The Second National Conference on Oral History of Holy Defense-7

A New Stage in Oral History

Maryam Rajabi
Translated by Ruhollah Golmoradi


As reported by Iranian Oral History Website, the second national conference on oral history of holy defense was held in Ahle Ghalam Hall of NLAI on March 3, 2019. First to fourth parts of the report included inaugural and beginning lectures of the conference and fifth and sixth parts were reports of one panel of the conference titled "Theoretical Basics and History of Holy Defense's Oral History".

Phenomenological analysis of content of oral history interview
As the panel continued, Hamid Jianpour presented the article by Mohammad Nazarzadeh, Sakineh Yousefi and he entitled "Phenomenological Analysis of Content of Oral History Interview of the War (Case Study 77th Infantry Division of Khurasan)": "Case study here is 77th Infantry Division of Khurasan. The research is about 19 interviews in which concepts of the interview texts have been addressed, using phenomenological method, in categories of ethical values, military strategies, logistic power and propaganda power. We also had a quantitative-descriptive approach, and it helped us to get results of discourse analysis in concepts that the interviewees mentioned. Findings indicate that components of oral history of the 77th Division of Khurasan in the Iraqi imposed war against Iran are epistemological derivatives that derive knowledge from meanings and concepts of self-awareness and recognizing phenomenon arises from contemplative action of warriors. Phenomenological analysis method has somewhat determined us this hypothesis. Phenomenology is philosophical study of structure of mental experience and self-consciousness. Phenomenology deals exclusively with structure and activities of human consciousness, and its main presupposition is that the world in which we live is created in our consciousness and this consciousness is result of our lived experience; therefore, the outside world, while has external existence, to be meaningful through our consciousness. This process appears in various forms, such as remembering, perceiving, understanding and evaluating, and phenomenology in fact makes a bridge of lived phenomenon and what passes through one's cognitive structure of person and what one understands consciously from context of structure of its own lived experience. Hence, there is integration in cognition between structure of lived experience and self-consciousness. This is the most important concept in phenomenological analysis method. In this sense, we are able to reach integration in recognition with what we make an analysis through concepts within expression. Purpose of phenomenology research is explicit explanation and identifying phenomena as perceived by individuals in a particular situation. In fact, phenomenology describes meanings of a concept or phenomenon from view of many people according to their lived experiences in that case; so it seeks to understand common experiences, and this is the meaning of unity in cognition. We have shared experiences from our predecessors that are somehow formed in recognizing our consciousness. So our self-consciousness is influenced by our shared experiences.



As to expressing issue of the war and saying narratives of the war in oral history interviews, phenomenology considers that part of self-consciousness that exists in individuals' lived experience, not in their distant past, and this experience may have similarities among those interviewees who are in one level in terms of occupation, discipline, and rank, in fact there is an explicit and somewhat accurate and clear statement. This is our focus in discourse analysis using phenomenological method. Recording raw historical data, that is what have been done and not done, have passed and not passed, is a level of oral history data that needs to be deepened and analyzed in information with an interpretive and investigative orientation in expression of the officers who narrate and can help successors. These findings are generally based on experience of protagonist officers of Mashhad in 77th Division of Khurasan, which represents a level of awareness and recognition of their lived experience in eight years of the holy defense. Method of this research was that data were entered into Excel and SPSS software respectively; unit of basic information, sub-components and frequency and characteristics of text of interviews are described quantitatively and their data were classified in tables with explaining phrases. Value of content analysis to examine contents within oral history interviews of 77th Division of Khurasan in the Iraq war against Iran, has character of commands and imperativism of answers to find out extent of importance of each component based on valuation of the border unit. Each component has several sub-components, which have been extracted by the concepts within the text. For example, as to component of moral values, practicing religious ceremonies and religious decrees have been extracted through concepts such as prayer, fasting, Quran, mourning, pilgrimage, etc. Before classifying the concepts, we described, categorized and then divided them, and then, with a phenomenological analysis approach, we compiled and gave a written description of essence of experiences that we extracted from the concepts and text of the interviews.
This classification was in this way that we designed an electronic form. In the electronic form, we included the interviewees' features, challenge of interview, topic of interview, place of interview, number of sessions and questions and concepts within content of the components, and we could evaluate qualitatively and describe them. After that, we inserted the data title into excel, and we got descriptive output for frequency and transaction. Most importantly, we should say percentage of frequency and percent of variable; in this research, percentage of variable means that some quantitative data may be lost and not seen in the software. The variable level recognizes the distance between actual data and data we entered, reduces the distance, and regards change, that is it ignores percentage of the variable in length of list data. You see that we used SPSS to get output.

