Book Review:


A narration of life of freed POW Imam-Ali Koonani

Amin Kiani
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


"Finally I saw my own grave. My name which had been engraved on the stone very largely was very visible. It was a big white stone all of which had been engraved with sentences. It was exactly the same thing about which I always imagined. I raised my eyes. An aluminum frame had been mounted on top of my grave. It looked to be my photo! Yeah, it was a framed photo of me that the clay pots around it gave a special effect. I saw Morteza's grave next to my own grave. I had been buried next to Morteza just like the dream I had and I was with Morteza. I sat by my grave. My mother sat on the ground in front of me and emptied the glass of pear she was holding on the stone and ...". 

After an introduction, the book starts with the above sentences. In the first five pages, we face a beautiful interruption, but unfortunately, exactly where the reader is eager to continue reading the book, he or she encounters the first chapter, entitled "From Birth to the Revolution Period." An attractive and well-started interruptive atmosphere is broken as you go into the chapter. "From Birth to the Revolution Period" expresses memories of this period in the life of Imam Ali Koonani. The first chapter includes a brief introduction of his background, parents, a brief and concise description of his childhood mischief and going to school, and active participation in the demonstrations leading up to the revolution.

"Post-Revolution Period to Military Service" is the title of the book's second chapter. Leaving school and working in a bakery and then registering to go to military service and passing a training course in the 92nd Armored Division of Ahvaz and the martyrdom of Morteza, training for being sent to the front and the operations of commandos are the main topics of this chapter. In the meantime, Morteza's martyrdom has a special effect compared to other subjects due to creation of an emotional atmosphere.

"... One night I dreamed that Morteza was injured in both legs and was martyred. ... We had five days off to return home. When I went to Kuhdasht and reached the end of our alley, a Hejleh (A hexagonal cylinder made from wood or metal commemorating the death of a youth) at the end of the alley caught my eye. The whole alley was full of black curtains. When I went ahead, I saw the name Morteza with "Martyr Morteza Koonani" written in front of the Hejleh. His photo was also displayed in the middle of the Hejleh. For a few minutes, I was astonished by Morteza's photo and name, and I went through the dream I had in my mind. A hand was put on my shoulders. I came back. It was my father. He touched my wet face with his hand and hugged me tightly. My whole childhood and adolescence had been buried with Morteza." (P. 63)

The book's third chapter, entitled "Captivity", deals with how he was taken as captive, the Tikrit 12 Concentration Camp, and the days spent in captivity. "On the morning of 14th of Khordad 1368 (June 4, 1989), after taking the statistics, we were inside the compound when they announced over a loudspeaker that Imam Khomeini had passed away. Everyone who was everywhere was astonished. We were stunned for a while that the news was true or that they announced it to weaken our morale. Immediately after the news was announced, they attacked the prisoners and took us inside the sanatorium. When they closed all the doors, they played songs from the camp's loudspeaker." (pp. 161-162)

"Freedom from Captivity and Return to Homeland" is the title of the book's fourth and final chapter. The beginning of the chapter is about the prisoners' swap and entering Kuhdasht. After that, due to the relative knowledge of the current situation of the narrator (Imam Ali Koonani), issues have been written about life after captivity briefly. Pictures and documents are given in the final pages of the book.

"Unmarked" is a story about the life of the freed Iranian POW, Imam Ali Koonani. It has been researched and interviewed by Nasrin Dalvand and written by Farahzad Jahangiri. This book has been produced in the Office of Resistance Studies and Culture of Lorestan Province and published by Sooreh Mehr Publications in 1250 copies.


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