About Two Memoirs

Acquaintance with Narrators of “Panahgah Bi Panah” and “Man Asir Nemishavam’

Mohammad Ali Fatemi
Natalie Haghverdian


Soureh Mehr Publication has published two new books; these books are the achievements of the efforts made by the provincial centers of Art Department which are now available in the market. “Panahgah Bi Panah: memoirs of the survivors of Park Shirin Shelter in Kermanshah” and “Man Asir Nemishavam: memoirs of Second Lieutenant Pilot, Mohammad Tayebi”.


On the eve of the thirtieth anniversary of that day

Panahgah Bi Panah (Unsafe Shelter)” is written by Mahnaz Fattahi with the support of the Cultural & Sustainable Studies of the Art Department of Kermanshah Province. The book is 310 pages and constitutes of three chapters including generalities, memoirs of the survivors, documents and pictorial evidence.

The introduction of the book tells us that the author focuses on the air strike of Saddam’s army on Park Shirin Shelter in Kermanshah on 12 March 1388. The book is narrated by the survivors of Park Shirin Shelter bombardment. The narration is not limited to the families of the martyrs or the injured; it also includes the aid workers of the Red Crescent, Disciplinary Forces, nurses, shopkeepers, Basij Forces, reporters, city authorities, firefighters, emergency aid personnel and all those involved in the incident that day who recount the story from their own perspective.”

There are 35 narrators, telling the story of a day in which 78 people were martyred in Kermanshah and 175 were injured. As narrated by the author “the bodies of a few martyrs were not found despite extensive search. They were in close vicinity of the location where the bomb landed and their bodies were torn apart and were never found.”

The fact that the narrators of the incident are the eye witnesses of the missile strike, who have lost family members in the air strike of the Saddam Army that day or the fact that some of them are those who were trapped under rubble after the explosion in the shelter, provides a multi-dimensional approach to the incident.

The narrators recount their stories defining why they were in Kermanshah that day or how they ended up in the shelter. However, the turning point of all the stories told is the first hours after the strike and explosion in Park Shirin Shelter in Kermanshah. Each narrator has her/his own perspective which is independently reflected in pages dedicated to each individual. Though, the scope of memoirs is not limited to the incident of that day in Kermanshah and progressively entails other cities of Iran as well. From this perspective, “Panahgah Bi Panah” is the outcome of documentary memoir writing and record of the oral history of the people concerning one incident during the imposed war of Saddam’s army against Iran which occurred 29 years ago.

The other aspect of the book is dominance of women’s recount of the story. 19 narrators are women who remember the missile strike and understood the reality of the incident. 29 years should be deducted from their current age; hence some of them were youth at the time or women who had been married for a short while and had young children.

How many books do we have that focus on the shelters? How many of them describe the apparent features and characteristics of the shelters? Or how many of them describe the social aspects; how people interacted in the shelters? In order to access such information we have to refer to War Specialized Library on the third floor of the Art Department in Tehran; but this book defines all this information first narrated by people and then written by the author. It also describes the apparent characteristics and features of the shelter and the story of its construction.

The pictorial section of the book not only presents the pictures of the martyrs of that day in Kermanshah but also pictures of the surrounding areas of Park Shirin Shelter which is not the Museum of the Holy Defense and also pictures of some of the narrators and their reaction while recounting their story.


About 85 exterritorial missions

The author of “Man Asir Nemishavam (I won’t be a hostage)” is Ms. Zahra Fereyduni Valashjerdi. The book contains 300 pages which is produced by the Cultural and Sustainable Studies Center in the Art Department of Markazi Province. The book contains the memoirs of Second Lieutenant Pilot, Mohammad Tayebi designed in five chapters: “Childhood, adolescence, youth”, “Trip to the USA”, “Revolution to Iran and Iraq War”, “Iran and Iraq war; onset, in the midst and end” and “20 memories of 85 exterritorial missions.”

To the point that the narrator takes us to a mission during the Holy Defense and combat against the invasion of Saddam’s army into Iran (23 September 1980; as narrated in the endnotes: 140 Farvand Operation, Kaman 99 or Sayeh Alborz), we have read 121 pages. In these pages we read about the memories of Mohammad Tayebi in Arak and the USA and also his spouse which acquaint us with the narrator who was born in 1949 and his training and education as a pilot.

Up to page 215 we join the narrator in his journey in the Holy Defense and relevant missions. The stories mostly represent the narrators understanding and emotional status about his own situation during missions. He says: “In spring of 1990, I received good news. A group of military and Sepah forces were invited to meet the Supreme Leader. I was one of them. The invitees were those involved in Fath Olmobin big operation. I received 2 degree victory medal from Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, and the Commander in Chief of All Armed Forces. I had received a letter of appreciation from him in 1989. In winter of 2010, along a group of friends, I was introduced as the Lasting Face of the Air Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

From page 219, the last chapter of the book, we read 20 memoirs of 85 exterritorial missions starting with an induction in which the narrator addresses his first grandchild. The missions start by the target and date and hour. There are geographical and military details about various operations such as Kheibar and Badr and 8 Valfajr and defines specifics of aerial mission.

The book ends with the pictures of the narrator. One of these pictures which is the meeting of H3 mission pilots with Imam Khomeini shows that the narrator is one of them.


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