As to item of military strategy, our descriptive data output was that we could recognize the concepts in the components that senior commanders, officers and noncommissioned officers referred to them in the interviews. We have presented them, gotten a quantitative output of them, made table and brought a qualitative-descriptive report in a table. The data in this table ultimately leads us to the conclusion that whether our discourse analysis which is based on phenomenological method from interviewee's self-consciousness about his lived experience of the warfare climate will be complementary? Our assumption was that defense in knowledge of warriors was a religious belief that led to contemplative action. Let's see whether quantitative data will show it to us? We examined four components and finally compared them. Comparing components show that ethical components are ascending; furthermore it indicates that defense begins from belief of warriors and becomes a thoughtful act in their attitude towards the war. This hypothesis needs to be reflected and thought in terms of using quantitative data. In describing quantitative data, we never seek to prove this, and the researcher does not have the right to say that it has been proven, but says it is remarkable and considerable and it is possible to consider the possibility that quantitative data can complete our discourse analysis. The discourse analysis of concepts within the text of the war interviews (Case Study: 77th Division of Khurasan) was that belief of warriors turned into a contemplative action that affects their attitudes and thoughts. The result is that war in realm of the militant thought is rebuilding events that a large part of them are explainable based on components of military knowledge. However, explaining what has happened in the Iraqi imposed war against Iran, in the course of military investigations, has characteristics that represent reality of realm of the war beyond the classical struggle of confrontation of motivation and thought, and in which confrontation of the right and wrong is center of full-scale battle with the invader enemy. Moral transcendence, strategies, logistic power, and ideological attitude in the war are phenomenological components, and content analysis of oral interviews of commanders, officers, and noncommissioned officers is considerable and derived from a kind of contemplative action and from the strong motive of the sacred defense to extruding the invader enemy and to have become phenomenon important."



Final report
After holding panels and in the final part of the 2nd National Conference on Oral History of Holy Defense, Gholamreza Azizi, the scientific secretary of the conference, said: "Let me not summarize in the general sense and only give a report and finally say my own words. If we set aside inaugural lectures, 19 specific articles were presented and this is an auspicious event in oral history of Holy Defense. Iranian Oral History Association has held about 12 sessions so far, and in these 12 meetings, I as a person who was at least half of them either scientific secretary or executive secretary as well as scientific secretary of the first conference of oral history of Holy Defense, I say firmly that it was for the first time that we had three simultaneous panels at a national conference of the holy defense. Time was saved; instead of keeping audiences up to 6 or 7 p.m., we ran the program in three panels at the same time. Eventually, it had some defects, for example, audiences wanted to listen to two presentations that were made simultaneously, and we accepted the objection willingly so that Inshallah full text of the articles will be published promptly with help and support of the Foundation for Preservation of Relics and Publishing Values of Holy Defense and friends at Organization of Sacred Defense Documents and Proofs and will be available to the scientific community of the country.
More than 90% of executive staff of the conference is in Organization of Holy Defense Documents and Proofs, and almost one-third of the faculty members were also from there. These friends provided the conference in three or four months. Some friends and dears who are present at the meeting and I am as their disciple believed that the conference would not be held with such strength. That the friends wanted was a success that acquired to us from the name and memory of the martyrs mentioned in the books, and it was our sponsor and support that such a conference was held today. A process had been foreseen in executive council and I was the most pessimistic person in the council. I felt that we didn't received enough articles that were great and distinguished for presentation, and we had to do something to offer articles. When almost 160 to 170 articles were sent, I was personally surprised. Of these, about 140 articles were accepted in the first arbitration, and the rest, except for three articles, were not related to oral history of the holy defense; otherwise, some of them were really unique and awesome articles, and we asked their authors to send them to other specialized periodicals because it really was a pity not to be published. We sent each article to two persons in order not to disregard someone's right. Our scores range from zero to 100, which should be scored in ten items. If difference between two referees was more than 25, the article was sent to the third referee. 18 articles were sent to third referee because of close scores. Finally, 19 papers were also presented as top papers for lecture.

