The 303rd Night of Memory

About Memories of Jalal Sharafi

Maryam Rajabi
Translated by Ruhollah Golmoradi

2019-07-10


According to Iranian Oral History Website, the 303rd night of memory of Sacred Defense was held in Sooreh Hall of Hozeh Honari on Thursday, June 26, 2019. In this session, Mahboubeh Azizi, Alireza Mosaferi and Seyyed Jalal Sharafi talked about book of "Dungeon of Mester: Memories of Abduction of Jalal Sharafi, Iranian Diplomat in Baghdad" and its book launch was also held.


A symbol of Iranian identity

Mahboube Azizi, editor of memories of "Dungeons of Mester", was the first narrator of this program of memory night. She said: "A new book has been born that I also have a small share in its birth. Every day, we see many books in the Specialized Library of War in Hozeh Honari, and we review them and read a few. Some of these books are memories. In fact, one format that is archived in the library is the same format of memories. It's better to give some statistics about the library. We have 2509 books memories that are classified into diaries, memoirs, oral memories, captivity memories, and memories of Iraqis. For twelve years I've been working in the Specialist Library of War and I love my work. I know that memories of Mr. Sharafi is of detention or captivity literature type that escaping from captivity is one of subtype of the same literature and is in type of escape. Some of these books are having out on loan and some are less on loan, and some settle back on bookshelves and are immovable. I'm always worried about these books, which are not few too. From the beginning, my concern was whether this book would be welcomed? I thought why some books are being read and some are silent media? And how should books be written, that people, even in the current economic situation, expend and buy them? Now I'm happy to birth a book called "Dungeon of Mester" of which I have also contributed and seat alongside other books. I hope it would be among books that have readers. I have also worked previously editing and I had seen a variety of texts; therefore, I was not strange to writing, and I was less and more aware of its difficulties. But this is my first work in form of a book.

 

 

From the beginning, I was fond of writing style of Mr. Sarhangi. His fluent and readable writings attracted me, but I knew that being fluent and simplicity of appearance was a difficult task, and, according to men of letters, it is easy but difficult. I have followed his writings these years and enjoyed reading them. I would have liked to write in his style if I was supposed to write. One day in Aban of 1396 (SH) (October-November 2017), Mr. Sarhangi suggested this work and provided me with the original text that Mr. Sharafi had reported events to Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I read the text. The subject and topic were attractive and unique to me. So, after a few days and a few consultations, I accepted this. It was like someone who suddenly was left in deep part of a pool in order to learn swimming. I entered world of writing. It was hard but sweet. We made an appointment and a meeting with Mr. Sharafi. My concern was that he might be more comfortable with a male interviewer and could not communicate with me verbally, and it would make the work difficult for me. It was important to cause him to put his trust in me; to understand and believe his personality so I can get more and more detailed information about him; to commit his emotional, behavioral, and belief angles to paper. Now this text reflects troubles that have come upon him. I suggest reading this book. It is readable not in terms of that I was involved in it, but because story that has happened for him is rare and readable. However, Mr. Sharafi came and we got acquainted. There were concerns in one to two first sessions, but they gradually disappeared. He said he was abducted by Iraqi terrorists in Baghdad on January/February 2007, and after ten days of displacement and torture, was sold to American terrorists. Americans prisoned Mr. Sharafi for 47 days in a dungeon around Baghdad's palm trees and tortured him to acquire some information on an armed group. Some points that Americans would like to be told by Mr. Sharafi falsely and they broadcast in their own media.

