Thirsty Sands (Part 16)


2019-11-12


Thirsty Sands (Part 16)

Jafar Rabiei

Design: Ali Vaziri

First published in 1991

Publishing House, Islamic Propagation Organization

Printed at the Aryan


 

Little by little we got accustomed to the camp’s atmosphere and with each crossing day we learnt new lessons. The operation Val-Fajr 4 which was held in Aban 1362, was as usual an occasion of happiness among our boys. They were so hilarious. News in the Iraqi newspapers was very brief and general. This was a customary Iraqi practice. When an operation was launched they contended with generalization and only announced that they defeated the Iranians’ attacks. From the content of newspapers on later days if was clear that the enemy’s generalizations resulted front their lack of understanding and identification of the operations targets which had been mostly captured by the Muslim combatants; and as usual one prong of the Iraqi’s counter-attacks which would have been accomplished in the battle fields, were directed at the POW’s camps. First, they cut off the water and then the guards’ behavior changed. Free hours were reduced and the amount of food diminished. Cleaning of the sewers came to a halt, too. They jotted down the name of some of the boys in the three Qate and, after it was dark, took them out of the camp to the torture-chamber, and after torturing them returned them to the camp. The circumstances    showed that the Iraqis were so worried. With all the          restraints administered on us by the enemy, the boys, believed that this was not the Iraqi’s real      position and reaction. The older friends said, “We have witnessed brutalities from Iraqi guards dwarfing the atrocities of the Zionists against the Palestinian. We consider the prevailing enemy treatment as emanating from its new trick which the passage of time will unveil.” The Iraq is acting in this manner showed their deep worry and concern. A few days later a small number of the injured POWs of the latest operation were transferred to the camp. Their presence in the halls gave us fresh hope. They gave us promising news of the internal situation of Iran and the situation at the front-news all of which running counter to the Iraqi’s empty, false propaganda. This news made all of us more resolute to resist strongly.

The cold was slowly coming around with the month of Aban drawing to its end. Taking baths in cold water was near intolerable. But there was a lack of warm water and we were forced to take our shower under cold water. In a show of what they portrayed as their humanitarian behavior! From the first day of winter the Iraqis allowed each hall of 60 people to use four warm water showers every 20 days in groups of 20 men for 30 minutes. To every 20-men group only 10 minutes were given! Despite only four usable showers, every five-men group should have used one shower within 10 minutes. Some of the boys eschewed the benefit of taking bath. Considering that each group could use the bath once in every 20 day, the boys were allowed to use warm water only four times throughout the winter, and with the conditions described. With a view to the closed atmosphere and likelihood of skin and contagious diseases, the POWs were compelled to use cold water during the time in between so as to observe cleanliness and environmental hygiene. There was no option! The boys had been content with this condition. Sometimes it happened that Iraqi cut off water supply for several days and under various pretext, and the boys were compelled to use rain water reserved in pitches on the compound of the camp, taking bath.

We passed the beginning of Bahman 1362 in this way. The situation was relatively good. The Iraqis showed unusually excessive kindness and softness toward us for some days. A few of us guessed that the Iraqis had a motive behind this change of behavior. It was rumored in the camp that they were going to film the POWs and make a report. Of course, previously, two Iraqi reporters and others from other countries at times came to the camp and they mainly tried to talk to our young Basigis thus making out that Iran sent very young soldiers to the front. This time however, the conditions differed to some extent from, previous ones. On 4 Bahman the Iraqis announced that all the POWs should wear new dresses and a number of cameramen and reporters were to come to make a report about the camp. The guards brought a number of tables and chairs into the camp and set them up orderly in Oate two, which as only for Basigis. They forced some who had been taken prisoners at the start of the war in the cities to it as if it were the natural thing for them to do, on the chars. They had put the chair in a circle in a manner that if one a looked at those sitting on them would feel that they were engaged in a friendly chap. About 11 in the morning cameramen entered the yard together with all the authorities of the camp and immediately went to their work place in Oate two. Those in charge of taking film set out to prepare the environment; they moved a number of the chairs and asked the guard to clean the compound. The guard too forced some of the POWs whom they had already brought forcefully do clean the yard. After the preliminary work was finished, the man in charge of film taking asked the commander of the camp to bring the Iranian POWs into the compound so that the film would take on a natural poster.

To be continued…



 
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