The reminiscent books

Along with “Hemmat, the Legendary Man” and “With Iranians Injured by Chemical Weapons”

Mohammad Ali Fatemi
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


The book section of Iranian Oral History Website has reviewed two books in the last days of the Iranian year 1395 SH (2016-17) which have been published this year. The feature of both books is that they are reminiscent. They are reminiscent of the characters and individuals who are the legacy of the Sacred Defense. The books’ writers (one Iranian and the other Japanese) somehow remind us how we have looked at them.


Varieties which are now obvious and in the future, history

Thirty five years after the martyrdom of Mohammad Ebrahim Hemmat, the commander of the Division 27 of Mohammad Rasoullollah (SAWA), the book “Hemmat, a Legendary Man: Typology of Martyr Hemmat” authored by Hessam Mazaheri has been republished for the second time. The 95-page book published by Arma Publications in Isfahan has the following lists:  Preface, Hemmat (effort) of Mohammad Amin, (The common product of family, media, school and Basij), the Hemmat of Government, (The Hemmat who should exist), Hezbollahi Hemmat (more martyr than Islamic revolution), Green Hemmat (the legendary man changes color), My Hemmat (from billboard to T-Shirt: Personalizing the legendary man), Hemmat of Superman (when the legendary man revolts), Hemmat against Hemmat ( the battle of Hemmats), Conclusion, Bibliography and Profile.

The list tells the reader that he or she faces a different work, as a collection of the names of boys and girls has come in the page of the book’s calendar, “… and all of other children of our generation who one day make their own Hemmat.”

The book starts with a cut from Mohammad Ebrahim Hemmat’s interview on 31st of May 1982. The text introduces him from his own language. Then, the writer in the book’s preface narrates a memory from him from the year 1988, confirming the conclusion that “A legend is a kind of discourse and transfers a message.”

The text starts with a chat with Mohammad Amin the 12-year old son of one of his relatives. They talk about martyr Hemmat, and the author analyzes Mohammad Amin’s words in order to understand how he has obtained them. Finally, he concludes that “the square of family/TV/school/Basij (voluntary force) clarifies more or less how the puzzle pieces of Mohammad Amin have matched. It is the same Hemmat that should exist; the same Hemmat who is natural from the view of official narration, the same of Hemmat of government.”

The next section starts with the text of the initial plan of the first part of a documentary about martyr Hemmat, and consequently through referring to collection of works and literature produced bout martyr Hemmat emphasizes that these are the result of the domination of official narration from him.

In another section, a number of his images which also cover his political viewpoints have been collected. The next section reviews the counterpoint of the producers of the images of the previous section through using a few mottos and images. However, both views from the viewpoint of the writer intend to show that Hemmat is a legend.

We in the section “My Hemmat” face with samples of billboards, T-shirts and one of the recent books published about martyr Hemmat which provides the grounds for the production of these products from the viewpoint of their producers. The next section also relies on an image from martyr Hemmat on a wall in Tehran, and the author has clarified it from several viewpoints. He writes, “From another view, the Hemmat of superman recreates the legendary man, Hemmat in the format of the mentality of the generation of those who from a hero have the icons of superman, batman and Spiderman and like these in their minds.”

The last section is somehow the conclusion of previous sections and that “Which of these are real Hemmat? Perhaps, the most precise reply is that to say: None of them. The real Hemmat whoever and whatever, was the same whose life story came to an end in an explosion on the evening of the 7th of March 1984 in Majnoun Island. Since that evening till today and tomorrow, whatever has been and is and will be, is a collection of his narrations each of which is born in a point of time, under conditions and for a reason and necessity… and the cycle continues…”

The book’s conclusion is in a way a return to the beginning of the writer’s chat with Mohammad Amin. Finally, the book says, “Now it’s time to ask the final question.

  • Now, would you like to be in place of superman or martyr Hemmat?
  • Martyr Hemmat.
  • Why?
  • Because I like to be martyred if a war breaks out again.”     

The book “Hemmat, the Legendary Man” is in fact the product of raising a subject with its well-known proofs. The writer for this plan has dealt with what he has seen and heard whose numbers are not less around him. So from this view, the book had registered the cuts which now seem obvious and account part of the existing reactions around all of us. But the same cuts will become a history in the future.

On the other hand, the writer invites the reader to look at his or her environs precisely and always remember to look at a subject or an individual from various aspects. However, in view of the viewpoints of the scholars and his concerns in the areas of history and the narration of the Iraqi army's imposed war against Iran, Mohsen Hessam Mazaheri has provided grounds for the next researches in which the existing narrations of a subject are the origin of a movement.


Ten years of relief in Iran

"With Iranians Injured by Chemical Weapons: 20 Years of International Relief" is a book authored by Shizuko Tsuya and translated by Yaser Shahbazi. It was published for the first time in 2017 by Rasanesh Novin Publications. The 184-page book has been written in three chapters "Medical Relief in Russia: The first 10 years of trial and error", "The pain of Iranians Injured by Chemical Weapons: 10 Years of Relief in Iran", and "From Hiroshima for the World".

