About a book that was published after 18 years

Secrets added to "Bamo"

Shima Doniadar Rostami
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


Note: The book "Bamo" - The four hundred forty third book published in the Office of Literature and the Art of Resistance – has memories of the identification forces of Qasarshirin and Dasht Zahab during sacred defense years written by Asghar Kazemi. The book, which has been published by Sura Mehr Publication after 18 years, includes details of the identification of the border regions of Iran and Iraq, narrated by 10 commanders and warriors in 5 chapters. About the second edition of this book, which has 648 pages, the Iranian Oral History's correspondent has had a conversation with Asghar Kazemi.


Why did you decide to write the book "Bamo?

During the war, I was a regular soldier, and I had no knowledge of war plan and operational strategy. I thought that since Iraq is on the west side of Iran, we are always on the way to the west, but when I began to writing in this area, I realized that we should go ahead according to some strategies and identification forces knew these strategies.

Before I wrote "Bamo", I worked on another piece of paper titled "Khorramshahr in Iraqi Army documents" on the field of operational information. In this book, I categorized the documents that remained in the bulwarks of Iraqi Army in Khorramshahr. This book is about how Khorramshahr was occupied and destructed and despoiled. It was the first time I became acquainted with operational information, and then I began to write about "Bemo".


The cover design is the first change that appears in the second edition of this book. What does the cover design say to readers?

The content of "Bamo" book are related to the areas of Qasr-e-Shirin and Dasht Zahab, which are two of ancient regions of Iran, and its history is related to Mesopotamia. In this book, we wanted to say that the eight-year war chain come from the old wars of Iran. Iran has special geographic region. Iran surrounded by Caspian Sea, Alborz Mountains, Persian Gulf and Zagros Mountains. On the other hand, relations between Asia and Europe were always carried out from Iran. Therefore, Zagros have been a passage to enter into this country. The main gate of Zagros was the current route of Tehran, Hamedan, Kermanshah, Ghasr Shirin and Baghdad, which connected the two sides of Zagros. The reason for placing the Bistoon ancient inscription on this route is that when this route was discovered during the Achaemenids, great victories were made for them and they managed to conquer Egypt and Greece, and even Alexander could conquer Iranian plateau through this route. On the one side of it, there is Caspian Sea and Alborz Mountains, and on the other side there is Persian Gulf and Zagros Mountains. On the other hand, relations between Asia and Europe were being always carried out from Iran. Therefore, Zagros Mountains have been a passage to enter this country. The main gate of Zagros was the current way of Tehran, Hamedan, Kermanshah, Ghasr Shirin and Baghdad, which connected the two sides of Zagros. The reason for placing the inscription on this route is that when this path was discovered during the Achaemenids, great victories were made for the Achaemenids, and they managed to conquer Egypt and Greece, and even Alexander could conquer the Iranian plateau. On the other hand, the Mongols came along with numerous and various campaigns over the years in this military road. The Zagros Gate or strait Patagh has been the main military passageway over the years. The eight-year battle link can be seen from this perspective. The earliest inscription that its picture is shown on the cover of book illustrates the battle between the tribes of Mount and desert five thousand years ago, and this is perhaps the oldest war recorded in history.

The war that we had against Iraq has a long history, and we must always use the operational information from the historical experience of past wars and consider the past experiences in this regard. In the pages of introduction of this book, I also paid attention to the past wars, and after about 30 pages, the fate of Qasr-e-Shirin and Sar-e pol Zahab was narrated in the eight-year war.


What is the role of interview in this book?

When I started to write this book in the 70s, I went with a voice recorder to visit some persons who did operational information. After recording these memories, I transcript them and then I started collecting a piece of memories to connect this puzzles. These interviews lasted more than 6 years (1379/1373). Given that the operational information warriors used certain maps, I felt that this book needed a map. In fact, the camera, compass and map were its main weapon. They were highly involved in monitoring the enemy's bulwark and lines and bringing this information onto the map. So I tried to provide a map for book. I made maps for defense lines of own forces and enemy, the methods of identification and operations. It lasted about one year.

In this book, narrators such as Martyr Sayyad Shirazi has been talked for. About 9 months before the martyrdom of Sayyad Shirazi, I spoke with him about the operation Valfajr 1, identifying "Bamo" and operation Valfajr 4, which included memories from 1983.

Another eminent martyr is Martyr Hojatollah Ma'arfvand. He was one of the identification forces who had a great deal of companionship with narrators and played a significant role in these identifications. He was martyred in 1394 due to the severity of chemical injury. The latest photo of book is also illustrated by the image of this martyr.

