Oral History :: A narration of captivity at the hands of Deash

It was heard in Isfahan

A narration of captivity at the hands of Deash

Maryam Assadi Jafari
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


The special program of Evening of Memory on the occasion of Ten-Day Dawn organized by the Art Center of Isfahan Province and Fanoos Cultural Group was held in Isfahan’s Basij Martyrs Hall on Wednesday 11th Bahman 1396 (January 31, 2018),the website of Iranian Oral History reported. In this program, Hossein Kanani, a disabled war veteran of the Scared Defense and Mustafa Bidaghi, a released captive from the hands of Daesh narrated their memoirs.


Being disabled, the sweetest moment of life

At the beginning of the program, Javad Heidar Maddah and narrator of the Syrian war commemorated the memory of the martyrs of the shrine defenders. Then a clip from the time “Hossein Kanani” was disabled and his foot was severed, was played. This war veteran was the first narrator of the program. Kanani congratulated the Ten-Day Dawn and said, “Fortunately, I was in Abadan in the first days of the Iraqi imposed war against Iran. In fact, I served alongside the army brothers as a soldier in that critical and decisive situation. Of course, during the war, I went to the front with three forces of army, Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and Basij (volunteer forces). When my military conscription was finished, I joined the Basij and concurrently became a member of IRGC. I went to Kurdistan for a few months and then was sent to the south, and took part in Fat’h al-Mobin, Beit al-Moqaddas and Ramazan operations. The scene you watched, was Operation Ramazan carried out in Tir 1361(July 1982) during which my right leg was severed by a missile shot from an Iraqi attack helicopter. At that moment, I thought I would be martyred but was not and this was God’s will. I was transferred to Tehran for treatment. When I was recovered in Tehran’s Haft-e Tir Martyrs Hospital, it was perhaps the worst and most bitter moments for me because I believed that I had been left from a great grace. Then I came to Isfahan for a recovery and took my artificial leg. God helped me to be at the service of IRGC brothers and went again to the war fronts.”   

Kanani recalled his meeting with the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, and added, “I told the Leader that after the event, I travelled to holy places, married and had children. Thanks God, I have a good life but when I look at the past, I see that no moment was and will not be sweeter than the moment when I became disabled. I say this without any bias, because I felt that I was joining my martyred friends, but it was God’s will that I survived. According to Dr. Shariati, “A revolution has two faces; blood and message.”  


From lack of water to torture

In continuation of Evening of Memory, “Mustafa Bidaghi” a released captive who was at the hands of Daesh terrorists retold his memoirs from his six-month difficult days of captivity, and said, “I went to Syria in 2012 for the sake of Hazrat Zainab (SA) and Hazrat Roghayeh (SA). The name of Defenders of Shrine was not so popular on those days. A few months after what happened to us, the Defenders of Shrine became popular. We moved and went for the sake of a particular and respected purpose. We were ambushed and taken as captives by the enemy on the birth anniversary of Imam Hasan Mujtaba (PBUH) concurrent with 15th of the holy month of Ramazan on our way from airport to the shrine of Hazrat Zainab (SA). Many things happened to us from the day of captivity to day of freedom. Since we were capture on the day of the birth anniversary of Imam Hasan Mujtaba (PBUH) and released on the day of his martyrdom anniversary on 28th of the lunar month of Safar thanks to his favor and grace, our friends named our group as “Azadegan Karim ahl al-Bayt” or freed captives of the benevolent of the family of the Prophet of Islam (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).”

He continued, “We were 48. We were given a plate of food for five persons per day. It was mainly cooked potatoes or oats. This was our food and went up to 24 hours later. The condition of drinking water was not appropriate either. In most times of captivity, they gave us a glass of water for drinking, ablution and Taharat or wash oneself after easing nature. The wisdom ruled that we should save our lives first. We did not do Taharat sometimes and instead of ablution we did tayamom or ablution with earth and sand. We were moved in 7 towns and 14 houses mainly in basements and storerooms. We were released with same dress we were captured. It means that we had just this dress during the six months. We touched water on our body for some five times during this period and that was in their own style! They wetted us with a hose.”