Some days I thought of engineering and how to edit text. According to consultation with Mr. Sarhangi, we decided to do work on a daily basis, and start with the first day of the dungeon. We shared this with Mr. Sharafi and he also accepted. I started interviewing about abduction and proceeded day by day. During this time, Mr. Sarhangi also accompanied me like a sympathetic   teacher and I used and learned from his guidance. If there wasn't his sympathy for this work, I couldn't wright easily and I did not get familiar with writing in this way. Once I'll tell you its details. With Mr. Sharafi, we focused on each interview meeting on a special day to tell what he remembered and what he tried to recall. I raised my questions in person and sometimes on the phone to make the narrative more documentary. Mr. Sharafi also fairly cooperated and answered well. Given that I knew he was tormented due to concentrating on the days of captivity, but there was no other option. While I read somewhere that telling memory and turning it into a book lifts psychological burden of hardships of the event from the narrator shoulder or reduced it, sometimes the pressure on him was also transferred to me, because I heard from Mr. Sharafi immediately and verbally and I had believed him. I also suffered from hearing memories. He was patiently and enthusiastically cooperated me in precision and order, and he should be thanked in this respect. After completing each interview, I did implementation and typing. After completing the initial interviews, I started working on editing the text. Every day after end of working time, I worked between 16:30 and 19:30. I started from the first day of the dungeon. Step by step, I realized memories which were written in our office, the Office of Literature and Art of Resistance, how became famous, what steps they passed and how they bore fruit. I aligned the days one by one and carefully. Some days were advanced well, but sometimes writing one day would take a week. In the end, I also made appointment for additional interviews to fill in empty spaces. Altogether, we had eleven two-hour sessions and two three-hour supplementary sessions interview with Mr. Sharafi.

Choosing, selecting, aligning rationally and correctly words, sentences, dialogues and monologues together was not easy. I saw with my own eyes that writing simple and fluent text is not easy, and in a sense, it is sweating of the soul. After finishing editing, I sent the text to several experts. They studied and commented that some of those comments were applied. I thank all those loved ones here. My family members were the first one that after each interview I narrated what happened in that day. They were in fact the first audience of my book that, like me, were surprised of hearing and reading what had happened to Mr. Sharafi. This book is a subset of issue of captivity and theme type of escape. Its difference with captivity in war is that the captured state is not cleared. It can be said that it is worse than captivity in the war. Because in memories of prisoners of the war, captives have rights and are protected by international conventions, but in this type of captivity, no right is considered and future of the captive is dark and unknown. In this sense, he is in absolute despair. Main character of this book and in fact its hero is an Iranian and it is a symbol of Iranian culture and identity. In fact, memories are published so that we recognize and learn from heroes of throughout of our land, their lives, their sadness and happiness. This work was important for because it was a symbol of Iranian identity. Mr. Sharafi, because of the culture in which he has grown, his belief and faith, shows a performance that is deserved to be listened and read. This incident has been recorded in mind of Mr. Sharafi and is constantly repeated; he has slightly lightened his mind by committing them to paper. "Dungeon of Mester" is not just a book for me, but a gateway to a new world. The world that allowed me to grow and experience pleasure of discovering life of an Iranian; a window to the world of words and vocabulary, recognizing characters and types, pleasure of seeing and understanding process of birth of a book. I hope reader of the book also has such a sense. Here I thank Mr. Sarhangi, whom I learned from him, Mr. Seyyed Jalal Sharafi, for his kindness and patience, from my family who was my supporter, from Mr. Samadzadeh and the Special Library of War which encouraged me."

Davood Salehi, compere of the night of memory asked Aziz: "Tell about bitter and sweet of these memories; of what annoyed and bothered you in writing this book." Azizi replied: "subject of this book was amazing from the beginning to the end for me; not as author of the book, but as the first listener of Mr. Sharafi's memories. There were also good days in these memories, and the days when I was sorrowful of hearing hardships that Mr. Sharafi had suffered. If I wanted to tell his hard memories, it was times he was tortured by Vasfi. Vasfi was his guard. While he in many times was more lenient than bad-behaved guard, but most of tortures was made by him; tortures that ail human heart when hears them. He beat him with a cable. The days he was inside the dungeon lonely; wounds he had and stood despite the wounds. The good days of these memories were also when Mr. Sharafi remembered his family. Another good day was when they came to prepare him for a conversation. That is, he got out of that samey state. Because it was a difficult situation, the conversation was very wonderful for him."

The compere said: "The incident occurred during 58 days, which you have not deal with ten days in the book and addressed in the midst of the text. In these 48 days, some events are constantly repeated, especially in the first ten to twelve days reader feels this repetition. Every day a person comes and puts a dish food. Jalal Sharafi thinks at things, looks at insects and mice, and this is repeated every day. Dungeon of Mester was a two-meter multiply three-meter dungeon, in a part it was 150cm and in another part 210cm high. In turn, it was like a trapezoid. Did you present the repeating purposely? "Azizi replied:" When they leave a person somewhere and do not have any facilities, some things are being repeated and routine to him. This repetition was painful for Mr. Sharafi, and I considered it is necessary to present these repetitions for the reader in order to understand what had happened to Mr. Sharafi. They told me it might be better not to have these repetitions, but I deliberately brought them so that the reader feels some of those hardships."

