By Mojtaba Shadbash, hunger striker in Camp Liberty
It was by a quirk of fate that I survived. Had I regained consciousness just a few minutes later, I would have been placed in one of the drawers of the morgue in an Iraqi hospital, along with a number of my friends who didn’t make it.
It was twilight in Ashraf. Iraqi agents in their attack on 8 April 2011 had taken us three as corpses and pulled with them to a corner of a building. I had been beaten within an inch of my life; the blows of sticks and clubs had left my head, face and hands broken and bloodied. M-16 bullets had crushed my legs. The Iraqi forces did not provide minimum medical treatment or even bother to take a look at us, seeking to hand me over to the forensics while I was unconscious. I don’t know, maybe the other two were also alive, or they did not have the chance to gain consciousness before being placed in the morgue drawers.
From that day on, I have though a lot and asked myself why have I remained alive?! No! I never say I’ve had enough with life or haven’t loved it. In fact, quite contrarily, I love life with all its gifts! From touching and smelling a red flower, to circling and running under spring rain, seeing a small joyous little girl dance, or hearing beautiful music and … Yes, for me, life is so beautiful that I consider suffering and making the ultimate sacrifice for its beauties. I have learned from history that only through this sacrifice will a nation reach freedom and obtain its greatness. The truth is, the US was founded upon the sacrifices of its patriots, who fulfilled an influential revolution. We have also seen how South Africans, through their struggle and sacrifices, were able to defeat apartheid. Furthermore, the French and Italians in their anti-Nazi and anti-fascist resistance liberated their country and achieved freedom, this most beautiful gem. I want to be a part of this beauty, and not just benefit from it. Yes, this is how one can literally feel life and enjoy every bit of it.
And now, I am still alive, and on hunger strike in Camp Liberty. I still say life is beautiful, so beautiful that I am willing to sacrifice my very being, little by little, for it. However… not for myself but for the lives of the seven hostages abducted by Maliki’s forces!
They were also taken hostage in the early morning hours, on Sunday, September 1st this year in Ashraf. I know very well how close they are to being extradited and executed, and each moment and minute they are being tortured. What does this mean? It means I understand with every cell of my body what they are going through, and I cannot rest for even a moment and I seek to place more efforts, do more, be more effective, because life is beautiful and I am still alive.
Is life beautiful for you too?!
Mojtaba Shadbash is an electronic engineer. He miraculously survived the 8 April 2011 attack by Iraqi forces against Camp Ashraf and is now on hunger strike in Liberty prison. He and many other Liberty residents are on hunger strike protesting inaction by the US government and United Nations regarding their security in Ashraf and Liberty. In another attack against Ashraf on 1 September 2013, 52 residents were killed and 7 others were taken hostage, including six female members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran. This unlimited hunger strike is the last measure that will continue until their release.
- From prison to prison, a letter to my sister (freethe7.wordpress.com)
- Endangering one’s life to protect others (freethe7.wordpress.com)