About the poor conditions of captivity, Bidaghi said, “Once we were in a very dark basement with 30 stairs. There was toilet in this basement which had a well. The well was filled after 19 days and moved toward the place we were living. The guys suffered from different kinds of infectious diseases from skin fungus and digestive problems. It went so far that they could not come down to beat us due to stench. They did not tolerate breathing in that space. They took us up and beat. The conditions were very difficult. They usually beat the guys with stick so much every day until they were broken and their cables fell apart. They forced one person to sit among the gathering and started beating him in order to fear the rest. Our friends were beaten in front of our eyes and we could not do anything for them. But if a friend had not the power to get up after being beaten, it was what broke them.”


Tavasol supplication and rowzeh tea

This freed captive from the hands of Daesh continued his memories and said, “We were allocated one candle every day. We lit it in the evening and it died some 45 minutes later. They had welded the whole windows of the basement and we were in absolute darkness. Only, the azan or call to prayer was said live and from azan we understood that the time was passing. In this atmosphere, the guys sat and confabulate with very low voice. If the voice went up and they understood, they started annoying us again. These days passed until we reached to the mourning month of Moharam. We liked rowzeh or commemorating for the martyrs of Karbala. We missed mourning for the chief of martyrs Imam Hossain (PBUH). We offered the guys to gather and wish despite the tortures. We said oh chief of the martyrs, you Moharam has started. We like to say Ya Hossain (oh Hossain), but cannot do in front of them. Please you yourself provide the grounds for this. The city's power was cut off. They brought the electric motors in front of the basement so that their sound and smoke would annoy us; its torture was for us and its light for them. First, a few guys protested. We said comrades! This electric motor makes noise and they do not hear our voice and can say a few ya hossains. We started reciting Tavasol supplication at that night. Of course the smoke annoyed us. We said Ya Hossain and recited Tavasol Supplication the entire thirty days of Moharam.”

He added, “The month of Safar arrived. One of the friends said, “Do you remember what the first thing offered to us in a rowzeh was? I like to drink tea”. I said, “Have you missed rowzeh or the tea of rowzeh?” He started crying. I said, “Have you missed the tea of rowzeh? You do not have water to drink, then how you like to drink tea?”  That night, in the middle of Tavasol supplication, we said oh chief of the martyrs we miss the tea of rowzeh. We need it because it has the names of Hossein (PBUH) and Fatemeh Zahra (SA). Every night, two of us were taken to wash the clothes or cleaning the place where they were living. It was my turn at that night. We heard the sound of the door’s chain. It was a very bad chain dragged on the door. I went behind the door. I saw a kettle in the hands of the guard. I said my God I have not water here for washing the kettle! I was fluent in Arabic, but nobody knew until ten day before our freedom. He said in Arabic “Take it.” As soon as I came to hold it, he said, “It’s hot.”  I gulped. I both had understood and did not want to understand. He closed the door. I did not know what to tell the guys. They called me Abu Zaynab. They said, “What is in your hand?” I said, “What did you want? Didn’t you want tea tonight?” We took the kettle’s cap out. Everybody wept for half an hour. Was it possible in that situation where there were no food and water, they had pity on us and took tea? This tea had in fact been handed over to us by the Imam.”

Bidaghi defined his last memory as follows, “The birth anniversary of Imam Bagher (PBUH) and Yalda Night had become concurrent. The guys were very upset at that night. Someone said I don’t know how my wife and family are now. Today is Yalda Night. They are grieved. They have no news of us just like us who have no news of the outside. I have two daughters named Zaynab and Zahra. I sought intercession to Hazrat Zahara (SA) and said, “My lady you have Zaynab. I have Zaynab too. Oh chief of the martyrs! The name of your mother is Zahra and I named my daughter Zahra since I love you very much.” I forgot that I should not tell such things and must console my friends. I said, “I miss my family. Do me a favor tonight. We have been stuck here.” I testify God, when the Tavasol supplication was finished. I heard the door sound. I went behind the door. I was given a black bag. We were 12 there. There were 12 tangerines in the bag. It was God’s will.”        

The special program of Evening of Memory on the occasion of Ten-Day Dawn organized by the Art Center of Isfahan Province and Fanoos Cultural Group was held in Isfahan’s Basij Martyrs Hall on Wednesday 11th Bahman 1396 (January 31, 2018)

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