Over the Rainbow: The experiences lived and seen with the eyes of an innocent child
If there should be a book never to miss from your bookshelf, then it should be "Over the Rainbow", by Mohsen Sharifi. The war between Iran and Iraq was very much mediatized, but very few know what happened there. The book is the emotional story of a young boy who lived in the northern part of Iran, in a place where simple life had its beauty. Unfortunately, everything that used to put a smile on the boy’s face changed dramatically when the enemy troops started to use chemical weapons on the not guilty citizens. The entire story is a potent mixture of historical facts and the experiences lived and seen with the eyes of an innocent child.
The author, Mohsen Sharifi, was born in Iran. So, as a native, he had a real insight of the atrocities that happened over there in a war that was so unfair to the defenseless people. The book starts by presenting the worse episodes of the war, the moments when the Kurds unleashed the chemical weapons over the places where people lived an undisturbed life. Since those areas were not considered to be a part of the war, the hit was even more severe because no safety measures were applied to protect the people. Thus, you can imagine the incommensurable damage such irrational decision made among the population. It is a start that depictures a violent image, but it gives the main picture to any reader. Even to a young one who never heard about the war or its consequences.
The book has a soft side though, under the shape of a merry young boy. The author does not start the story without making the proper presentation of his central character. Hiwa is a young boy living in Sardasht, the small town so close to the northern border. Chosen by chance or a reality fact, his name, Hiwa, means “hope” in the Kurdish language. It is like his destiny is written on his forehead before even starting to read the story. The author also presents the interest of a child that seems very happy by being helpful to his family, and neighbors, in all the needed choruses. He is being presented as dreaming to become a doctor that heals children with a precarious situation. He dreams of a better world, with no wars and sufferance. A world where people can choose what is right to their lives without the worry that they will not afford it. Perhaps the thoughts of Hiwa are driven by his desire of following a prestigious university and earn a degree, although the situation of his family has little possibilities of making a dream like this coming to reality.
But the predestined name of the boy shows that hope indeed dies last. With his smile erased by the disasters that hit his family, the boy is determined to change something in the world he is living, a world that destroyed what he had the dearest in his life. His parents are killed in the severe chemical attacks over his home city, and he and his sisters are very severely injured. But these events do not bring his moral down, as his desire to make a change not only in his local community, but also for the entire world, becomes more ardent than ever. You need to follow the story of the book and see if the boy with the name of Hope really manages to bring hope to the world. You will love the friendly style of the author and his talent to describe places and people, which will project you right in the middle of the story.
Over the Rainbow is available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1770764550.
About the Author
Mohsen Sharifi, a teacher and a published author was born in 1948 in Iran. He went to school in Germany and college in the USA. He received an M.A. degree from the University of Michigan in 1976. He lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland with his wife.