Thirsty Sands (Part 24)


Thirsty Sands (Part 24)

Jafar Rabiei

Design: Ali Vaziri

First published in 1991

Publishing House, Islamic Propagation Organization

Printed at the Aryan


 … water was cut off most of the time, that wells and sewers were not drained off, that free hours were lessened, that each day we were forced to stand still for hours, that we should watch films that we did not like to, that every night a number of POWs were taken out of the camp and beaten to death in front of the commander and his deputies, that food was of pour quality, that the Iraqis did not allow the POWs to contact the POWs in other halls, that we were not let to stay in the hall and rest in mornings, that the nerve wracking loudspeakers blared out for 16 hours every day, and that...

Many of the complaints were repetitive for the Red Cross members. It seemed that they did not like to hear them again. They said, “We know these, but we cannot do anything. If you have new complaints, let us know.”

Experience had shown that reiterating the problem to the Red Cross in the hope that they would be tackled was something like carrying water in a sieve. As usual on the third day our letters were collected by the man in charge of the hall and handed over to the Red Cross. They bid farewell and left the camp expressing hope that the POWs would return to their countries. In the afternoon of the same day when the Red Cross members left the camp the Iraqis again wrote down the names of a number of the POWs to embark on their ordinary beatings which had been stopped temporarily for three nights. After evening prayer they took the boys and after beating them up to a point where there was not left a safe spot on their body, they brought them back. When we asked our friend what was the reason for beating them, one replied: “This time we were beaten on account of the things we had said to the Red Cross. The Iraqis were informed of all the things explained to the Red Cross in the past two days, precisely understanding which hall had informed them of what. They only didn’t know who had volunteered to explain the things. The Iraqis asked that why we had told them the problems, while we knew they could do nothing for us! “The situation went on like this, so long as the next month the Red Cross again visited the camp and were protested at on account of the fact that they had informed the Iraqis of our complaints of the Iraq is made confidentially to the Red Cross. In response, they said, “We let the Iraqis know of your complaints so that they might solve them!” “The inmates told them,” “If you were really sincere in your effort, why did you disclose the number of the hall and told them which hall set forth what problem?” The Red Cross had nothing to say. From then on the boys refused to explain the problem to the Red Cross officials.

After creating an atmosphere of terror which they had created in the camp, the Iraqis planned to evaluate the mental condition of the POWs. To this end, during free hours they placed two Iraqis dressed as soldiers among the POWs. Contrary to their guards who were not permitted to talk to the POWs these two Iraqis had permission to come among the POWs and talk to them concerning all issues especially political and military questions. Discussion on these issues would directly or indirectly reveal the interest or disinterest of the POWs in the IRS to some extent by his presence among the POWs. One of the Iraqis stressed on two points: who was responsible for the prolongation of the war or why the war lasted so long? And who was the aggressor?” Another question he always put forward in his talks was: “A prisoner should think of himself and of the time he will be released, not jeopardizing his life by interfering in political events. A POW should like advantage of entertainment facilities - he meant the loudspeaker which blared out music 16 hours a day and somehow spend the period of his captivity. These boys didn’t believe that in the Baath party there could be someone who could enter into logical debates. As such in the first several weeks he did not succeed to discuss with the POWs on these issues with all the efforts he showed. It was because of the atrocious atmosphere created by the Iraqi regime. So, most of the time he was speaker and the POWs were listeners. Despite this he succeeded in worming his way into the confidence of some the boys and discussed with a number of the POWs in this regard, his presence in  the camp lasted for about four months. This Baathist soldier, during many discussions he had with us on various fields, constantly set forth one thing among the POWs: “I have reached the conclusion that you can only do these things: “To fight, to pray, and to weep.”

The conclusion that this Baathist man had reached after several months of so called practicing psychoanalytical method on us was very interesting for the POWs.

To be continued…

Number of Visits: 38


Full Name:
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