Seyyed of Quarters 15 (28)

Memories of Iranian Released POW, Seyyed Jamal Setarehdan

2017-05-06


Seyyed of Quarters 15

Memories of Iranian Released POW, Seyyed Jamal Setarehdan

Edited and Compiled by: Sassan Nateq

Tehran, Sooreh Mehr Publications Company

‎2016 (Persian Version)‎

Translated by: Zahra Hosseinian


 A few days later the camp commander came. He had brought a Quran and a few Turbahs. "I’m Shiite like you." he said, "I bought this Quran and Turbahs with my own money. I’ve given Quran and Turbahs to other quarters too. I'm sorry, I couldn’t do more than this."

The guardians did not say anything, but it was clear they were not satisfied with their commander. The camp commander asked, "Do you want anything else?"

One of the prisoners was a teenager from villages nearby Malekan. He spoke hardly a few Farsi words. He said he and his twin brother had been conscripted together, but they were separated in the region. He was worried about his brother and said that hasn’t heard anything of him. He fell sick badly for a few days. We reported it to the guardians until they came and took him. A few days later, he came back. He had recovered a little.

Reaching the quarters, he said: "I think my brother is here."

Ebadollah Bahoosh asked, "How come?"

"I was taken to the Tammuz hospital." The teenager replied, "The guardian of camp-16 grabbed my collar and said, ‘I hadn’t taken you here, so what are you doing here?’ the guardian who had been taken me to the hospital, said the guardian of camp-16 that he make a mistake and I'm the prisoner of camp-15. I think my brother has been captured too and is here."

After two days of inquiries we realized that he is right, and his brother also has been captured and he is in the camp-16. I rose. Ebadollah Bahoos who knew what I want to say, stood up too. Turning to the camp commander, I said, "I have a request."

The interpreter translated and the commander allowed me to speak. I told the story of that prisoner from Malekan and his twin brother and requested: "Please either take this one to the camp in which his brother is, or send his brother from camp-16 here."

The commander said, "It’s impossible. He’s been registered there. But if it was possible, I’ll send him here."

The Quran and Turbahs which were donated by commander, had changed the spirit of quarters. We were many in numbers, but planned in such way all prisoners could use the Quran during a full day and night. Every Friday morning, I used to go to the Hazrat Ruqayyah Quranic circle with my brother, Seyyed Hojat, when I was ten years old. One of the clergymen preached and then we recited Sūrat al-Fātiḥah and al-Ikhlāṣ and other chapters of the Quran. Sometimes, religious edicts were explained too. One day, MirzaQodrat turned to the clergyman and said, "Sir, this two young came here regularly for a long time and recited Quran. We want to reward them by kind permission of you."

MirzaQodrat was a middle-aged and devout man. He was in the Quranic circle and served there since I was born. "That’s a great job." The clergyman said.

I and Seyyed Hojat were called and we went to the foot of pulpit. The clergyman of Quranic circle gave a Nahj al-Balagha to me and a Nahj al-Feṣāḥa to Seyyed Hojat. "Utter a Salavat for their safety." MirzaQodrat said loudly.

The members did it. I guessed that they also wished to be encouraged, when my eyes fell to their look. That day, I had a pleasant feelings when came back home. The picture of winning a Nahj al-Balagha came to life several times in my mind and my ears filled with the people’s Salavat.

There was one copy of Quran in the quarters and we were many. We had to recite it in turns. If I wanted to wait until it was my turn, it took several hours. I stayed up all night and waited all prisoners slept. I recited the Quran easily, when all prisoners had slept. One night, Adel Varqaee moved from side to side in his place. Then, he rose on his elbows, and when saw I was reciting the Quran, lay down again.

Little by little, I began to teach Quran to the prisoners who hadn’t learnt; and so, I was seen more. In excuse for or without excuse, the guardians came to me with their cables and batons. They both punished and showed me to the other guardians; so that they also punished me if a problem came up in the quarters! I was a good option for them to punish me.

Once we had gone outdoors for taking in fresh air and a walk, I saw Farazalh Vahabzadeh, one of Ardabil prisoners of quarters-14. Sometimes, prisoners rowed and came to blow with each other. I asked about the condition of their quarters. He replied that the monitor of their quarters, Hossein Ghasemi, managed well and had good treatment with all prisoners and didn’t allow any problems arise. The Iraqi officer had also given them a copy of the Quran. "Can you recite the Quran?" I asked.

  • I’ve recited it many times from beginning to the end, and my recitation isn’t bad.
  • So, teach those who haven’t learnt it, if you can.

As usual, I waited the prisoners get off to sleep that night. Adel Varqaee woke up when I was reading the Quran. He rose on his elbows and said: "Seyyed! It hasn’t happened I wake up and see you are asleep!"

I could not lose the opportunity to read the Quran in the silence of the night. An hour had past midnight. I kissed the Quran and put it in its place. The lamps of quarters turned on during the night. I pulled the blanket over my head, so the light does not bother me.

It had elapsed a while, and that Malekan prisoner kept obsessing with his brother and wanted to hear from him, no matter how. Shortly after, his brother was sent to our quarters from quarters-16 by commander’s order. It was incredible. The two were very similar.

The buckets, which were used as bathroom, were rusted because of overusing. One morning, when I woke up, saw the buckets have leaked, aside from their disturbing smell, and the margin of my blanket has been soaked. After being counted and having breakfast, I took the blanket out and spread it on barbed wire to dry. My lungs had hurt too step by step. I was not upset and instead was happy to be able to help prisoners in this way.

Late, we heard that the Iraqis changed the commander of camp-15. I guessed he had been sent elsewhere perhaps because of donating a Quran and a few Turbahs.

 

To be continued…



 
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