Thirsty Sands (Part 5)


Thirsty Sands (Part 5)

Jafar Rabiei

Design: Ali Vaziri

First published in 1991

Publishing House, Islamic Propagation Organization

Printed at the Aryan


I only realized that they had been surprised at my being alive and, shouting and yelling, called other soldiers. All of them came along and surrounded me. The second time I opened my eyes. I realized they were Iraqi troops. The pain of wounds and thirst on the one hand and seeing the Iraqis on the other, made me forget my pain. I was embarrassed in that condition and fear had overtaken me. I knew I was before a bestial enemy. I stared at each of them standing beside me. I did not know what they were going to do. It came to my mind that the first thing they would do was to extract necessary information from the positions and the objectives of our forces, and try to find out in how many stages the operations would be carried out and how long the Islamic forces would continue their advances. They then would ask for the names of our combatants, and in general get whatever information to be obtained from enemy force and then, of course, kill me. At the same moment I felt that I should from now on change my style of struggle. As long as I was fighting with firearms I knew I had to target the heart of the enemies of our nation and Islam. But what should have I done now? I had realized the necessity of changing the method of battle, but I did not know how to get about it. I was thinking that reactions to show when I heard an Iraqi sergeant, sitting beside me, saying in Arabic words “La Takhaf ... La Takhaf!” I understood that he was saying, “Don’t fear... Don’t fear.” Then he expressed some fractured words of semi-Farsi with a mixture of Arabic words to make me understand his points. “My name is Ahmad Karbalai.”, “What is your name?” he asked.

“Jafar Rabi’I”, I replied faintly.

“Don’t be afraid; we will take you to Baghdad in our vehicle for treatment,” he said.

They constantly spoke to me in Arabic. But I did not understand their words. After nearly 15 minutes, they brought a stretcher to transfer me to their bunkers. On the way, I was crossing their positions and a mass of barbed wire when I realized the value of the epic deeds and selflessness of the Islamic combatants who landed on the enemy in utter darkness like a thunder, surmounting and advancing over all these obstacles and surprising the peoples of the world. They put me down on the ground next to the bunker besides their camp. The other Iraqis who were there amazedly gathered around me. Each of them tried to tell me something, but I didn’t understand. Among them were some with completely black skin more resembling Africans than residents of Iraq or even any country of southwestern Asia. My curiosity was aroused and I asked them where they were from.

“Sudan”, said one of them.

I said in a tone of sarcasm, “Jafar Numeiri?”

“Yes”, he replied.

At the first hour they did not go for from me for a single moment and it was something new to t hem to have a POW at hand, from whom they could ask whatever question they wished. Of course, it was natural to me. At first one of them began questioning me in the following words:

“Are you a member of (Imam) Khomeini’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps?”

“No, I am a Basij (volunteer force) member”, I replied.

He did not know the meaning of Basij. So I had much trouble making him understand the meaning of Basij. Then he began to ask about my military unit.

I said I was a member of the Muhammad Rasoullollah (S) Army. Hearing this name from me, they were surprised. I felt that hearing this name must have been surprising for them considering all the propaganda launched against us.

I explained that the names of our armies are derived from those of our Imams (A.S) such as “Ali Ibn Abi Talib (A.S) Army”, “Imam Hussein (A.S) Army”, “Valie Asr Army”. They got more and more surprised to the point that one of the soldiers asked if the people of Iran were at all Muslims that they used such names for their armies.

I said, they are not only Muslims, but the fact is that by relying on God and drawing inspirations from our Imams, we have even driven you out of our soil.

“You started the war”, said one soldier, “We only defended ourselves,” replied.

“You are just now on our territory the further said.

“It is only an act of self-defense and of regaining our rights”, I said.

They didn't like so much what I said. For moments I was simple-mindedly deceived by the enemy’s superficial mild treatment, so I began to open my heart. They inquired of the operations and of its stages. I felt that if things were to go on like this, they would gather a lot of information from me. So, I feigned ignorance of what they questioned by wriggling from pain; and they persisted at making me understand their statements. I tried to save my face and after some resistance they dispersed one by one; each went about his own business. From the mental condition of the sergeant who appeared to be in charge of the soldiers I realized he didn't feel very well. Their telephone communications had been completely cut off and it took a lot of time to repair them.

The commander yelled at the soldiers and sent each one to perform different tasks. No more than half an hour had passed since my being taken prisoner by the enemy when the puzzling sound of the wings of a helicopter drew the attention of mine and the Iraqis. After a while the helicopter appeared over our heads and landed a few meters from us. The sliding doors of the copter opened and about 10 people disembarked. I didn’t know who they were. I could only realize that one of them was a high-ranking army officer. Two cameramen were also accompanying them. With the disembarking of the copter’s occupants all the Iraqi and Sudanese soldiers based in the bunker surrounded them. The first thing attracting the attention of the newly arrived was my torn, half-alive body lying on the stretcher like a dead corpse. From the movement of the hands of one of the officers I realized he was explaining to the senior officer my being taken captive in the minefield. After a while, all of them gathered around me. Addressing me, the officer asked: “Are the people of Iraq Muslim or are they unbelievers?” I replied promptly, saying: “Muslims”. He asked, “Why then does (Imam) Khomeini say the Iraqi people arc unbelievers?” I said, “He has not said this.”

“What has he said then?”, the officer asked. I remained silent and gave no answer.

To be continued …

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