 

 

The Good News of Nowruz of 1386 (SH)

The second narrator of the program was the one who was present in most operations of the south and in all operations of the west of the country. Being in unfavorable mood due to being a disabled veteran, he came from Gorgan to the memory night to tell about his old friend Jalal Sharafi. Alireza Mosaferi said: "I am currently representative of Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Gorgan. I was sent to embassy of Baghdad in 2005 as a console of Islamic Republic of Iran and I had the honor to work with my grandee brother Mr. Sharafi. We had a formal relationship in Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but we our relationship became closer in the consulate. We were in different offices in Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Sharafi, was attaché of Iranian embassy, ​​followed mutual relations of Iran and Iraq in political section, and I was in deputy of parliamentary consulate of Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We were very close together there. Because the diplomats' missions were done in the single state there, and due to lack of security our families shouldn't be there. Our life and job were interwoven. I became interested in Mr. Sharafi much because of honesty and dignity I saw in him. More than one year passed since our cooperation. On February 04, 2007, they were doing measures related to opening National Bank. Mr. Sharafi went with Mr. Esmail Mahdavi to monitoring the bank's decoration measures. I was worried when I said goodbye and said to Jalal Sharafi that I have a strange feeling and I'm worry about you. Take care yourself; read three times surah Towhid, "Say, "He is Allah, [who is] One," for yourself and blow toward yourself (a kind of prayer to protect against evil). Mr. Jalal answered: "Wallah-o khayralhafezin (but Allah is the best guardian), don't you worry. When they visited there, Mr. Sharafi had come earlier to get on the car and then they abducted him. Several armed men forced him into the car. One to two of them were captured by Iraq police. We tried very hard and asked Iraq authorities and asked every one and place we knew, and we realized that Takfiri groups that worked under control of Americans had carried out the abduction. We had no news of him. Iraqi officials also said that we had sent signals that we are ready to exchange him, but they have not responded. Anyway, these hard days went too.

There was no time and day that we wouldn't be worry about Mr. Sharafi. Most of the embassy's members were on leave on April 2, 2007. Two to three other persons and I stayed in the embassy. That is of 35 diplomats, only three to four people stayed in the embassy; Shiites who were in contact with the embassy said that Mr. Jalal is with us. Friends immediately went and received Mr. Sharafi since he had been able to escape and go to our Iraqi friends. He himself had realized that if he came back around the embassy again, ​​they would ambush him and it would be possible to abduct him again. We were waiting for him frantically. Mr. Sharafi came and we saw they had manacled him and dressed him a Thawb. We saw that Mr. Sharafi, with his martial records had attenuated and weakened. On the other hand, we were worried about him, and on the other hand, we were frantic with joy. We cut the shackle and chain hardly. At this time, abductor groups, who were American mercenaries, were circulating around the embassy. The embassy guards told us a lot of suspicious cars were passing. In one or two cars, gun had been seen. At the same time, someone called me and I saw it was an Iraqi number. A woman in Persian told me: "Mr. Mosaferi?" I said: "Come on." She said I am reporter of IRIB's Tehran station and she was a friend of Mr. Shemshadi in Baghdad. He asked: "I would like to know what happened to Mr. Sharafi?" We want to tell his free news. I realized that they were surely from Garrison of Ashraf and Monafeqin (hypocrites). It was certain for me. I sussed they knew we were a limited number in the embassy and they were likely to attack any way and take Mr. Sharafi. I said Mr. Sharafi came and dispatched to the border with a special escort. She asked: "Is he on the way right now? I said: No, he is now inside Iran. You can go and visit him when he arrives at the hospital. She said: are you sure? I said: "Madam, since you are Mr. Shemshadi's colleague from IRIB, I tell you this information. I used this trick to prevent a re-attack on the embassy at least the same day.