The positive point of this conference to the first conference is the fact that we were able to do more strong in the way we worked, presented and executed. Another positive point of the conference was the received papers. Researchers had gone ahead of their reports of ongoing projects. They had started theorizing, and that was interesting. In my opinion a new stage in field of oral history of the holy defense is going to be formed. Keep in mind that there are many who believe and I also certainly believe that oral history of Iran was born of Islamic Revolution and born fruit in Holy Defense. The sacred defense phenomenon contributed to fertilization, scientization and development of oral history. In the third stage we are currently in, two new discussions are ongoing; one that oral history data is not seen just as interview, but it is viewed as historical data; the second issue is qualitative research based on conducted and in hand interviews. The hopeful step is this and our information should be more accurate Inshallah. Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei), on March of last year (1396 SH), remarked a point that remained in my mind, and it was that our sacred defense has so many positive and brilliant and memorable points that we no need for exaggerating and unrealistic heroism, even if we narrate the facts that happened in the fronts, not less or more. Hazrat Agha (Supreme Leader) emphasized that we should neither do taciturnity nor exaggeration. If we can do the same, we would have done our task.
After publishing the conference's book you will see that it has much to say. There are nearly 130 papers that we hope bringing them together helps current generation of oral history practitioners and oral history historians, those who work as interviewers and those who are compilers of these works, as well as and most importantly to a generation that is distancing itself from the values ​​of the sacred defense, or some try to show them unrealistic attractions with various tricks. To God, this book helps all of these. I wish we could hold similar conferences for Holy Defense in the future. I attended this year (1397 SH) in refereeing of reference section of Holy Defense books. Unfortunately, ratio of works in generalities section has decreased. It shouldn't happen that organizations that can and must support production of these works, due to that we all know the sacred defense, or we were involved ourselves, or were on the arena, or we know all of them, to stop supporting young writers that in such a case they would lose. I hope that more and more will be support of friends, dears, attendees and those who are not present, especially Sardar (General in IRGC) Kargar, head of the Foundation for Preservation of Relics and Publishing Values of Holy Defense, from publishing projects and holding fruitful scientific conferences."



Digest of the conference articles

In the 2nd National Conference on Oral History of Holy Defense, a book titled "Digest of Articles of National Conference on Oral History of Holy Defense: Tehran, March 3, 2019" was presented to all attendees. This book was published by the Foundation for Preservation of Relics and Publishing Values ​​of Holy Defense, and Gholamreza Alamati and Gholamreza Azizi, the secretaries of the conference, contributed in producing it. This book contains 131 pages and 111 abstracts of papers which were presented to the 2nd National Conference on Oral History of Holy Defense. In this book, after front master, the head, members of policy council and referees of the conference are introduced. In the list, titles of all the conference articles are listed along with their authors' names. Gholamreza Alamati pointed out importance of oral history of Holy Defense in a few paragraphs in the introduction and presented a brief explanation of how the conference was organized and its executive process.
In each page of the book, at first title of article and name of author or authors, and then abstract are mentioned. Abstracts are from two rows to one and half page. Keywords also are at the end of each abstract. In text of back of book, it mentions firstly nature of oral history, and then some words by the Supreme Leader about importance of compiling the sacred defense history.
Looking briefly at the abstract of the research, it can be found that researchers have addressed oral history of the holy defense in new angles and because of precision and meticulous attention have arrived at new points. Studying abstract of the articles collected in this book represents not only scientific value of the presented articles, but also advancement of oral practitioners of our country in subject of oral history of the holy defense.

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