News of the Month; July 2018

Narration of life through oral history

Maryam Assadi Jafari
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


According to the website of Iranian Oral History, “News of the Month” is a title of a series of reports in this site. The reports take a look at the news related to the site’s subject in written and cyber media. What follows is the news of Tir 1397 in the Iranian solar calendar (June 22 to July 22, 2018). In this month, the oral history works were welcomed so warmly that the media resorted to produce news, reports and interviews about the books.

*Concurrent with the fortieth day of the passing away of Hijat al-Islam Seyed Mehdi Tabatabaee, part of his memoirs was released for the first time.

*Part of the memoirs two persons form the town of Ilam who took part in Karbala 1 Operation covertly was released. 

*The best-selling books of the first season of the year were introduced in a report in which memory books such as “Memories of Ambassador”, “Daughter of Sheena”, “When the Moon Was Lost”, “Those 23 Persons”, “The Foot that Left Behind”, “Abbas Tala”, “My Daughter Nahid”, “The Soldier of Cloudy Years”, “A Girl beside River” and “The Children of Mamad Gereh” are seen among them.

*The second edition of the book “Pearl of Thinking; An Oral History Interview with Esmaeel Sa’adat” was released by the Publications of the National Library and Archives of Islamic Republic of Iran.

*The two-volume collection of memories of Mohammad Jafar Yahaghi titled “Those Years” was republished for the second time by Moeen Publications. The first volume is about the memoirs of childhood and adolescence printed under the subtitle “Memoirs of Childhood and Adolescence” and the second one is related to the events of the student period and the young age of Yahaghi, published under the subtitle "Young Memories and Student Years".  

*The Oral History of Golestan Palace is currently under compilation by the Research Office of Goletan Global Palace while so far eight veterans of the complex have narrated their observations.

*Akbar Sheikh, the Head of the National Library and Archives in Northeastern Iran referred to the two-year activities of the center in the area of oral history and said, “This does not mean synchronizing with other institutions active in the field. At the National Library and Archives of Islamic Republic of Iran, we have an independent oral history expert who is responsible for collecting memories and interviewing elders in the area of holy Mashhad. So far, about 2,500 minutes of interviews have been collected and 600 to 700 minutes have been transcribed.

*Yadollah Izadi, the Head of the Oral History Department of the Center for Sacred Defense Documents and Research referred to the new projects of Oral History of War Commanders in the center and said, “At present, several new projects have started among which it can be referred to the narration of Brigadier General Zohdi, the person in charge if the artillery and the narration of weapons in the war from the language of Brigadier General Asakereh.

*Abbas Mirzaee, writer has informed that five volumes of the memories of Major General Qassem Suleimani has been prepared, adding, “Seven volumes out of this 16-volume collection have so far been released and three other volumes is on the verge of publication. The remaining volumes are under writing and we are trying to complete their writing until the end of the current Iranian year.”

*The electronic Sooreh Mehr Publications had produced and published the collection of “Sea Stories” in the form of e-book for the age group of adolescents. It includes the memoirs of a number of Iranian Navy commanders. 

*So far, 80 thousand copies of the book “Memories of Ambassador” which is one of the bestselling books of Sooreh Mehr Publications have been sold.

*The book “The Camp of Kids” which includes the memoirs of Ahmad Yusefzadeh from the captivity period in the prisons of Saddam’s regime has been republished for the second time by Sooreh Mehr Publications.

*The book “Daughter of Sheena” which includes the memoirs of Qadam Kheir Mohammadi Kana’an from her common life with her martyred husband Haj Sattar Ebrahimi Hozhabr  is still being welcomed by the people in a way that these days, it has been republished for the eighty eighth time by Sooreh Mehr Publications.

*The memory books of “Daa”, “Nooreddin, the Boy of Iran”, and “Eleventh Golestan” have been translated into Arabic by the Lebanese Al Ma’aref Association and distributed in the country.

*The documentary series “Oral History of War” which includes interview with the war veterans was produced. It has been written and directed by Mohammad Hemmat Pour. The teaser of the first part of the documentary was released.

*A special workshop for the librarians and members of the public libraries of Rasht was held in Rasht’s Imam Reza Public Library attended by Morteza Sarhangi. In this program, Sarhangi said, “The memories of the soldiers are the closest narration to war. After the end of the war and when the war-stricken cities are rebuilt and the people return to normal life, the soldiers as the main witnesses start writing their memoirs in the fronts.

