My Schooling Had No Effect On Me: Iranian Theatre Artist Hamed Taheri on Active Bangalore

RJ Lakshmi speaks to Iranian theatre professional Hamed Taheri about growing up during times of war…

As an educator, seeing how our society has been imploding for years through communal tensions, riots, and separatist movements, I wonder what happens to our children during such political and social uncertainties. Though the scale and timeframe of conflicts in our society has not been as drastic as the Iran-Iraq war, the longest conventional war of the 20th century, or the three decade long and continuing conflict against occupation in Palestine, we know that in our conflicts it is our children who suffer the most – they become civilian victims, they are displaced, jailed, indoctrinated into becoming child soldiers and/or even forced into sexual or labour exploitation. Worldwide statistics from the last decade show that more than 5,00,000 children were recruited into state and non-state armed groups in over 85 countries. The numbers of active child soldiers currently fighting is 300,000, in government armed forces or armed opposition groups worldwide.

What happens to schools and to learning spaces in these conditions of political uncertainties. Do children just fall prey to propaganda? Or do they find spaces to learn despite these harsh circumstances? How did these events shape their educational journey and what are the lessons that left a lasting impact on them.

In this edition we speak to Hamed Taheri , a Theater artist from Iran. He speaks about growing up in Iran during Iranian Revolution (1979) and the 8 year long Iran-Iraq war that followed.

As a child, Hamed was a part of the civil resistance movement against the regime of the Shah. By 1979, the strikes and demonstrations had paralysed the country and the Shah fled with his family. Ayatollah Khomeini, the conservative leader, was invited back to Iran and he became the supreme leader of the country.

In 1980, Iraq invaded Iran via air and the Iran-Iraq war started.  More than 144,000 Iranian children were orphaned as a consequence of the war.

Let’s listen in to Hamed’s story…

Article and Radio Program by Lakshmi Karunakaran

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