It was a heavy intelligence failure for Americans that Mr. Sharafi could escape. He skillfully had planned to escape and was able to do this with trust in God. We saw an intense anxiety on Mr. Sharafi's face. Eventually, noon approached at darkness of night, and I saw Mr. Sharafi was still anxious. He said: They come and took me. I said: "do not worry. It is true that our number is low, but there are Iraqi guards too. He had not slept for about 48 hours so that he could escape. Regarding my warrior experience during the holy defense and knowing how to work with a gun and such words, I requested the Iraqi guard to lend his gun to us. I said: I just want to put this in my room so that Mr. Sharafi would be relaxed.  He said which room? I said: his room. That night, we replaced him in two or three rooms, until finally I invited him and he came to my room in that building and closed its door. I kept guard above Mr. Sharafi until morning. He woke up with anxiety many times until the morning and asked what was going on. Did they come? I would say: No, Mr. Jalal. This Uzi is here. Firstly I would die a martyr, and then they would reach you. Finally morning arrived. When I prepared breakfast for Mr. Sharafi, his fingers did not even have the power to tear the bread apart; that is he was so weak. After a brief breakfast, we invited ourselves IRIB and Iraqi authorities, because we knew that since Americans had been defeated hardly, there is a hundred percent probability of re-abducting him. They had lost an attaché of Ministry of Foreign Affairs who had been in their hands for two months. They tried to have a big deal through this diplomat, and since they knew that there were only a few in the embassy, ​​they wanted to recapture him. We took measures and hold a meeting with Mr. Seyyed Hossein Zolanvari. When Iraqi authorities came, I personally asked IRIB's correspondent from the moment we hand him over take film and doesn't stop it so that they give him with an armored car to Mehran border and hand him over. We handed him over to Iraqi security forces safely and after that they were responsible for him. The Iraqis said: Why are you filming? Be relaxed and don't worry. I emphasized that we are taking the film so you know that we have handed him over you safe and healthy. You need to be honest and give him safely and healthily to Iranian forces. In this way, we could send Mr. Sharafi to the border safely. There is a lot of detail that I think it is not needed to be said here."

In response to the program's compere question about that what was importance of Mr. Sharafi, you and other friends who were in the embassy ​​for them, Mosaferi said: "A diplomat is official representative of sender country to receiver country. In particular, attaché is important in political consultations between two countries. Consultation is being held since previous months to conclude a political agreement and protocol between two countries or for visit of ministers from other countries. For a protocol, two sides agree that this is should be eliminated, this one should be and other one not be. Interests of the two countries must be preserved. It must be concluded in some sort that according to Mr. Zarif it should be a win-win game. Well, this diplomat has some valuable information. As well as, he is official representative of that country and they can receive special privileges in lieu of that diplomat. If Mr. Sharafi was not physically powerful, that he was a martial athlete and had many years background, God knows what happened to him and what dangers threatened him. Ultimately, they can evacuate his valuable information and make him disappearance, or if they can force the diplomat to declare seemingly the statements they want in their tribune formally. In the world, they go to the news antennas and say that your diplomat has said this word and now he repudiate it; such abuses are many. We, as Ministry of Foreign Affairs staffs, have been trained in a way that wherever we are missioned we go; sometimes we go to European countries whose security is greater, or countries like Iraq, Yemen and Syria that are in a critical situation. We go to our mission heartily. We are soldiers of this Nezam (government). In the same Iraq, in 2004 or 2005, we had martyrdom of Mr. Khalil Naeemi, a cultural consultant, who died a martyr by terrorists. Frequently they shot our diplomats in the street and our guys had abled to escape. At that time, suicide attack cars were in Iraq that hit themselves to wall of the embassy and caused tremendous explosions. They could crack the wall and attack again.

We spent days that we did not know whether we would be alive until the morning. For example, when Saddam was executed, we were there. Radical Takfiri groups who were fans of Saddam rumored that forces of Quds Force came and forced Iraqis to execute Saddam's death sentence sooner; while this was not the case. Americans carried out the trial and handed him over to the Iraqi, and the Iraqis also said that the sentence should be executed. Twenty-four hours after Saddam's execution, about two thousand Ba'athist forces who were fans of Saddam started demonstration from Haifa's street in Baghdad and said we are going to extirpate and plunder the embassy. If they came at that time, our great body peace was our ear. We told Iraqi forces that it is your responsibility to protect us. Iraqi forces dispersed them with their helicopters. At that time, our consuls in Karbala, Basra, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Najaf had not been established. We issued all visas in Baghdad. We had some days that we gave three thousand visas to Iraqi pilgrims. The consul was always open until 7 p.m. That day it was God's will that we ended our work at 4:5 p.m. At 5 p.m. they fired a Katyusha Rocket and wiped the 400-meter hall of the consul out. Thanks God, hair of nobody head was harmed and nobody nose was blooded because we all had left that place. These dangers always threatened diplomats there and still threaten them."