*The book “Aziz Kardeh” or beloved which includes the documented memories of martyr Brigadier General Haj Hasan Tajook written by Marzieh Nazarloo was unveiled on 24th of June 2018.

*The closing ceremony of the Second Congress of the Poetry Book of the Sacred Defense was held in Tehran’s Garden Book (Bagh Ketab) on 26th of July. The poets taking part in this congress sang poems based on the memory books “Daughter of Sheena”, “The Eleventh Golestan”, and “The Secret of Pine Tree”.

*The two-volume book “Ethics and Struggle” covering the memories of the late Hojjat al-Islam Seyed Mehdi Tabatabaee was unveiled in a ceremony in Hosseinieh Jamaran on 27th of June.

*The 292nd show of Memory Night was held in Sooreh Hall of the Art Centre on 28th of June. In this ceremony, “Abdollah Nouri Pour”, “Maryam Kazem Zadeh” and “Mehdi Zomorodian” narrated their memories of the imposed war.

*The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance held a meeting with the writers working in the area of the Sacred Defense on 29th of June with the aim of compiling the oral history of the war veterans. The House of Culture and Resistance participate in this meeting actively.  

*The unveiling ceremony for the documentary “Peshmargs” or myrmidons directed by Mujtaba Hessari and produced by the Oral History Department of the Office of the Studies of Cultural Front of Islamic Revolution was held in Mehr News Agency on 1st of July.

*The first meeting of the organizations of Shahed and Isargar (war martyrs and veterans) was held on the 2nd of July on the sidelines the 23rd Conference of Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the review session of the conferences held in the Netherlands. In this meeting, subjects such as the holding of an exhibition by the Shahed and Isargar organizations, presentation of the oral history of Janbazan (the victims of Iraq’s chemical weapon attacks) and playing a film on the chemical bombardment of the town of Sardasht were discussed and studied.

*The second meeting between former heads and secretary generals of the National Olympic Committee of Islamic Republic of Iran with the current sport authorities of the country was held on 4th of July. In this conference, about the activities carried out in the National Olympic Committee, it was said that the foundation of the Iranian National Sports Museum and the launching of the Oral History Project of Iranian Sports have been put on the agenda in order to take an effective step in this section which has been neglected.

*The program "Visiting in Radio" hosted Ghoalmali Amir Nowroozi, a veteran radio announcer on 6th of July. The radio veterans retell their memoirs of the radio and the past in this program.   

*The meeting of the heads of the Center for Sacred Defense Documents and Research was held on 7th of July attended by Brigadier General Bahman Kargar, the Head of the Foundation for Preservation and Dissemination of the Scared Defense Values. Brigadier General Ali Mohammad Naeeni, the Head of the Center for Sacred Defense Documents and Research in the meeting referred to registration of oral history of the war commanders in the center and said, "We intend to compile and publish some 200 volumes of oral history books in a 4-year program."

*The meeting "Necessity of Transferring Experiences of War Correspondents" was held on 7th of July in Isna New Agency attended by a number of veteran correspondents during the Scared Defense. It also revolved around commemoration of the late Asadollah Mashayekhi. It was said in the meeting that the oral history of the Mashayekhis should be collected, because the Sacred Defense journalists are the ones who are after the promotion of the country's culture. Thus, they announced readiness to take up the responsibility of collecting the experiences and memories of the journalists, photographers and reporters of the scared Defense period.

*The meeting of the specialized working groups of the fortieth anniversary of the victory of the Islamic revolution was held on 7th of July attended by Ayatollah Jannati and the representatives of the institutions and organizations. The representative of the Islamic Azad University said in the meeting, "We will follow up the International Conference of the Islamic Revolution. Activities have been carried out at the level of oral history and scientific articles. The conference will be held from 29th to 31st of January 2019.

*Niknam Hosseini Pour, the Managing Director of the Institute of House of Book referred to the holding of the meetings of the oral history of publication in the institute and said, "The oral history meetings were only dedicated to publishers. In the new term, we try to focus on other publishing circles, including designers, translators, and editors".   

*The books "Memories of Ankara", and "Foreign Investment in the Light of Diplomacy" authored by Bahamn Hossein Pour was unveiled in Saray-e Ahl-e Qalam or the house of people of pen on 11th of July.  

*The second oral history workshops organized by the Office of Studies of the Cultural front of the Islamic Revolution were held on 12th and 13th of July.

