Zahed Haftlang crossed the line during war. He saved the life of an enemy soldier. Zahed was born in Iran in a small town that serviced the oil industry. He was a child-soldier in the Iran-Iraq war of 1980 to 1988. But when he came upon a severely wounded soldier on the battlefield, he did not see the enemy. He saw someone who was a father, a husband, another human being.
Zahed took extraordinary steps to save the soldier’s life although he was under strict orders to kill enemy soldiers that were found alive.r. It was an act of heroism that few soldiers can claim.
It was a small moment on a battlefield that might have been quickly forgotten. But by an incredible coincidence, Zahed met the man he saved 20 years later in Vancouver, Canada. The encounter pushed Zahed to search for a way to stop war and promote peace.
He spent six years at war fighting for Iran. Despite shrapnel in his abdomen, burns from chemical gas, bullets through parts of his body, he did not die. He was captured days before the fighting was over and held in Iraq for 2 ½ years, where he was hung by his thumbs with a wire, burned with cigarette butts, beaten and subjected in unending humiliations.
War is a terrifying monster that turns human beings into animals. Zahed does not know who was responsible for his survival – Mohammed, Moses, Jesus, Abraham or some other power.
Zahed believes in God but he has refused throughout his life to be defined by political or religious leaders who try to divide people by race, religion or nationality. He subscribes to no ideology.
He is now proud to be a Canadian, raising two children with his wife in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Zahed is also an author and has publised his first book “I who did not die”