The compere said, "In a sixty-day period, Mr. Sharafi is lost. Everyone is worried and probably some measures are conducted by our Ministry of Foreign Affairs in our country and in Iraq. Probably his wife is constantly calling. On the very first day, you may a little delay in giving the news. It's also interesting that on the first day you said he is in a meeting and cannot answer. If you have a point on these sixty days, please tell us." Mosaferi said: "After ten days we had to tell a lie to family of Mr. Sharafi that we have received some news and he is good and they only seek to make a deal with us or request some money. I was unaware myself, but I told this to his family. We regularly told Iraqi authorities that that is demonstrated for us he is alive and we have also some news from Iraqi Shiite groups that they saw him alive. We said these words so that they look for him more seriously. They were also really tenacious, but it was certain to us that American agents were at work. We were on leave every 45 days; during these 60 days nobody was on leave for the sake of Mr. Sharafi. We all wanted to get news. On Nowruz Eid night we forced everyone to go on vacation and we told them what your family fault is? We were three to four people and sent others forcedly to go on leave, and Alhamdulillah all of them received good news of Sizdah (thirteenth day of Nowruz, it is nearly like April Fools' Day, but here it is a good news) and Mr. Sharafi came."

Javad Maboudifar, Director General of Protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, continued, "The night that Mr. Sharafi called me and we met each other and gave me this book, I was somewhat aware of his captivity, but not in this extent. When I looked at the cover, I saw his name was on cover of the book. Mr. Sharafi and I were with each other on a mission for about five years. He is as much as humble that I knew little of the story during all the years that we had family relations, and he himself had not talked about it. This book was as much as attractive for me that I started to read it at 10:30 p.m. and finished it at 3:30 a.m. I did not stop a moment reading the book and it was very interesting to me. I also have a girl who is in the same age of daughter her daughter. We - Mr. Sharafi and I - know each other and are friends, and that's why I completely understand the book. On some pages of book I cried with him and I saw myself in that dungeon. I called him in the morning and told I finished the book and it was also strange to him. I had a session that morning and I thought I was tired but I was completely animated. In the morning and at early working hour I said this to the minister (Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif) that such a book has been written and it was interesting for him too. I said the narrator and captive is my friend and you should see him today. I think that day or the next day, I requested Mr. Sharafi and he came. The minister welcomed him warmly, and it was very interesting for us who knew him and did not know the story. It was really heavy for Mr. Sharafi and his family to bear the event. My interest and love to him several times increased since I read the book. I hope healthy for him and his family."

 

 

As if seconds had stopped

Seyyed Jalal Sharafi was the third narrator of the session. He said: "I do not know from where I start. My achievement from this event, against that terrorist group and Americans, is nothing except spirituality."

The compere of the night of memory session raised his questions, asked by Sharafi, and asked: "We would love to hear your abduction story from yourself. What happened in the day you went to the bank?" Sharafi said: "The abduction took place about 10 to 11a.m. and it happened during one to two minutes. Some people quickly get out of the car and did not let me to talk. They didn't consider that I am a diplomat and I have a diplomatic responsibility. They put me in the back of the car while they fastened my hand and eye. After about 45 minutes, a little more or less, the car stopped somewhere. I was in the same lying state in the back of the car. Azan-e Zohr (noon prayer time) was announced. Time passed and I was still at the back of the car. Azan-e Magreb (evening prayer time) was announced in the Sunni style and I was still at the back of the car. Azan-e Esha was also announced and I was still at the back of the car. They dismounted me and nearly about one to two hours later Azan-e Sobh (morning prayer time) was announced. At that time when I was at the back of the car, they licked me as much as they could and until they lost their breath. When they dismounted me at night, they took me to somewhere. My eyes were closed. One of them said: We have eight people shift. They attacked in the eight person group, beat, became tired, went and came back. One of them told his boss that my body is very athletic, it is like iron. His boss also said: "break the iron with any means you find!" For example, I sat down while my hands and eyes were closed, and suddenly they struck my vertex by an iron pipe. They kicked and bludgeoned me and I was thrown out of the chair and again they seat me upon it. This situation continued. I was about two to three days in a building. They had put two to three TVs to watch satellite channels. There was all the time news of this incident. All officials, including the minister of foreign affairs, chairman of the parliament and chairman of National Security Commission said that we consider US government as main culprit of this incident, because US military forces were in Iraq, and everything was in their control and under their supervision. They said the Americans are responsible for health of the Iranian diplomat. When the news was announced, the terrorists became very happy. They laughed and came to me. They said it was over. Iranians have saddled Americans with everything, and we now take you relaxingly and decapitate you. We take you and exsanguinate you! Nobody addressed us.

