf to go to Camp Liberty I had the same feelings as when I was swimming towards a clandestine destiny.
It seems that my eyes are searching again for the dolphins to accompany me in these harsh days when I find nobody to hear my voice.
Should I only thank the dolphins?