Bahram Hamidi grew up in the seventies on a military base in the Persian Gulf. His father is a major general in the navy, his mother a lecturer in astrophysics. After an Iraqi attack in the first Gulf War, his father is liquidated, and the boy has to watch the shooting. Subsequently, he also gets a bullet in the head, which he miraculously survives. His father's non-commissioned officers help him, his mother and sister go into hiding, because the family is also persecuted by the growing Khomeini regime. The bullet is removed from Bahram Hamidi, whose real name is different, in a military hospital. Even today you can see a long scar on one half of his skull.

Uwe Ebbinghaus

Editor in the feuilleton.

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After a few months, the boy loses his ability to speak and vision in one eye, he begins to have severe epileptic seizures with anxiety attacks. Meningitis has formed at the surgical site and, as a result, a tumor; it has already spread to the spine and envelops parts of the nervous system. Only about three-quarters of the tumor can be removed with further surgery. The seizures are then no longer so severe, but the tumor remains intact – this has not changed to this day. Bahram Hamidi is chronically ill with a degree of disability of 70.

At the end of the eighties, he fled to Germany with his mother and sister. The family is accommodated in a refugee camp. Bahram Hamidi is given medication for epilepsy for the first time in his life, his condition improves slightly. The family stayed in the asylum shelter for four years. The boy is taking a German course at the Diakonie and longs to attend a school, but the asylum seeker is denied this.

"Due to your lack of professional experience at an advanced age, we unfortunately have to turn you down."

For three years he lived with his family in the attic of a rectory, he found employment in a burger king shop. In the mid-nineties, the Hamidis were granted German citizenship. Bahram rises to the position of rotation manager, at the same time completes his secondary school leaving certificate at night school and then takes his high school diploma. Fortunately for him, the school principal has recognized the weakness of the young man in oral exams: in stressful situations, he suffers small epileptic seizures that block his thinking. He is therefore allowed to take all exams in writing and receives compensation for disadvantages, which does not yet officially exist.

He reports all this in the high-rise apartment of a medium-sized city near Cologne. His German shows traces of his unusual language acquisition, it is very fluent in small violations of the rules.

At the turn of the millennium, Bahram Hamidi began studying at the Rheinische Fachhochschule in Cologne, graduating as a state-certified biological-technical assistant. He avoids oral exams in his training. He wants to become a research assistant, but no one invites him for an interview within ten years. He blames his advanced age, foreign name and chronic illness for this. Out of necessity, he completed internships in a laboratory and at the University of Cologne, where he met a professor who encouraged him to study medicine: "You have more to offer, make something of yourself," he says.