True Story of Compassion on the Battlefield Subject of New Book by Mills Professor

Oakland, CA–March 15, 2017

The incredible real-life story of an Iranian child soldier who secretly saved an Iraqi soldier during the Iran-Iraq war is the subject of a new book by Mills College English Professor Meredith May.

What’s even more incredible about the story in I, Who Did Not Die is that the two men who came face to face on a bloody battlefield in 1982 reunited and became close friends after randomly meeting at a help center for survivors of torture in Vancouver, Canada some 20 years later.

“It’s one of those stories that makes you believe there is something out in the universe that is taking care of us,” said May. “These men need their story told, because they need to show that you can do the right thing even when you are surrounded by evil. And these guys chose compassion.”

After being hidden behind a pile of dead Iraqi soldiers and eventually brought to an Iranian field hospital, the Iraqi soldier is then held prisoner by the Iranians for 17 years. The Iranian boy who saved him was eventually captured by the Iraqi’s and held for two years, May said. Both were tortured and both suffered from post traumatic stress disorder.

The story is familiar ground for May, who wrote an award-winning San Francisco Chronicle story in 2004 about a war-wounded Iraqi boy who came to the Bay Area for treatment. May was a features writer for the newspaper from 1999 to 2015.

A publication and book signing party for I, Who Did Not Die is scheduled for April 6 at 7 pm at Diesel, A Bookstore at 5433 College Ave. in Oakland.

A third-generation beekeeper, May currently teaches digital journalism and podcasting at Mills. Her professional interests include travel writing, screen writing, sex trafficking issues and bee keeping.