Da (Mother) 23

The Memoirs of Seyyedeh Zahra Hoseyni

The third day was extremely busy. The number of dead increased, especially in the residential areas that took direct hits. Most of the dead were women and children, which meant the female body washers would be under even more pressure to finish their work. By contrast, the number of people volunteering to help decreased. Some of the volunteers stayed for a couple of hours and left saying they would return but never did.

Da (Mother) 22

The Memoirs of Seyyedeh Zahra Hoseyni

She was in a bad way, almost sullen. I could tell she was tired and hungry. But, more than that, the sight of all those mangled bodies, I was sure, had an emotional effect on a sixteen-year-old girl. It wasn’t just seeing the wounds and broken bones; she also had to come to grips with the nakedness, which had to violate her sense of modesty. That had been the most stressful thing for me.

Da (Mother) 21

The Memoirs of Seyyedeh Zahra Hoseyni

I left the building. The Jannatabad administrative office was one of three adjoining rooms not far from the body washers. I knocked on the door and entered the office, where a tall, thin man around thirty-six was sitting behind a desk. He had a fair complexion and was wearing horn-rimmed glasses. There was a large registry in front of him. I had seen him several times before out of the office when he was wearing sunglasses.

Da (Mother) 20

The Memoirs of Seyyedeh Zahra Hoseyni

She was right. Early in 1980 the city announced that Jannatabad was closed, telling people that they would have to bring their dead to a new graveyard near the shrine of Ali, son of Hoseyn, on the road to Shalamcheh. After this announcement, visits to Jannatabad went down a lot. Exceptions to the prohibition were made in the case of martyrs; three of them—Musa Bakhtur, Abbas Ferhan, and Seyyed Jafar Musavi,...

Da (Mother) 19

The Memoirs of Seyyedeh Zahra Hoseyni

Mrs. Goruhi immediately bit her hand, showing how much the news upset her. The other women asked her who Effat was. She was about to explain when I begged to be excused; I did not have the strength to listen. When I got home, Mansur opened the door for me. I went into the yard. Mother was standing in front of the porch. She seemed exhausted. She answered my greeting sarcastically, “So, you are home. How strange!”

Da (Mother) 18

The Memoirs of Seyyedeh Zahra Hoseyni

Zeynab returned to find the old and round woman who washed bodies smoking a water pipe and Maryam a cigarette. The rest of her staff was busy with other things. She called me and said, “Come and grab her head.” She meant the body of a young girl. I had resisted doing such things. Until this point, I would only lift corpses if they were on stretchers, but now I had to lay my hands on one of them.

Da (Mother) 17

The Memoirs of Seyyedeh Zahra Hoseyni

She did not say anything. I went to the spigot and washed for prayer on the veranda. I felt much better after praying; the pressures on my heart were gone. I picked up my socks and put them on, and although I had washed them thoroughly, they still smelled of camphor. At that point five-year-old Zeynab walked over to me. She had not seen me since morning, and I knew she wanted a hug.

Da (Mother) 16

The Memoirs of Seyyedeh Zahra Hoseyni

Two sides of the room were lined with cement benches protruding from the wall. The bodies were laid out on the benches. The panes in the translucent windows were etched with floral patterns and covered with muslin so nothing could been seen from the outside. Light from a naked bulb suspended from the ceiling shone on the water. Several aged women were helping the body washers. A few others operated the spigot, ...

Da (Mother) 15

The Memoirs of Seyyedeh Zahra Hoseyni

The woman was in tears and said, “I do not have anything. You see how I am dressed.” I said, “No problem,” and covered the little girl with a corner of the blanket. The woman seemed to be paying attention to me, but her crying and moans made me speak more directly. “If you go on this way, you’ll make it worse for the child. You have got to get yourself under control first and then try to calm the child.”

Da (Mother) 14

The Memoirs of Seyyedeh Zahra Hoseyni

On September 22, 1980, we expected the next day to be like any other, with the kids going to school: Sa’id to first grade, Hasan to second, and Mansur to the first year of middle school. Father had given us money a few days before to buy school supplies for them. I took the boys myself to the Darvazeh traffic circle and bought—as much as our budget would allow—what they needed.
The Anniversary of Takeover of the U.S. Embassy

A Genuine Question

I do not forget the time when the young people had taken over the spy nest and there was a tumult — maybe less than a month had passed — and we had just come from Hajj. Mr. Hashemi, another person and I — whose I do not want to mention his name — went from Tehran to Qom to ask Imam they have finally been caught, what should we do with them now? Should they be kept, not keeping, what should we do?

A Part of Memoirs of a Soldier

The embankment where we were stationed led to the Khorramshahr asphalt road. For this reason, the Iraqis tried hard to recapture it. And finally, near at noon, they were able to settle in the embankment next to the asphalt road and shoot diagonally towards us from there. We had no choice but to retreat. Captain Barati, the battalion commander, ordered two kilometers behind to build an embankment for us to settle there.

Your Problem is Different / You Hinted Not to Hit More

One day, they came to me and said: “We want to take you to the prosecutors office so that the investigator will interrogate you.” We had been famous for the meetings we organized as the Anti-Baha’i Association. At that time, there were many people in Jahrom that worked in different jobs; Among other things, there was a sergeant major in Shahrbani (law enforcement force), who stood guard duty instead of the guard ...

Privacy and Its Niceties in Oral History

Privacy in the process of recording and publishing memories is an issue that has attracted attention of activists in this field and those interested in legal issues in recent years with the expansion of activities of memoirist individuals and groups. Oral history interviews include close and personal relationships between interviewers, narrators and their organizational sponsors. This relationship is important for all groups. Interviewers feel an obligation to the people who have allowed ...