I was in a building for three days, and then I replaced to another building. They started to torture there. Before that, they attacked me and knocked and kicked me, and beat with club or pipe and with anything, but after that they closed my legs, hanged me and beat with cable. They lowered me and said, "Run in your place and then fastened me and tortured. They said: what are you doing in Iraq? You must leave Iraq. The first ten days passed hardly, and tortures were unbearable. It was almost the sixth day that they put me inside a car. It was so hot there that I felt like it was bakery. There was very little oxygen, and I was in a choking state. They put me there forcibly, and I think the caravan head told to move. Some cars were turned on together? They told me: "In the checkpoints that are on our way, be careful not to hear any sound from you." If you want to move and want help, the car is bombed. The car explodes before someone wants to help you. The car sometimes was driven for hours. Days were hot and nights were cold. Due to thirst, fatigue and pain, I sometimes rammed my head to the car. The person above me beat my groins and chest with gun stock to be quiet, but I suffered so much pain that I did not pay attention at all. I rammed my head vigorously to the iron body to reduce pain of my scapula and neck and nose and ribs. It was near the morning that I begged bring water for me. The person above me said, "The door is locked from outside."

We reached to a village. They were welcomed and took them to sleep. The guards stayed with me in the car. The guards said: the door is locked from outside and they should come tomorrow morning and open the door with a key. I asked: Well, when are they coming? They said: early morning. Their early morning was 10 a.m. The guard asks me: which part gives pain? I would say: "my scapula" and he massaged it. I said: my neck, he massaged my neck. I would say: my knees, he massaged them ... then he found out that it is useless. He asked: Are you a Shiite? I said yes. He said: I am Shiite too. At first, I could not resort to Imams (AS) at all. Whenever I say: Oh Imam Hussein (AS) Oh Fatimah Zahra (SA) ... they beat me. There was someone in charge of a shift who was very extreme and radical. He said: Name the fourteen infallibles and twelve imams. I started and told the names. When I arrived at Imam Hussein (AS), he said: "well!" Seyyed Shabab Ahl al-Janna (master of the youth of paradise) came and surely helps you? He started to beat me. When the guard said I am Shiite, I started to resort and was relieved. I had been in the car since 2:30 p.m. in the last day to 11 a.m. in the next day I had been concealed in the car, and the car was moving. The car stopped almost at the end of the night and moved again at 11 a.m. in the next day. When they dismounted me, I really was withered, because I had no movement. After that they opened handcuffs, my hands remained in hanging state. During these ten days, the most severe torture occurred; they took me, for example, and abandoned in cold's bone of Iraq desert. I heard sound of burning or smell smoke of fire. The guards who brought me sit around the fire, and I heard sound of their cups and saucers who drank tea, but on the other side I was chilled to the bone. Iraq is really has a winter's bone. I begged them to close me to the fire in order to be a little warm. One of them cursed me much and said all of our misery and wandering is due to you, now take you near the fire! I wore in a underwear. He took a bottle and dropped water on my neck vertebrae and said, "You're going to be warm now!" Perhaps this was the most severe torture I endured.

