Along with narrators of the 287th of Night of Memory

“Yaqubian” talks about captivity and “Jahangiri” about Mofid School

Maryam Rajabi
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan

2018-01-09


The 288th program of Night of Memory of the Sacred Defense was held in Sooreh Hall of the Art Center on Thursday 28th of December 2017. In this show, Saro Yaqubian and Abbas Jahangiri told their memoirs of the eight-year Iraqi imposed war against Iran.

At first, a video clip from the meeting of martyr Ali Khosh Lafz with the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, and in continuation, Akbar Eini, the program’s presenter expressed a short memory of the martyr. Eini said, “I was the presenter in the Night of Memory program that we met the Supreme Leader. There, I was told to announce the name of martyr Khosh Lafz sooner in order to come and tell his memoirs due to his illness. The martyr had a problem in speaking and could not express the words clearly and understandably; on the other hand, due to high volume of the memoirs, the guests had become tired in a way that the authorities of the Leader’s house and the guys of the Night of Memory told me to tell him to finish speaking, asking me to stand beside him so that he understands but suddenly the whole present people sent Salawat (blessings upon the Prophet of Islam and his family) and he found out and excused and said that apparently I talked too much; the Leader said no problem, keep going. The people became silent and he continued speaking.”

 

Jamshid (Ali) Khosh Lafz, the narrator of the book “When Moonlight Was Lost” was martyred on 20th of December 2017 in Khatam al-Anbia Hospital as a result of the effects of the chemical injuries caused by the Iraqi imposed war against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

 

 

Where 1199 were Muslims and I was just an Armenian

Saro Yaqubian was the first one who told his memoirs in the 287th of Night of Memory of the Sacred Defense. He said, “I am an Armenian and a religious minority. I have been born in the town of Masjed Suleiman in Khuzestan Province. My brother went for military conscription in 1985 and I was dispatched in 1986. My brother served in Minoo Island in Gendarmerie. The law in Gendarmerie was that if someone served in a war zone for one year, he could go back to behind the front. When I wanted to be dispatched, my brother said I would get a permission to stay in the front so that I do not come to the front anymore, asking me to stay with our parents so that they felt more relaxed. I did not agree and said whatever God wants and destiny desires, it will happen. I said if I stay and something wrong happens for you, I will never forgive myself.

 

I was dispatched to serve in the military service. I went to Ahwaz and from there to Tehran, and spent the military training in Lashkarak. I went to 01 Military Training Garrison and was dispatch to the war front after four months. I served the military service for 20 months in the war fronts and I was finishing the 24-month military conscription that was taken as captive. We were 15 when taken as captives. We were picked up a KM Jeep which was convertible. Everybody had stood. When we were going forward, their tanks were coming across. Our hands had been closed by wires. The driver was driving very badly. I had a friend named Vahid Jamali who was my military service pal. I asked him to stand because the driver was driving very badly and he said that I was tried and wanted to sit down. The car capsized in the middle of the way and everybody was thrown out. When we came to, we saw that Vahid Jamali had fallen down the asphalt 100 meters away, bleeding from his face. The situation was in a way that most of the guys were thinking of themselves. I told the guys that Vahid had fallen a few hundred meters away, and they said that he would not survive. They asked us to go. I said where we should go?! Finally, we went and put him on our shoulders and brought him near the vehicle. He collapsed. The guys said, "Saro, leave him, he won't survive, he is bleeding." I put my ear on his heart and saw that he was still alive and said that it was not correct to leave him alone. He is our friend. Nobody came to help me and I became very upset. At any rate, I put him on my shoulder with much difficulty and brought him on foot till an Iraqi area. This was while the Iraqi tanks had been parading so much on the soils and asphalts that they had become soft and our feet fell inside the soils. I delivered my friend and we were taken to a place where a camp has been built with canes. They forced us to sit down there. Then, we were divided to go to the camps

