Thirsty Sands (Part 17)


Thirsty Sands (Part 17)

Jafar Rabiei

Design: Ali Vaziri

First published in 1991

Publishing House, Islamic Propagation Organization

Printed at the Aryan


The boys now realized that the good behavior of the Iraqis was not without reason. By providing those preparations, they wanted to take advantage of the POWs in their propaganda on such a day. The hapless Iraqi commander without having thought in this regard and without wasting time ordered the guards to send out the POWs from the halls and bring them to the yard. The boys having been informed of the news of the arrival of cameramen to the camp since the very morning of the day had made up their minds to thwart the enemy strangers in a coordinated move and not allow them to take film of the POWs. The guards entered the halls and ordered the boys to go out, but no one budged. The Iraqi sergeant was red with anger, and yelped: “Today films will be taken from you, whether you like it or not. This has been ordered by the commander. You should go into the compound! Understood?” But still no one moved. The guards were in a fix as to what to do. They asked for help from the commander of the camp. The commander whose entire being displayed pride and arrogance repeated the words of the sergeant: “Everyone out in the yard!” With their silence and lack of movement the boys enraged the commander more than ever before. When the commander saw the boy’s negative reaction, he ordered his men to use force. The guards holding batons in their hands attacked the boys in order to force them out. In response, the boys defended themselves. In an instant everything was in a state of confusion. Other soldiers who were out in the yard came in to nip the melee in the bud. This act of the soldiers met with our friends’ severe reaction and the conflict intensified. The guards who found themselves helpless to “restore order” immediately fled in fear. At seeing the Iraqis fleeing outside the camp along with their commander in front of them the boys started shouting Allaho Akbar. As soon as the guards in the watch posts and those standing behind the barbed wires saw the Iraqi soldiers coming out of the inner compound. The firing did not stop a moment. The Iraqis fired indiscriminately and the boys had set their crowds targets of the enemies’ bullets with hearts overflowing with faith and while shouting Alluho Akbar. They began firing in the POW’s direction. The shouts changed into “Death to America”, “Death to the Soviet Union”, and “Death to Israel”, the nation’s usual slogan. Although the firing continued intensely, the boys were not ready to withdraw their slogans. After a while the commander ordered the firing to be stopped. A number of the boys had been hit by bullets and bodies were in a welter of blood. Chanting slogans continued for a while. With calm restored, the guards returned to the camp and locked all the doors. It was about noon by this time. No one knew what the next reaction of the Iraqis would be. The first prediction was that they would cut off food and water for 24 hours and disallow us our free hours and the use of toilet facilities. Until live o’clock on the same day there was no sign of food or free hours. The Iraqis only transferred the injured outside the camp. At This hour the Iraqis opened the door of the halls of Oates 1 and 3 and announced that Oate two would be punished for disrupting order in the camp while the other two Qates would carry on under normal conditions as in former days. At first the Iraqis did not reveal the kind of punishment, but with the insistence of the prisoners in the camp the sergeant who had brought the commander’s message was compelled to disclose that the minimum punishment for the first time was that we would not receive any food or water or be allowed to use the toilets for five full days. Any other decision would be made after these five days.

The enemy’s reaction had been somewhat clear. With this cunning method they wanted both to punish the boy in Qate two and gauge the power of the unity of the entire prisoner of the camp. The friends in Qate one and three started thinking of ways to save their dear brothers in Qate two. Various suggestions were given and plans made. Each of them had a particular plan. One suggested holding a sit-in in the yard, and another had plans for a hunger strike. Finally a decision was made. In the morning of the next day one of the boys went on behalf of the POWs to the guard and asked them to convey the message of the boys to the commander of the camp. The message read as follow: “We call on you to lift the punishment decided for our brothers; otherwise, since we cannot hear being separate from our brothers, we have to place ourselves in the same conditions as our brothers as long as you continue to enforce the punishment, and will refuse to receive water, food, or other things. The responsibility for any accident in this regard rests with you.”

To be continued…


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