According to Mr. Vasfi, one of guardians of the dungeon that was there to the end, it seems that from the end of the sixth day, I was unconscious for four days. He said: "We thought it was over, and you were dead, but God helped you suddenly. What humanitarian works did your parent that help you recover? When I revived, I was in the dungeon. There, too, became a new stage. The person who came above me said I am responsible for your case at the US Embassy. He spoke English, and one of Arabs translated into Arabic for me. He was the same Mester. I requested them much to give me a book, Qur'an, a writing, or even basic book of children. The one who read every day, watches TV, listens to news, speaks, is energetic and active, suddenly is taken into a dungeon, a little larger than a grave; he neither sees, hears, reads nor writes; well, it's very hard. When I asked them to give a Qur'an, they said: You are Najis (ritually unclean)! Then they said you accept another Quran and this Qur'an that Muslims accept is not your Quran! Until someone who was called master came to reform me. He came and told me: "your life is going to be over and it's not clear whether you return to life again or not, return to Islam!" Come and repent! He had brought a book that its writer was one of extreme sheikhs and he emphasized on that the Shiite are pagan! Something that happened here and I used it was that it was written in the same book that Quran says to resort to God and trust in Allah. Hopeful and resort-oriented verses were about sixty ones. That is, perhaps the greatest gift of master who was Mester's Translator and dressed his face to the end was this book. I read verses from the beginning to the end several times, and I did not pay attention to Hadiths and narrations that were related to the issue that Shiite is pagan. The verses in the book made me feel good mentally. Sometimes I chanted Quran (Tarteel) and sometimes recited loudly. I could say I found a great companion; contrary to what they thought, that is I repent and return to the side they want.

In answer to question of Mr. Salehi (the session compere), that what is value and importance of a diplomat that they abduct him, I must say at first Americans had come to Iraq and did not like other countries, even those who were united in attacking to Iraq and were in coalition, to have a contribute in process of state-building of new Iraq. They sought to create new structures, constitution, parliament and government based on what they themselves wanted. So they attacked diplomats of other countries, including Jordan, African countries and even Russians. They shot and abducted them. It was also mentioned that our diplomats like Mr. Naeemi died a martyr at a hundred-meter distance from the embassy. Mr. Fereydun Jahani, our console, was abducted on the path to Karbala and was in hand of terrorists for three to four months. Due to physical problems and renal disease he was to the verge of death and they filled with pity for him and released him. A month before the incident, we were on the way to pilgrimage that they stopped us with guns and said: What do you want from Iraq? If you do not go, you will also be doomed to fate of Mr. Naeemi. They did not even take pity on UN's representative. That is, Americans did not like UN contribute in state-building and transmute new structure in framework of process of democracy and freedom that they themselves claim. In the same terrorist incident, the same groups shot and killed UN representative in Baghdad. The value and importance of diplomats for Americans who wanted no other one to be there is revealed here.

Part of torture was in the first ten days. Maybe they did not have a specific purpose. For example, they said: what are you doing? Perhaps they sought tribal warfare, but Americans followed the situation with dangerous scenarios and plots. In the early days they came and tortured and harassed me in order to talk about Shiite streams and Iraqi groups. I said: I do not know anyone; because if I say that person, this would make a problem. They said you do not want to know anything! A diplomat's worth for Americans and for any group that abducts is cleared here that a diplomat as official representative of a country interview against his country. This is an advantage for them, as well as betrayal and threat against the diplomat's country. They came and said: You do not need to have any information at all, and know something. We write everything and you just read what we wrote as diplomat of Islamic Republic of Iran and the second secretary of Iranian embassy in Baghdad; read that this is our country situation, we have done these measures, we reached these advances in the nuclear field, in field of mutual relations etc. A few months before this, our nuclear talks with Europeans had been interrupted by US pressure. We would monitor these. Our case had gone to Security Council and the first sanctions resolution had been issued against us. Americans needed some evidence to satisfy their European allies. For example, an official person as diplomat come and say that we have accessed to a nuclear bomb other than conventional nuclear bombs in the world; this was one thing they had written and asked me to say. It is twelve years that they have done inspections. IAEA have announced twelve times that Iran had no deviation from parliamentary frameworks and IAEA rules and regulations. Despite the fact they sought to carry out a psychological operation on the part of me as diplomat of Islamic Republic, and I thought they decided to tell Europeans that Iran has pulled the wool over your eyes over the year transactions with you.

