September 28, 2023

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Unknown conquerors of peaks

TEHRAN- On the hot evening of August 13, a man working as a dedicated service force in the holy Shah Cheragh shrine in the southcentral Iranian city of Shiraz found himself in the midst of a horrifying incident.

Despite having a challenging and physically demanding job, Farzad Badpa loved to serve pilgrims who visited the shrine every day. He especially loved working there as he was a religious man with a deep love for the family of Prophet Mohammad (S).

That eventful evening as Badpa moved to fulfill his next task to wrap up his shift, he heard a loud sound go off. At first, he thought he was hearing fireworks but realized something way more serious was underway when he heard people screaming from outside. Badpa peeked out of the area he was in and looked at the courtyard. A young man holding a Kalashnikov weapon had started to randomly shoot at people. One of the bullets hit a woman and made her fall to the ground. While watching everything from afar, Badpa felt something rise up inside him. He was only 34 years of age and had started his job 14 months ago. He had a long way to go and as someone responsible for cleaning, he had no business fighting off an armed terrorist. But Badpa just couldn’t stand still and watch more people get killed; without a second thought he marched at the gunman and managed to throw him on the ground. In a moment of bravery, he managed to overpower the gunman and restrain him until help arrived.

“My blood was boiling. I saw innocent people running for their lives so started sprinting towards the terrorist and he started pointing his gun at me. Before he could shoot, I got him on the ground and then operational forces came to take care of him” recounted Badpa.
Badpa’s deep sense of duty and love for the shrine and the people of his country compelled him to take action. Without hesitation, he confronted the armed assailant, risking his own life to protect others. 

His selfless act of heroism saved countless lives and showcased the true spirit of humanity. His actions not only demonstrated his unwavering commitment to his religious beliefs but also reflected his reverence for his country.

As news of Badpa’s heroic act spread, media outlets rushed to catch interviews with him. But they found the now famous man to be very different from what they had seen in videos and photos of the terrorist attack. Badpa was reserved and quiet and was too shy to look at the camera. He gave himself almost no credit for what he had done.

“Every Iranian would have done the same thing. I only did what thousands of other people have done for this country before me. It doesn’t matter what job we hold, we Iranians are always ready to sacrifice ourselves for our religion and country.”
Badpa has now turned into a symbol of hope and resilience in the face of adversity. People from all walks of life praise his courage and express their gratitude for his selflessness.

“I could not believe my eyes when I saw the video of the attack. I couldn’t fathom how such a selfless man exists. But again, I was reminded of the great people that have lived in this country throughout the centuries. Badpa is just another one of those courageous people who are ready to sacrifice everything for their values,” said Fatemeh Sadeghi who is a history teacher. “I will certainly talk about him in my classes from this year on. Iranian students must be familiar with nation-loving figures in their country who have risked dying to serve their people”. 

Badpa was also honored by authorities. As words spread, he got to meet with famous athletes, military officials and finally the president. He himself has expressed hope that he can one day meet Iran’s Leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.

Though Badpa’s story can be seen as an individual act of bravery, he is not the first Iranian to make headlines for such a courageous act. 

Only a few days before the incident at Shah Cheragh, it was the anniversary of the brutal killing of Mohsen Hojaji, an Iranian soldier fighting in Syria who was beheaded by Daesh in 2017. In a video released by terrorists of when they had captured Hojaji, the young man can be seen with no fear on his face. The Leader of the Islamic Revolution has called Hojaji a “symbol of bravery”. In the same year of the soldier’s killing, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, “There are many individuals like Martyr Hojaji among Iranian youth.”

Perhaps it’s due to these characteristics of the Iranian youth that the Leader is extremely hopeful for the future. “We have come close to the peaks. We must not get tired. Today is the day of enthusiasm, the day of hope, the day of movement,” Ayatollah Khamenei said during a meeting with top commanders of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) on Thursday.

There are numerous figures similar to Badpa, who might remain unknown their whole lives. But even with the few that do get known to the public, foreign-led media seems to be largely in favor of sidestepping them. These media outlets seem to be the last group of people who would like to see Iranian youth prosper and help their country prosper with them. 

Badpa was not the first person to sacrifice himself for his country, and surely he will not be the last. 

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