The Red Cross had visited most of the camps that were there. When we reached there, there was no vacancy and they did not let us down. Finally, they took us to their arsenals and gunrooms; a campus with 12-metetr and 20-meter rooms. 75 people were put into the 20-metetr rooms. We who were 50 were thrown into a small three in four meters' room. It had a small window. No food and water were given to us in the first days. We had no place to sleep. At present, I have the back problem which goes back to those days. In order to sleep, we put our back on the floor and our feet on the wall. Even those four or five who had no place to sleep, had to dangle from the window's bars by turns for one hour, and then the next ones woke up to dangle from the window's bars instead of them so that they go and sleep. The days were passed in this way and we had accustomed to it. Even after six months, we had been given slippers. We went to WC bare footed. There were two WCs and we were 1200. If one day, we were out for one or two hours and wanted to use the WC, the Iraqis bothered us a lot. After a while, the guys were united together. There were 1199 Muslims there and I was only an Armenian. Our dish was like a tray where some rice was poured into for groups of ten and each group had a senior. There were no spoons and plates for us. They placed the dish in the middle and ten people gathered around it. We had to eat it by our hand. In the first two or three days, several guys who were from the villages of Mashhad, did not eat food. After two or three days, our senior took me to a corner and said that our fathers and grandfathers have told them in the old days that you should not eat food with the strangers who are not Muslims and he continued that since you touched the food, they did not eat. I said that there is no additional dish that I could separate my food and on the other hand they would become hungry and come and eat their food. After one or two days, they came forward one by one. When they saw How I behaved, we had become closer than brothers together. The last days that we were going to separate from each other, I asked whether you remember what you were doing? They asked me to forget those days.

When the Iraqis wanted to bother us, we made a collective decision. We went on a strike for two or three times for some problems and they imprisoned us in the sanatorium for two or three days. The Iraqis placed a glass of water next to window for the nights. During the strike, they broke the glasses and did not give us water, but this did not cause us not to bring up our demands. When I was capture my tooth ached. One day, I said the name of myself, my father and my grandfather, and they wrote to be my turn to go to the clinic and pull my teeth. I waited six months to one year and it was not my turn. The guys sharpened the barbed wire on the cement, we warmed it with fire, two persons held the hands and burned nerves of the teeth. I also did so and after one and a half year, I was called to go to the clinic. I said to myself that thank God that I would be relieved of this toothache. They closed my eyes and I picked up a car and eventually they took me to a small room which had an iron chair. There was a device which held the head. We had seen this in torture chambers. They locked our hands. The doctor came and I said to myself that he would inject an ampoule and make my numb tooth before pulling. The doctor took a pin in his hand, asking me to open my mouth. I was waiting for the injection, but I saw that he put his legs on the chair and took my tooth with the pin and believe me, he was pulling my tooth for some 10 minutes. I shouted and he insulted me. The whole face of the doctor had become full of sweat and then it infected. Instead of anti-biotic, we placed cigarette ash on it, and it recovered after two weeks. When I came back and went to fix my teeth, I asked the dentist not to fix the tooth, because I liked the space to remain empty to keep a memory from that doctor! 

 

 

12th of Esfand (3rd of March) and exactly when Ali had left

The second narrator of the 287th program of the Night of Memory of the Scared Defense was Abbas Jahangiri. He said, “I grew up in one of the neighborhoods of the outskirt of Tehran known as Qanbar Abad. The situation of the area in southern Tehran has been very influential in how I grew up. After the victory of the Islamic revolution, my mother had saved some money and sent me to Kharazmi School. I studied there for some one and a half years that the then Minister of Education executed a plan according to which any individual should study in his or her own neighborhood and as a result, I became familiar with Mofid School which was near my house. One or two weeks had passed from the first of the Month of Mehr (23rd of September when the schools are opened) that I sat first in the experimental class and then I decided to sit in a math class.

We were 32 in the class 11 of whom were martyred. In this ceremony, I visted the parents of martyr Hossain Rostam Khani and I want to start my memoirs form him. The body of brother Hossain never came back. He was a very religious man. He had a small and tiny body but was very agile. One day, he had gone out with some of the guys and apparently had teased someone. I saw that Hossain was running in the school and some of the full-bodied students were pursuing him. Hossian went inside one of the WCs and whatever the guys asked him to come out, he did not. They poured water from above the door to say that you would become unclean there and to come out but he did not. Finally, after two to three minutes, Hossein came out without getting wet. He was so clever and ingenious that he had immediately decided to stand above the faucet, clinging himself to the wall, so that the water had not soaked him. Hussein, at that time whenever he wanted to joke with someone, opened his wristband and knit it together.

