“Well Done, Sheikh Hasan!” different from other memory books

M. A. Fatemi
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


Iranian Oral History website – The book “Well Done, Sheikh Hasan!” which has been produced in the Office of Resistance Culture and Studies of the Art Center in Qom Province was released by Sooreh Mehr Publications in 2018.

The book has 12 chapters: From birth to presence in the front, Operation Valfajr 3, In regret for the operation, Operation Valfajr 8, Mehran’s counter attack, Operation Karbala 4, Operation Karbala 5, Operation Nasr 8, Operation Beit-al-Moqadas 2, Operation Beit-al-Moqadas 3, Operation Beit-al-Moqadas 6, and Operation Mersad. There is a preface in the beginning of the book and then the photos, index and a detailed list.

If you go to the final part of the book before reading it, you may study it in another way, because you have in mind an image of the narrator and have obtained the photos; you have taken a look at the names brought in the book in the index and if a name is familiar for you or follow it, you will surely look for it in studying the text; the detailed list is in fact the complete list of the book with all subtitles in addition to the main titles of the chapters; this is motivating and a kind of another index for the book; it means that it guides the reader toward the pieces which he or she likes to read. This part also applies after reading the book; it means that when you want to refer to a point that you have read and probably have not written where it has been, but it is in your memory, the detailed list with its details guides you.

Here, the reader of the text may say to himself or herself: it has not still said what the book’s content is, why does it so much emphasize on the margins and attachments? The answer is because in a 466-page book like “Well Done, Sheikh Hasan!” and any other book, such guidelines creates a research dimension, and increases reference to it.

The preface shows that the book is the autobiography of the memoirs of Hasan Yousefian. The brief and useful writing covers important points, “The writer of these lines writes for many years about the religion – and in particular in the field of ideological matters; and knows very well that he should change way of writing in memory-writing. It is not impossible, although this is difficult. At any rate, in the beginning, I pay the attention of the readers to mentioning a few points:

1-The main notes of the writing have been provided at a time when the writer was not still so far from the context of the events; even parts of it namely the last two chapters has been in the form of daily memoirs originally. Now, after the passing of some thirty years, an opportunity has been provided for rewriting and publishing the memoirs; while many of the details of the events are also fresh for their author; because the passage of time have faded them and have left nothing but an obscure image.

2- Unlike many common memory-writings, I have divided the book’s chapters into minor titles so that access to its contents becomes easier. The main topic of most of the chapters is one of the operations of the Sacred Defense. However, Of course, the volume devoted to a chapter - and consequently an operation - is proportional to the vagueness or intensity of the presence of the writer, not the small size or the magnitude of that operation.

3- Some of the persons whom I have named or talked about their services in this book have distanced more or less from the ideals of the revolution and the Sacred Defense. At the same time, I have tried to describe them the same as they were, no matter how they are or appear.

4-In some chapters, I have brought a selection of the letters of that period of time without any modification or editing so that the reader can both put himself in the intellectual atmosphere of that period to some extent and take a step in the mental world of the author, and his or her comrades and relatives.

5-Each combatant narrates what he has seen from his own perspective. Thus, perhaps, a memory that for example describes a defeat and retreat is related to an operation which has been very successful in a broader look. Also, the forces affiliated to a special military unit usually see less the activities of other brigades and divisions and ignore their services unintentionally. The issue sometimes leads to emergence of contradictions which surprises the readers. Even I who was aware of the details of our work and other units to a great extent due to my presence in the Intelligence and Operation Unit, sometime, I was surprised how the combatants of a town have registered the seizure of an altitude in their name, while I already thought that the share of other combatants in the conquest of the area has been insignificant. At any rate, the main purpose here is to pay attention to human restrictions not searching for name and address or complaining this or that person. If God forbid, we look for name and popularity in this field, we’d better not to be especially when we consider ourselves as the heirs of the martyrs who looked for popularity in anonymity.

6-The book’s name has been taken from a memory related to the Operation Valfajr 8 the description of which has come in the fourth chapter. There are maybe persons who are against choosing this name and say that the author (although from the language of others) has applauded himself! I suppose that this is correct, the audience of this applause is the Sheikh Hasan of thirty years ago who the current doctor envies his condition. However, it will be revealed that even the teller of “Well done, Sheikh Hasan!” at that time deserves more and more applause than Sheikh Hasan.”

In addition to the index and detailed list which has made the book different from other sacred defense memories, there are also other differences: the range of the memories has been drawn to the footnotes of the text’s pages, namely the narrator has separated some of the explanations that may be kept in the same text of the memoirs in similar books so that the process of memories remain consistent. He has connected such similar explanations but the detailed ones to the attachments that have come at the end of every chapter which are related to the events of that chapter. The commonality of the footnotes and attachments is that they are the same as memories namely they have narrative language and prose. They are also seen in the attachments of the narrator's letter which builds a direct bridge and destination between the text and the time of the events and are effective in an atmosphere made for studying the book.

The introduction is not supposed to take a long time, otherwise, we can write much about the book and the ups and downs of the memoirs, but in addition to the differences mentioned above, I invite you to study the book for one clear reason. The reason is that the narrator has written his memories in their right. He has done everything in the right of his memoirs correctly and sympathetically. He has gone so far as that the flaws do not disturb him after its publication; do not say with himself that if I had time, if it was possible, I would do this and that. Thus, as the book title says, "Well Done, Sheikh Hasan!"                

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