They came and offered me some advantages. One of them was perhaps the same electric heater; they said we will provide you with a number of services. Another issue was that they said if you accept to collaborate with us, you can go to any country you like; we bring your wife and children too to live with you in the best welfare. You just come and tell us what we give, and we broadcast it from our satellites. The most important value of this abduction was that this would happen. I had just two options, whether I would have to stand behind tribune every day and say against Iranian nation and against the country what they gave me or I should do suicide; I would rise and come. Whether I would die, or escape that God helped, and this happened. It was very hard work. My wife, my daughter, my brother, my friend, property etc. all these had make me depended to this world. I said: my God, this woman and children are no longer for me. They are not belonged to me; so far, they were deposited to me, and they are not for me since today. I lost myself and hit the light. I told myself: being killed is better than going every day and interviewing behind the tribune, and dishonor my wife and children and my family. I really did suicide. I did not know what I was doing. God helped, and this miracle happened because of prayers of people of Iran and my family."

The compere asked: "In the first ten days that you have not yet been taken to the dungeon, you are captured and they are emptying your pocket in the car. They get different things from you. There was a conversation; do you remember it in order to narrate it for us?" Sharafi said: "When I had been laid back of the car, they hadn't still fastened me tightly. The blindfold was narrow and I could see from the corners. One person was sitting ahead. Another person was sitting above me. He emptied my pockets and I saw. He took my wallet off and I do not remember how many Dinar and Dirham was in it that he picked them up and put in his pocket. He opened my watch and cursed me much. He said: "he is stony broke and not a lot of money is in his pocket. His watch is not an expensive one too. He picked up money and gave empty wallet and ID card to the charge man and said, "Sayyedy!" There was nothing in his pocket. He is a flat broke."

The compere said: "You have nothing in the dungeon. Making this film in man mind is something odd that a man who has nothing marks the days of his imprisonment on the walls with a needle of a stapler in a date box. After all events, you entertained yourself. You read Qur'an and those particular verses, think of funny and happy things. You saved yourself hopeful. I read in your memories that you sang songs of Seraj (Iranian singer) loudly in order to become happy, and every day you practiced to make your voice more beautiful. Was it this way?"

Sharafi replied: "Yes, it really was a very difficult situation. I would resort to anything in order not to be surrendered. That is, if I didn't endure, it might be a catastrophe, and this result that achieved was different. I should laugh and this sadness disappeared. In difficult conditions, the inciting nafs (an-nafs al-ʾammārah) and the self-accusing nafs (an-nafs al-luwwāmah) present to man, and this happened to me. I asked: why me? Why did I choose this path? What's all the trouble for? What is my family fault now? If it continued, I would surrender to that situation. But God helped. An-nafs al-ʾammārah and an-nafs al-luwwāmah opposed to each other. I would say myself it might you had an accident and a murder in Iran right now too and you were in detention center and these were controversies that I bandied with myself. I should make my spirit happy so that I would not approach these thoughts at all. One of the things I did was to repeat compositions of Neinava cassette by Hesamodin Seraj that I had listened and crying to them at the beginning of the war. I remembered some phrases and whispered. I went to atmosphere of comedies that I had seen, such as comedies of Mr. Mehran Modiri and series of Barareh Nights, and I spoke myself some dialogues and really laughed. I filled in this way every moment of 24 hours and my hardest moments. As if seconds had stopped. That I say I laughed maybe did not last a second. I laughed a little and felt good. You will never believe that my eyes were in tears constantly and I never stopped saying Salavat. It seemed it had become automatic. For example, I wanted to say something else, but I found out that I was saying Salavat."

The compere asked: "If you see Vasfi and that bad-behaved guard today what should you do with them?" Sharafi replied: "If I see them now, I invite them to the best restaurant in Tehran or even my home and give the best reception to them. I kiss their face because they are also human beings and they did these behaviors in a condition because of their family livelihood. I always prayed and said my God shows my innocence and honesty to these guards pity for me, and at least they realize I'm innocent. Of course not about that Mester! He followed his mission and work. I would say them: Take me to the farms so that to work for you and plow. I really did it and would not go anywhere. I just wanted to get rid of that space. The time I was annoyed is nothing before the hardship, suffering and distress of family of martyrs, freemen and the missing. I'm ashamed to come back of the tribune and talk about the event."
The 303rd memory night of Holy Defense was held by the Center for Study and Research of Culture and Literature of Resistance and the Office for Literature and Art of Resistance in Sooreh Hall of Hozeh Honari on Thursday, June 26, 2019. The next session will be held on July 25.


The 302nd Night of Memory

The 301st Night of Memory



 
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