I had come from a crowded neighborhood, but I was gradually seeing the other effects of these guys and was becoming interested and enthusiastic about this friendship. They were a handful of Muslims with strong beliefs, and with the same hurly-burly that we did in the lower neighborhoods, with the difference that they fasted and prayed. Their religious beliefs were very strong. But in addition to hurly-burly, they also studied. The sister of Hossain Jalali is present in this gathering. Hossain was a very clever and faithful boy. At that time, I was thinking to myself that if Hossain grew up, he would certainly become a president. Hossain along with Taqi Sa'adati who was also martyred had come from the southern neighborhoods of Tehran, and had understood my conditions. After one year, Hossain told me that we had gathered to kick you out, because we knew that you have not been cut out for such things and have joined the Muslim guys, we thought you might not be in harmony with us, and wanted to separate you from the collection and not let you go to school. I am telling you these things to make you understand that our life was also a normal one. But these comrades were very serious in one discussion and that was the issue of electing. The reason why we lost and did not achieve what they did was that they elected well and acted well, but we did not do this. Martyr Seyed Hassan Karimian picked on me and said that Abbas, your hair has grown longer, it's time to go and cut your hair. Or martyr Masoud Rahmani asked me to recite the Surah al-Hamd of the holy Qur'an in order to correct my mistakes. In order to attract me, and since he knew I was interested in wrestling sport, he wrestled with me. To me, the grandeur of school can be seen in such groups. If we want a strong future for our society, we have to start from school. I feel that whatever I have gained is the result of the same group works that we did with the guys. Later, these friendships were drawn into each other's home; we fasted and everyday one of us hosted for Iftari (breaking the fast), and went to each other's home/ My father and mother did not allow me to go anywhere. One day I told my mother that we were going to Mashhad. It was in my mind that Mashhad means the place of martyrdom and we were going to the place of martyrdom!

The first time that I could go to the war front was this way; I was wrestling and had a good body. I went and told the person in charge of sending forces to the front to give me a letter to go the front. He asked whether I had any file here or not. I said I do not know; I may have. He asked my name and then left. He came back and said that apparently your file has been lost. I said it's easy; make another file for me so that I could go to the front. Finally, he made another file and I departed. I along with martyr Hamid Salehi went to the war front. Martyr Salehi had taken part in irregular wars with martyr Dr. Mustafa Chamran since the age of 16.I along with this martyr went to Haj Omran Altitudes in Operation Valfajr 2. Hamid took care of me not to happen something for me. One night, we were guarding, he had slept and I was awake. We were in Haj Omarn Altitudes. I felt that a few people were coming up. I woke him up and told him the story. I had a grenade in my hand, and told him I go from one side and if I felt that the sound is close, I clash with them, and you attack from the other side. I was so unexperienced that when the sounds came closed, I put my finger inside the ring of the grenade to pull it out. The pin had not been unbent from behind and I was just trying in vain. For a moment, I thought to myself that in the films, the pin is drawn and the grenade is thrown. I tried a lot to unbend the pin. The ring came out and I threw the grenade, then I started counting but it did not explode! I went to Hamid and told him that the grenades were of no use, they did detonate! The sound was still continuing that we threw the second grenade for the Iraqis. The grenade's shrapnel cracked the entire surface of the bulwark and if the first grenade was detonated, in fact I had riddled Hamid. I thanked God for several days that I did not kill brother Hamid myself! 

Let me tell you a little about brother Ali Bolourchi. His mother had raised him alone since the age of two when his father died.  He had a beautiful face and at the time of martyrdom, shrapnel had hit in his heart, and had been martyred with same beauty. I had learnt how to embalm and I embalmed most of these guys and put them inside the grave. When brother Ali was martyred, we tried to fill part of Ali’s absence for his mother.  That lady was really my second mother and many of those who are here. These martyrs play a major role in the lives of all of us daily and their role is not sectional. One day, I along with this mother and a number of friends and their families went to a park in northwestern Tehran. We tied a rope to play volleyball with the friends. This lady asked to play volleyball with us a little. As soon as she wanted to touch the ball, fell down and screamed loudly, and when we wanted to help and lift her up, she screamed for the second time. We called the Emergency Center. They came with a stretcher and took her. I contacted with a friend in Milad Hospital, and they agreed to examine her and to see what had happened to her. This happened near the evening in late December and three specialists examined this lady; spinal cord doctor, pelvis doctor and neurologist. They said that this woman had osteoporosis, her femur has broken and her entire spine had damaged seriously. I was alone at 3 AM, and I really did not know what to do; because the doctor said that her body until neck should be splinted and she has to live this way until end of her life. I became very worried and went to talk to brother Ali very seriously! I said that she is her mother and you must solve this problem. Then I went home at 3 AM. I went to the Martyr Foundation the next day in order to get a permission to take her to Khatam Hospital. I got the permission and transferred her from Milad Hospital to Khatam Hospital. When we reached there, they took radiographs form her and said that her femur has just broken and that she has not suffered any more damage. We performed the femoral operation and took her to home with a stick two days later. 

The presence of the martyred friends in life has been proven to me. I go to talk to these friends in many problems in my life and they solve them. They have saved me from troubles. Now let me tell you a little about Mansour Kazemi. When Mansour was martyred, I was in Abadan. I had been sleeping. I was dreaming that Mansour has come and put his head on my leg, when I got up, I felt fully the warmth of his head on my leg. I asked Manosur to tell me the moment he was shot and fell down. He silenced for a moment and said it was like smelling a flower before which I had never smelled such an odor. I heard this from Mansour, but I am sure that Hossain Rostam Khani has also left this world in this way, also Hossain Jalali Pour and Seyed Hasan Karimian. To me, brother Mansour Kazemi has told this for all of the friends.