I tried to use the three groups of narrators (i.e. the army, the Islamic Republic Guards, and the volunteer soldiers) in the compilation. The most memories are related to a volunteer soldier called Ahmad Stadbagher. He entered into the war a voluntarily.


What problems were in recording these memories?

One of my problems in interviewing was that the intelligence forces did not give me much information due to their specific characteristics and their behavior. I often reminded them during the interview that the war was now over, we were in the 70's and this information should not be hidden. This work was carried out with great patience and we were able to bring all of this memories in details. I remember that I wanted to do an interview with one of the identification groups mentioned in the book but not as narrators, but he was not happy with the interview, and inevitably, we do interview with his subordinated group who were in the same identification team. They gave me the same memories.

On the other hand, the main task of writing this book is to do interview. To do each interview, I studied a lot of books around it to get the geography of that area. I should know the insider and outsider situations. The atmosphere of the beginning of war, the end of war and after war are different. If the interviewer does not understand these atmosphere, he cannot have a comprehensive interview. I was familiar with that atmosphere because I was at the front in the last years of war. It may take 10 years to know the conditions of war two years before my presence (1983). This work was hard and need to study. I studied very old books about Bamo, so that I could get a complete understanding of the atmosphere of interviews. The most important point in oral history is to do the interview with study.


How did you access these maps and how did you read the map?

By the letters we wrote in 1990's, we prepared the row maps from geographic organization of army. Because these maps were military and could have been ambiguous for the addresses, we removed a lot of specialized issues and simplified maps.

On the other hand, we examined the maps by the help of narrators and they plotted and then adjusted the route that had gone into the enemy's heart. Ultimately, the work of compiling and inserting maps between texts was done. I fitted these maps according to the process of the book in each chapter.

Reader will see a map in every 60 or 70 pages that can seriously help him/her to understand the specific military situation and the specific geographic location outlined in the book. The geographic locations of insider forces and the enemy are specified well on the map.


What changes have been made to the  book of Bamo after 18 years?

In the meantime, we became more aware of the events. Although I spent a lot of time on this book, the coloring of maps were not carried out carefully, which was corrected in the reprint of it. We also added the number of military documents at the end of the book. Because the operational intelligence documents were at that time confidential and extra-confidential. The operations forces had a few notes, and we were able to get these notes through different ways. We discovered, reviewed, and documented the confidential archives that were there.


Second supplementary book was also published for second edition?

The supplementary interview was not necessary. The volume of first print was sufficient. Even with the size of the letters in the book, the number of pages diminished. Written documents added. The last words of the narrators, which were handwritten and signed, were added at the end of the book. Most of the second printing changes are related to written documents and the coloring of the book’s maps. The documents that were confidential at that time are given in this book and they are very important. Many attempts have been made to find the report cards of that time, which make the book richer in terms of written documentation. In addition, in the form of documentation, we took from narrator the section "last word". This section is in fact a narrator's confirmation of his memories in the book. This work was done to resolve any doubt and confirm that there were no errors in the transcription of interviews; the words are same terms have been transcribed. In fact, the record (last word and the confirmation) is equalized to the document (the narration of narrator) to show similarity between speech and text.

The "Operation Bamo" is mentioned as an undone operation. What do you think about the necessity of writing about the undone operations of war and the unfulfilled work of that time? These are, in fact, the unseen parts of war, and we must have all these parts in order to be able to see the full image of the war. Everyone knows Shalamche, Khorramshahr and etc., but nobody do not know Bamo, a mountain with two thousand meters has many untold tales. In addition to the fact that this mountain and its geography are amazing, the attempts of operational intelligence forces around the mountain was amazing too. This mountain was a strong castle of enemy and if we were able to capture this mountain, we would take the Zahab plain and it was good path to Baghdad. But for some reasons that are still hidden, this operation was not carried out. It is still possible to ask the commanders why the operation was not done, although ammunition was transferred to Darbandi Khan Dam, was not done at the end. The operation was cut at the top situation, and this puzzle has not yet been decoded. There were many operations in the war where the initial work was carried out, but did not come to an end. There is an adventure and mystery in undone operations, and that is part of the history of war that must be considered.


Do you think this puzzle will be decoded one day?

Another project entitled "Bamo 2" could be planed, and the commanders' words should be given for reasons of non-performance of operation and in the Darbandi Khan Dam. The book" Bamo" mentioned the rank of identification force and can also be talked about the commanders of military stations in "Bamo 2".

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