The short introduction by Dr. Mohammad Reza Soroush, the manager of “the Society for Chemical Weapons Victims Support” and the Head of Board of Directors of "Tehran's Peace Museum" reminds the reader that the book is part of the writer's activities and Mosset NGO. The writer's preface indicates that he is active in international relief for 21 years.  It has been written with the motivation of presenting what he has learnt personally from his defeats in relief activities as well as the role of Hiroshima during such relief activities.

Tsoya starts his book with a brief biography of himself and then explains why he picked up ten years relief in Russia. He writes, "Russia was still in critical conditions at that time (1994) due to the contamination of radioactive radiations of Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurred in April 1985…Hiroshima which has experiences in curing nuclear victims is active in every part of the world for curing such victims. Prior to this, Hiroshima had also aided the Soviet Union after the Chernobyl disaster in curing nuclear victims, holding medical courses generally. But with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the political systems made great changes and numerous problems happened. But the change of a political system should not stop curing works…"

The writer has talked about his experiences in health advice, recognition of a disease, providing lab and pharmaceutical facilities and the hardships of this trend in Russia, and says, "We continued the relief with Russia at the center. Sometimes, I took drugs alone and sometimes when the conditions of my husband were not good, we went to the target areas and took drugs along with medical examinations."

Scenes of relief which have come in Tsuya's memoirs have information from social and anthropological aspects. Also in the end of the book's first chapter, the title "Forwarding of asthma drug to Gaza in Palestine" is seen and the point that "Palestine has a dry air and many children are inflicted to asthma. But due to economic blockade by Israel, the situation was in a way that it was not possible to have access to the needed drugs…" But he managed to send the drugs to Palestine through Ukraine and the head of the UN Refugee Agency in that area.

The book's second chapter is the result of Tsuya's trip to Iran. The trip repeated many times and he found out that the town of Sardasht had been bombarded seven times by Saddam's army with mustard gas and almost 4000 people are suffering from the effects of the bombings: also in general, Iran was targeted by chemical bombardments for that 300 times and the people of Sardasht call their city as "the second Hiroshima". The day when he arrived in Sardasht, some 17 years had passed since the city's chemical bombardment. He writes, "It seemed that we were the first foreigners who had come to the city during the 17 years…one of the victims … criticized and said, "The world has forgotten us…"

Tsuya also said, "Familiarity with chemical victims was shocking for me. I saw with my eyes bitter realities and turned into a trip during which I pondered many issues. But all of them were not painful. I discovered wonderful things…" and then he writes about the features he has seen about Iran and Iranians. Part of these features is about the chemical victims who were the guests of Tsuya in Japan and the association (Mosset) whose management was up to him. He writes, "They talked to each other in Farsi and even outside their country they tried to perform their Islamic duties like their country ... they were very careful in performing daily prayers. Once during their stay, we had set a meeting in the hotel. But the chemical victims did not come on time. We thought that something wrong might have happened. But we l went to look after them, I saw that they had spread a ground cloth in the hotel's corridor and were praying."

The writer of "With Iranians Injured by Chemical Weapons" knowing that there was no certain cure for chemical victims considers relation with them as a kind of relief, because it would help them mentally.

Part of the book's second chapter has allocated to Tsuya's acquaintance with two Iranian chemical victims. The two have captured his attention: Chiman Saeed Pour who was only one and a half year old when injured in Baneh's chemical bombardment and Ali Jalali who was sent to Japan for treatment in 1986 at the age of 25. In the writer's view, the changes that Chiman have had after travelling to Hiroshima and finding the physician of Jalali in 1986 are considered as important events: "Our relief in the form of mediation came to an end successfully when I managed that Mr. Jalali visited Dr. Nakatani again and calmed down."

Other points which cause the satisfaction of Tsuya of coming to Iran and welcoming the chemical victims in Hiroshima have been retold as such, "The Iranians had asked us two things in March 2004 when we had gone to Iran in the form of the Hiroshima's global peace plan. One was that: "We like that you introduce the chemical victims to the world" and the other was the undertaking of common research between Iran and Japan for curing chemical effects. Regarding the first request, we managed to take steps although small through works such as inviting for participation in Hiroshima's peace memorial ceremony and conversation meetings with the victims of atomic bombardment… about the second one namely "common research for curing chemical effects" … when I obtained "the atlas of lesions caused by mustard gas", I had an indescribable feeling. I felt that this collection can be part of the response to Iranians' request - common research for curing chemical effects.

In addition to referring to the account of Tsuya and the beginning of his relief in the international level, the last chapter of the book covers the process of his attempt for producing an animation named "Junod": "Dr. Junod was a Swiss physician who came to Hiroshima immediately after the city's nuclear attack and sent some 16 tons of drugs and medical equipment. The monument of Dr. Marcel Junod has been located in southeastern of Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park…"

The memoirs of Shizuko Tsuya ends with sentences that indicate the influence of Iran and Iranians on him: "The life will come to an end one day not only for us who are chemical victims but for everybody. I don't know when the sun of my life will set, but I hope that the sun shines as beautiful as the sun of Marivan (a town in western Iran) at that time."   

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