*A meeting for reviewing methods of memory telling about the Sacred Defense in the armed forces was held in the National Defense University attended by Major general Rahim Safavi, a number of the war commanders and the authorities in the centers of preservation and dissemination of works of Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), the Army, Jihad, the Disciplinary Forces of Islamic Republic of Iran and the Center for the Scared Defense Documents and Research and Board of War Education of the Army.   

*The unveiling ceremony for the book "Red Squares" which includes the oral memories of Haj Hossein Yekta form the Sacred Defense period was held in the Sarcheshmeh Cultural Center on 13th of July.

*The Mehr Hall of the Art Center on 14th of July hosted a ceremony for unveiling the book "Neighbor of Cedar and Fellow-Traveler of River" which includes the memories of Dr. Mohammad Reza Sangari.

*A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 14th of July between the National Library and Archives of Islamic Republic of Iran and the Children's View Foundation revolving around "The Oral History Project of One Hundred Years of Children and Adolescence Theatre". 

*Davoud Kianian, the Head of the Children's View Foundation spoke of the publication of the plays of founder of the children and adolescence theatre and compilation of the oral history of a century of children and adolescence theater in Iran. 

*The first oral history meeting of Admiral Abbas Mohtaj was held in the Center for Sacred Defense Documents and Research on 15th of July. Admiral Mohtaj, the Commander of Karbala Headquarters in Valfajr 8 Operation has also other responsibilities in his record such as the commander of IRGC in the first, fifth and seventh areas of the country. The results of interview with Admiral Mohtaj will be published in the book "Oral History of Commanders".

*A meeting for reviewing and criticizing the book "From Abadan to Halabcheh; Oral History of Brigadier General Mohammad Javad Eslami" was held in the Commanders Hall of the Islamic Revolution Museum on 17th of July.

*The unveiling ceremony for the book "Your Name is Mustafa" which includes the biography of martyr Mustafa Sadr Zadeh as narrated by her wife was held in Kowsar High School of Islamic Sciences and Education.

*An interview with Mohsen Shirmohammad, the writer of the book "Eagle's Eyes" was released. It is a narration about the 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Battalion of the Air Force and the operation of air photography in the imposed war.

*A number of the activists, scholars and interested people in the country's railway industry have started a series of studies entitled "Oral History of Iranian Railway: Ups and Downs". The studies have been designed and executed revolving merely around the research and development of the media support group of Tinn News. The interview with Parviz Alivand, the former Head of the Guild Association of the Railway Transportation Companies is among such activities. 

*Dariush Shahbazi has researched about the history, culture, geography and customs and everything related to Tehran since 1988 and the result of these years have been turned into a comprehensive collection with some 20 volumes.

*In a report, the books about Mujahdein Khalq Organization (Monafeghin or hypocrites) were introduced. Most of them have been published in the form of oral history. Also in another report, the book released about the Monafeghin were reviewed.

*The situation of collection of the war memories was dealt with in a program entitled "High Production should be Accompanied with Good Content" and based on a meeting with Hojjat al-Eslam Saeed Fakhr Zadeh.

*The book "A Woman from Egypt" which includes memories of Jahan Sadat, the wife of Mohammad Anvar Sadat was released. It has been translated by Maryam Bayat

* The biography of Lieutenant General Valiollah Qarani, titled "Marzban" or border guard, was published by the Cultural and Artistic Institute of the Islamic Revolutionary Document Center. This book has been published in the form of "Facts about the Islamic Revolution for the Youth" in part of which interviews and conversations with some of Martyr Qarani's friends and relatives have been published.

*The book "The Battle for Sarajevo" was published by the Shahid Kazemi Publications. It covers the memories of Karim Lucharevic the Commander of Sarajevo Police from the first year of the city's siege in the Balkan war.

*The Head of Hadis-e Qalam Publications has learnt of the publication of the book "He Was Not Only an Ambassador" which includes the memories of Fada Hossein Maleki, the Iranian Ambassador in Afghanistan and added, "The book in general is a response to the claims of Robert Michael Gates, former US Secretary of Defense."

*"Nightmare in Awakening", a documented narration from the bloody hajj rituals in 1987 relying on documents and memories of eyewitnesses has been compiled by Javad Moogooee and Hanieh Sadat Hosseini Zadeh and published by Shahid Kazemi Publications.  

*The book "A Review of the Perspectives of Planning for Development in Iran" compiled and authored by Sahar Shaqaqi was released. It is a collection of interviews conducted by the author since 2005 the subject of which has some points in terms of oral history.

*On the occasion of the seventh anniversary of the passing away of Mehdi Parviz, Afshin Alaa, the poet released a memory about him.         

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