Present in the Past: A Narrative
Delavar Khomarlou, author
The 1980–1988 Iran–Iraq War, a conflict mostly forgotten since, plays a central role in in the book Present in the Past. The war, which lasted 8 years (1980–1988) and claimed over a million lives, affected a whole generation in Iran. Present in the Past is about the interaction between a naïve teenage son and his mother, Touran Mirhadi, a renowned educator of great accomplishment. The war forced her to make a decision and not send her son to the front line. Her decision to take her son out of the conflict zone was based on her experiences during and after the Second World War in Germany. The catastrophes she experienced during her life are numerous, and any one of them may be considered tragic, enough to bring a person to their knee, and yet she finds the strength to emerge with even more determination to do great work from each one. Sensing the danger, she is trying to chart a different course for her son in order to protect him. In all her work and throughout her life, she has challenged the notion of “blind obedience” and yet asks for his blind obedience in following her decision. The unintended consequence of her unilateral decision leads to an agonizing conflict inside him, one which he must come to term with. The feeling of guilt for abandoning the country in the times of need doesn’t go away that easily.