About the book "Passing Storm of Incidents"

Army commander narrates war and captivity

Maryam Assadi Jafari
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


The book "Passing Storm of Incidents" includes the biography and memoirs of Second Brigadier General Hossain Yasini (known as Yassin Sajan) has been jointly written by Reza Jahan Far and Fahimeh Karami and published by Atashbar Publications (The Organization for Preservation of Works and Publications of Values of Sacred Defense in the Islamic Republic of Iran's Army) in 2017. Second Brigadier General Hossain Yasini is a disabled freed POW.

In the book's introduction, it has been written that in order to better understand the narrator, methods of "cross walking", "observation", "interviewing" and "group discussion" are used, and hence, it is considered among oral history books.

Precise studies to rationalize narrations, as well as adequate footnotes to define military terms, have been used well in this work, but on the other hand, the entries included for better rationalization of parts of the book has prolonged the word and presentation of too much information has removed the work from oral history area.

This point is seen in the beginning of the book and introduction of the narrator's birthplace, Second Brigadier General Hossain Yasini, in a way that the first 16 pages of the book has been allocated to introduce the place geographically and culturally. Also the peak of the book namely the story of the narrator's captivity, with too much attention to the details has fallen from fervor. Presenting informed information from written sources in the text of the book places it in the form of research works, while the audience of the memoirs likes to reach and read the life events as soon as possible. Preserving the beat of narration is effective in increasing its attractiveness. 

"Passing Storm of Incidents" gets back to its routine again from the fortieth page and we witness attractive memoirs, observations and experiences from the narrator. Interesting memories from the difficult childhood period of Second Brigadier General Hossain Yasini and his growing-up in Chirsar village - located along Tonekabon-Ramsar coastal road – has been expressed, "It was the last days of the year 1354 solar hijri (March 1976) and I was in the tenth grade of high school. Traditionally, most people in northern Iran provide rice and fish for Nowrooz (the Iranian New Year) and this does not know rich or poor … sine the sea was stormy, the price of fish had been doubled and we could not afford to pay for it… I put on my raincoat and started walking in the beach… as a black object was approaching, I found out that It was a black heron. As the heron was moving toward the beach, I saw that she had something in the mouth… The heron had hunted a fish that could not swallow it. By hugging the heron and separating the fish from its throat, I threw the fish into the beach while still struggling … I could feel very well her heart which was beating very fast. By pouring water on her head and body, the lucky bird was recovered again and then I left her... With the fish that God had sent to us, I went to the house…."  

Brigadier General Hossain Yasini’s being hometown with Hossain Khal’atbari and Ali Akbar Qorban Shiroudi – the pilots who were martyred during the Scared Defense years – has been effective indirectly in shaping motivation in the narrator to join the military and eventually the 88 Armored Division.

Hossain Yasini’s memoirs of Operation Karbala 6 is in fact the beginning of memoirs related to the Iraqi imposed war against Iran and the time sequence of the operations in expressing the narrator’s memoirs has not been observed. On the other hand, the distinction of the book’s atmosphere with other similar works is specified in this chapter. The narrator’s frankness and the writer’s honesty in expressing the conditions of the army commandership during the sacred defense is seen in just a few books related to the role of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Army and this feature is admirable.

Page 169 of the book explains about the chemical bombardment of the 88 Armored Division, “In the division’s headquarters, the martyrdom of Colonel Vafaee Sa’di who had already spent 29 and a half years of his service ... and nearly 200 soldiers who were checking accounts and receiving their end-of-service cards was a bitter event… thinking that the enemy had attacked with missiles and rockets, they had to a shelter, but suddenly chemical bombs from nervous and mustard type landed on their heads. Many employees who were working behind their desks had become like a dried statue and once again, the depth of Saddam’s crimes was shown to everyone…when the enemy was informed of the evacuation of the wounded to a field hospital, it targeted the hospital…”

After the ceasefire and acceptance of the UN Resolution 598 on 17th of July 1988, Hossain Yasini was taken as captive by the Iraqi forces. In page 322, the writer explains about his captivity, “The minibus driver was an Iraqi serviceman with a big moustache. All including other captives who had been captured from other directions were picked up the vehicle… a tank was moving in front of us on the way down the road … the tone of the minibus driver and the tank’s crew were not so friendly. The two drivers’ pertinacity started … the best grounds had been prepared for escape. I got off the minibus quickly, and started running … after some slaps in my face, they tied my hands with wire tightly and emptied their anger by beating me. This time, they tied my eyes with a dirty handkerchief. They continuously yelled at and insulted me. The minibus driver told the tank driver, “You closed my way and saw that the captive was escaping!”   

The narrator was sent to Ba’quba concentration camp and then to al-Rashid Prison and finally to 19 Tikrit Camp. Yasini has experienced bitter days which the brutality of forces of Iraqi Ba’th Party is depicted in the chapter related to captivity period through expressing bitter and shocking memoirs, “I never forget the martyrdom of a lieutenant who had been injured in the throat and face by the enemy … blood and infection had covered his whole face. I urged the Iraqi guard so much to let him transfer to the hospital but to no avail …the failure of Iraqi prison guards in transferring the wounded lieutenant to the hospital led to his martyrdom in the noon of Ashura … then we urged the Iraqis to at least take the body to the morgue but they did not accept…”

The captivity period of Second Brigadier General Hossain Yasini lasted 27 months and some paged of the book has allocated to the breathtaking moments of his return to Iran and visiting his family. The final part of the book “Passing Storm of Incidents” deals with his presence in different categories of the army like the commandership of the 58 Division of Zulfaqar and letters to his wife has been published in the book’s attachment.

One of the weak points seen in this work is the inappropriate and out-of-standard paging and font. Sometimes due to this weak point, this book and books like this despite their strong content are failed in the initial stages of judgment in the Scared Defense festivals. “Passing Storm of Incidents” is no exception of this rule, and we hope that the issue will be taken into consideration by the publishers, so that writers' efforts will be adequately seen in the literary and scientific meetings.

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