This letter is being written by a fetus – a fetus that’s getting bigger day by day and realizing how cramped her home is. I am getting used to this cramped home, but I am worried in general. I am worried of coming out of here. I’ll write you the reason, John.
I haven’t seen or known you, but it’s been fifteen hours that you have badly occupied my mother’s mind. She’s been writing and crossing out things on paper on top of which is written John/ War/ Peace/ America/ Iran since last night till now when she finally fell asleep. I have decided to write on her behalf. Don’t be surprised, my mother Soveida reads books for me three hours a day, and writes for at least two hours, thereby I have learned too!
This is a description of one of our days: Soveida reads the newspaper everyday at 9 in the morning. The newspaper tells about another sanction by America, breaking the Geneva agreement, internal issues, terror, and threats of war. In the second page, there is local news about street children which makes her sad and she has to close the paper. She gets up and we go to the pharmacy together. As soon as she names the medicine, the doctor says: “We are still under sanctions. Maybe you can find it in the black market, although a lot of what you will find there is counterfeit.” A man enters the pharmacy and asks for baby formula. The doctor says: “I can give you only one can. It’s rationed. It’s not imported for now!”
There is a children’s clothing shop next to the pharmacy. We go in. There is a sign posted behind the counter that reads: “Flight suits have arrived.” Soveida asks the sales person to show her the suit. The sales person asks: “How old is your son?” Seveida says: “I don’t know its gender yet.” Sales person laughs and says: “So don’t buy it. It’ll be a waste of money if it’s a girl!” And since I know that being a pilot is about the sensation for flying and it’s a very good sensation, I punch at the wall of my temporary home! We take a taxi. While we are getting out of taxi the driver says: “Your fare is more than this.” Soveida asks: “Why?” The driver smirks and says: “As if you’re not living in this country, ma’am! It’s messed up! It’s a war… war…!”
I have a bad sensation about the word war. As we walk away, Soveida says: “Goddamn it. It’s been thirty years that this war hasn’t let us go.”
We arrive home and she stretches herself out on the sofa. She rubs her hand on her belly – exactly where my head is. She thinks about me, my future, my father Mehdi who is exempt from the mandatory service only during times of peace. Her childhood suddenly reappears before her: pale faces of the war struck people of Abadan who sought shelter in her city; the red siren; the blasts of bombs; screams; the smell of smoke… My body shivers and Soveida gets nauseated.
John, I don’t know if pregnant women and unborn children in your land are this scared of war or not. But as every day passes I fear my birth more. Arriving on a planet where you hear news of war, threat, and sanctions every day; where if you are born a girl, you can’t wear a flight suit. This would be frightening for even the Little Prince, let alone me!
I wish Santa gives the gift of an inexhaustible can of formula to all the children who need it and I wish for all humans to say a farewell to arms.
Merry Christmas, John.
Iran, Persepolis, the Gate of All Nations (to John)