Jahangiri continued, “The operation of brother Ali Bolourchi and the rest of the friends started on the night of 12th of Esfand 1365 solar hijri (3rd of March 1987). Their commander was Hamid Salehi. They went to the frontline at night. Brother Ali was martyred at 11:45 and Morteza Jaberi was before him at that time. My phone rang exactly at 11:45 and I answered. It was Ali's sister who said her mother left this world right now. This mother also passed away exactly on 3rd of March exactly when Ali was martyred."

 

 

The book which is a kind of school writing

In the 287th program of Night of Memory of the Sacred Defense, Morteza Qazi was invited to speak. He is the author of two books "Historiographers and Narrators of Battlefield; The third course of Mofid School; the martyr's narrators: Hossain Jalali Pour, Mohsen Feiz, Hamid Salehi", and "All Alone: Memoirs of Martyr Ali (Mehran) Bolourci". Qazi said, "The book All Alone which includes the life of martyr Ali Bolourchi was release in early 2016. The story of the book ""Historiographers and Narrators of Battlefield" was that the students of Mofid School went to the Center for War Studies and Research at a time. When Mohsen Rezaee became the Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), he ordered to set up the center in order to register and record the memoirs of every commander and everything that happened. A series of narrators entered the center and their task was to be beside a commander. They had tape recorders in order to record the meetings of the commanders as well as notebooks in order to note. Today, there are 50,000 first-hand tapes and over one million documents from the war period in this center which are the products of these narrators. The narrators who came and narrated in this center were those who had set aside a number of things, for instance they gave up the frontline, because they had to stay in the headquarters alongside the commander. Many people told them that such works was due to fear of war and frontline and was not a virile job, but the narrators had chosen this way. A group of them who entered in the Center for War Studies and Research –today it is called "The Center for Sacred Defense Documents and Research" – were the guys of Mofid School. These guys were brainy and people of university and pen. They entered this space and each of them did the job of narration alongside a commander at a point. Three of them were form the third course of the Mofid School; martyr Hamid Salehi, martyr Mohsen Feiz and martyr Hossain Jalali Pour. Two other narrators were form the fifth course of the school and in fact two years younger. 

Since they were the martyrs of the Documents Center, it left the writing of the life of the three martyrs to me and my wife. I and my wife entered the Sharif University since 1998. We knew these guys; Ali Bolourchi had ranked fifth in Konkoor (nationwide exams for entering university) and had been studying in Sharif University; martyr Hossain Karimian has been in Sharif University, Hamid Salehi in Tehran University, Mohsen Feiz in Amir Kabir University, Hossain Jalali Pour in Tehran University and Behzad Assaee had gone to the front and when he came back to the university, had passed 26 course of his lessons. It was a good luck that I and my wife Mrs. Hossaini performed a joint work. The book was supposed to be published in 240 pages namely 80 pages for each martyr, but now the book is more than 900 pages, because when I started writing, I saw that all of the guys were together and could not help writing about every one of them. I could not help talking about the school's atmosphere and the collection which had grown together. They were the first group who were dispatch to the war fronts from schools. Then, they came back and asked their teachers what to choose between the Konkoor and front and the teachers replied that first study for Konkoor and the go to the front. When the results of the Konkoor had yet to come, they were in the front and when the results were announced, they started studying. They studied in a way that could reach themselves to the war zones. There is a memory that Mr. Morteza Ebrahimi had studies till one hour before being dispatched in order to prepare himself or the exam. This book is in fact a kind of school writing and any person who likes to know about the atmosphere of Mofid School, can read this book. These guys were the ones who launched studying in the war front and said that we gathered the students who came here and taught them. They founded the student dispatch to the fronts. Wherever they went, were useful and did not come like an ordinary combatant. 

At the end of the 287th program of Night of Memory of the Sacred Defense, the ceremony of memorial signing of the books "Historiographers and Narrators of Battlefield; The third course of Mofid School; the martyr's narrators: Hossain Jalali Pour, Mohsen Feiz, Hamid Salehi", and "All Alone: Memoirs of Martyr Ali (Mehran) Bolourci" was held attended by the guys of Mofid School and a number of the families of the school's martyrs.   

The 287th program of Night of Memory of the Sacred Defense which was organized by the Center for Studies and Research of Resistance Culture and Literature and the Office of Resistance Literature and Art was held on Thursday evening 28th of December 2017 in Sooreh Hall of the Art Centre. The next program will be held on 25th of January 2018.          



 
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