Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

They Just Wanted to Look Each Other in the Face; THE DESPERATE WISH FOR SEPARATION THAT COST LADAN AND LALEH THEIR LIVES

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

They Just Wanted to Look Each Other in the Face; THE DESPERATE WISH FOR SEPARATION THAT COST LADAN AND LALEH THEIR LIVES

Article excerpt

Byline: PATRICK SAWER

FROM the moment they opened their eyes, as one of them poignantly put it, the Bijani twins wanted to lead separate lives. Today they both died trying.

Though joined at the skull the Iranian sisters could not have been more different.

Ladan was outgoing, Laleh more introvert. Ladan wanted to be a lawyer, her sister a journalist.

Though they lived 29 years in as full a manner as possible for two people who could never leave one another's side, they failed in their ultimate ambition.

"We want to look each other in the face," said Laleh. "Without a mirror," added Ladan.

It was a dream that had long brought pain and tears.

One friend from their home city of Tehran recalled the pair, aged eight, trying to walk in opposite directions. "They cried because of the pain it caused," said the friend.

The sisters were born into a poor family of 11 children But they were raised by doctors in Tehran, their every move followed by the Iranian media and a fascinated public.

Childhood brought more than the usual number of cuts and scrapes as they constantly fell over while playing. Their different interests brought conflict from an early age.

Ladan was talkative and enjoyed cooking, which Laleh, known as a quiet thinker, didn't. Instead she loved animals, which Ladan preferred to avoid.

Last month the sisters explained their overwhelming need to be separated, whatever the risks. "We have different ideas about our lives," Laleh said.

Ladan interrupted, laughing: "Actually, we are opposites. When we first opened our eyes to see the light, we wanted to be separated."

Such close attachment had some advantages. They cheated in school tests by whispering the answers to each other.

The Iranian authorities concluded it would be nearly impossible for the sisters to compete individually in university entrance exams. In the end it granted them a joint scholarship to study law at Tehran University in 1994. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.