SHARIFAD, Yadi (1946-)




Author Tags: Biography, Politics, War

“The meaning of freedom is not known until it is lost,” writes Yadi Sharifad, “and it is only then that we realize how precious it is.” As a U.S.-trained pilot who became a Colonel and Squadron Commander fighter pilot in the Iranian Air Force in the 1970s and early 1980s, Sharifad was eventually imprisoned and tortured by the new regime of Ayatollah Ali Khomeini, but not before he had proved himself as a Persian war hero in his country’s war against Iraq. After Sharifad survived an airplane crash and was rescued by sympathetic Kurds, he wrote a book and became the subject of a propaganda movie in Iran called Eagle in 1984, but he was still mistrusted and accused of spying for the CIA. Having previously (and necessarily) sworn allegiance to the Shah of Iran, Sharifad and other pilots were sent on increasingly dangerous missions. “Caught between the devil and Khomeini’s deep seething mistrust of human nature,” he writes in The Flight of the Patriot: Escape From Revolutionary Iran (Thomas Allen $29.95), “we pilots simultaneously loved and loathed that war. Somehow, I survived missions that grew increasingly suicidal. I began to suspect that my missions had no purpose beyond finishing me off. It was Khomeini’s twisted take on the once-honourable Kamikaze. Except for us there was no ceremonial glass of sake, no final word to our loved ones.” Sharifad sent his family to Canada, then endured three years of desperation, often under 24-hour surveillance, until he managed to escape overland, via Turkey, and reunite with his family in Vancouver in 1994. 978-0-88762-526-8