The outpouring of grief for Qassim Suleimani is Iran’s first act of retaliation

By | January 6, 2020

Azadeh Moaveni writes:

The last time I wrote seriously about a war with Iran was in 2012. It had been an especially fraught year, with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards running naval exercises in the Persian Gulf, Israel and the United States conducting joint drills, and the safety of oil shipping lanes looking entirely unassured. Oil prices rattled skittishly, everyone suddenly monitored ships, and headlines speculated that Israel might attack Iran’s nuclear sites.

My assignment was to consider “the day after” — to imagine how Iranians would react if their country was bombed by Israel. My piece featured scenes of distraught young people gathering on crowded intersections singing the national anthem — suddenly everyone was a terrified Iranian citizen rather than an aspiring guitarist or a day laborer or whatever they were the day before — and a screaming mother buying formula to stockpile from a supermarket. I don’t even remember writing it. How many times can you write, predict and analyze your country’s destruction before your mind begins to dissolve the traces?

That rehearsal feels like it was all in preparation for today. Last week an American drone strike incinerated Iran’s top general and national war hero Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, along with a senior Iraqi militia commander, in what can only be understood as an act of war.

Being here again makes me feel that I — an American citizen of Iranian origin — have been here so often before. The cycles of imminent war and upheaval Iranians seem destined to face every few years, cycles often driven by the whims of the United States and the increasing boldness of Iran, now feel like a civilizational inheritance, a legacy that my mother bore before me, her mother before her, and that I will pass down to my children. Every Iranian family’s history is touched with this past, in its own way. [Continue reading…]

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