Sometimes certain things happen for a reason. You usually don’t know it until the moment when you face a situation in your life where you have to choose between ‘to do or not to do’. But that question should never appear when you’re on the battlefield. The war between Iran and Iraq was perhaps one of the most brutal since the World Wars. And during that bloody fight, there was one person who forgot about orders when it came to deciding what is more important, killing or saving a human life?
Zahed was an Iranian solder, and only 13 years old when he made a life changing decision during the pivotal Battle of Khoramshahr. He found an injured Iraqi solder, Najah Aboud, who, just like him, left his family behind to join the war. When Zahed is sent to an Iraqi bunker to drag out the dead, he hears a voice. When he gets closer to the man and searches through the soldier’s pocket, he finds a small copy of the Quran with a photo of a young woman with a child. What Zahed does next could have caused him his life, however, he does not hesitate to put at risk the only thing he has to save that man’s life. After many years, emotionally injured, broken and suicidal, Zahed now living in Canada’s Vancouver awaits for something or someone to drag him out of a dark bunker unto light, and preferably, alive. And the miracle will happen in a very unpredictable way….
Ann Shin`s My Enemy, My Brother is superbly directed, well narrated real life story that you needed to hear in this seemingly dark world. It tells the story of two men who happen to be part of the Iran-Iraq war. You will also find out about the real reason why Najah ends up on the battlefield while Zahed runs away from his abusive father to join the war. Both of them had their own reasons to be a part of that horror, but the real nightmare for them begins after the war ends. Soon you will come to know that Najah’s wife and child went missing, while Zahed lost his fiancé. Despite that, both men, after not having much expectation from their lives, find a bit of strength to move forward to something remarkable they yet to find out…
However, Zahed is the one who seems unable to connect the dots of his life and get over the war. He finds himself more depressed and suicidal in Vancouver, which does not bring much color into his life. He even attempts suicide, but luckily, is unsuccessful. And this is when his roommate sends Zahed to the Vancouver Association for the Survivors of Torture (VAST) where he meets a stranger, who happens to be the man whose life he saved 25 years ago in a dark bunker. This is when the two ‘enemies’ become blood brothers, illustrating a perfect example of the possibility of being good friends despite everything and anything your culture or country taught otherwise.
My Enemy, My Brother serves a great purpose and sends a very important message to the viewers with a real example of how the ability of staying humane in harsh and unacceptable conditions is where you show who you really are. From Zahed and Najah you learn that hate is the only thing that should never occupy the human heart, but only love, dignity, and confidence, that will help you to make right decisions. You will also learn from Ann Shin’s film that being brave or cool does not mean you stand up for what other people believe in or what the situation demands, but what you choose to do despite that, even if it means doing the right thing when millions of people choose not to. That is what will make you a better person. Because one day life will pay you back at the right time, the same way it paid Zahed….