Book review:

Baladchi

Memoirs of combatants of Lorestan province from the eight years of sacred defense narrated by Ismaeel Sepahvand

Amin Kiani
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan

2021-10-12


Baladchi or Pathfinder is the self-written oral history of the combatants of Lorestan province, which is narrated from the perspective and mind of Ismaeel Sepahvand. The first volume of Baladchi deals with the birth to Operation Valfajr 9 in seven chapters.

In the first chapter, the reader watches Ismaeel's childhood. After a brief description of his family background and childhood residence, the reader walks step by step with Ismaeel and his mischief and childish games in the alleys and gardens of the memoirs of Baladchi. Accompaniment with his brother Ruhollah (who was later martyred), the narrator’s brief information at the time of the narration of Dr. Houshang Azami, the victory of the revolution and Ismaeel's victory in wrestling competitions of Lorestan province are the main topics of the first chapter.

Training in Khuzestan, being sent to the front line, participating in Operation Ramadan, and being caught in the siege and clashes of Basij and army guys are the topics of the second chapter. This chapter ends with the returning of Ismaeel from the front and participating in the national championship wrestling competitions in the weight of 57 kg. And, in the third chapter, we can follow Ismaeel's account of the passing away of his father named Sayd Aziz[1], the great father of the Baladchi of the author of Baladchi.

"... In the morning, at the time of Azan (call to prayer), he came over my head and said: Get up and say your prayers. I said to myself: as soon as he prays, he comes again and wakes me up. Ten minutes passed; my mother had woken up too. He was doing ablution when he said with a special state: Ismaeel, your father has been lying on the praying rug! Go and see how he is? I went over his head, his eyes were half open. He looked me up and down. It was as if he wanted to say something. My mother immediately came over her head. My father took a deep breath and the blackness in his eyes went away.” (p. 194).

Ismaeel's firsts begin from the fourth chapter. From this point on, Ismaeel is supposed to become the guide or pathfinder of the combatants. Entering the Intelligence Operation Unit and identifying Jofair with Qassem Mad'hani and then starting the reconnaissance is a prelude for Ismaeel to become a pathfinder or Baladchi. Narration of sensitive and anxious moments of reconnaissance is among interesting contents and not giving information even to the brigade commander is one of the sweet moments of the fourth chapter.

The fifth chapter revolves around Operation Valfajr 6. This chapter begins with a tragic incident that took place in the Labbikk Ya Khomeini military drill in Khorramabad, which resulted in the death and wounding of a number of combatants, and then we observe Operation Valfajr 6, mentioning the details and observations of the Baladchi.

We walk the chapter 6 with Baladchi in Zubaydat and reach Valfajr 9 in the seventh chapter. A one-on-one battle to capture Kanasser[2] is one of the interesting topics of this chapter. The martyrdom of Tavakol Mostafa Zadeh and the narration Ali Rast Pirhayati from the martyrdom and the carrying of Tavakol's body has to some extent been able to bear the emotional burden of the work. "What do you know about the guys?" Hussein said.

Ali Rast said: Tavakol and Parviz have been martyred...

We asked about Tavakol's martyrdom. He said: ... little by little, a one-on-one fight started. Tavakol and a few others had stayed in the front line and were very busy. In particular, Tavakol had stood in the middle of a few stones and fired at the Iraqis with a Kalashnikov rifle. I also sat a few meters away. I came around for a moment; I saw that there was no news of Tavakol. When I raised my head, I saw that Tavakol’s eyes and mouth remained open and he leaned on the stone on his left and all the stones were covered with blood. I knocked on my head. I saw that the first moment he was shot, he was martyred. When I looked at the stone, I saw that something like fat was white in the blood. I immediately realized that his brain had jumped out from behind his head with the bullet. I wanted to put Tavakol on my shoulders and bring him back, but I saw that it was not possible. Tavakol’s stick was lying next to him. One of the guys of the battalion was also standing there. When he saw the situation, he went under a rock and concealed. I pulled Tavakol's shoulders and elbows back and passed the stick between his elbows and waist. I brought his wrists on each other and bandaged over his abdomen tightly with a Keffiyeh so that the stick did not move. Then we were able to escape stone by stone and reach the right side of the peak. I knew from the beginning that the peak was falling. I brought my hand to the left. By the time we reached the left side of the peak, the Iraqis had just arrived. They saw us on the notch, and started firing at us heavily. When the firing lessened, I took Tavakol to the steep slope behind Kato. The Iraqis saw us again. I put a woolen hat and an overcoat on his head and tightened the strap. I laid him on the ground on his back. I had no choice but to throw Tavakol down the slope. All the Iraqi fire went to Tavakol's body. His body flowed down the hill so fast that the Iraqis could not target the body. I escaped from the groove on the left. As soon as I came down a little and came out of the rifle range of the Iraqis, I went to Tavakol's body, which had slipped to almost the bottom of the peak. Everybody knew Ali Rast was lionhearted otherwise if we were, his body would definitely stay in Kato.” (pp. 567-568).

The first volume of the book “Baladchi” was published in 1395 (2017) in 1000 copies in Sooreh Mehr Publications.

 


[1] Sayd in Lorestan is a prefix to nouns; like Mohammad Ali and …

[2] An area in the town of Bijar in Kurdistan



 
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