The 319th Night of Memory-1

A Narration from a Doctor about the Days of War

Compiled by: Oral History Website
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


Note: The 319th Night of Memory was broadcast online on the Aparat website on Thursday, December 26, 2020, focusing on the medicine of war. In this program, Dr. Iraj Mahjoub and Brigadier General Gholam Hossein Darbandi shared their memories.

The first narrator is Dr. Iraj Mahjoub, a volunteer surgeon of the Front, born in 1943, Mokhtari St., and Tehran. During the war, he was an employee of the oil company and his place of work and residence was near the Abadan oil refineries. In the early days of the Iraq-Iran war, he sent his family to Tehran with acquaintances and stayed in Abadan to help the wounded. He was present on the scene from the beginning of the war until 1984. The books "The General of Burrow "and "The Day I Wept in the Operating Room" are the memories of this doctor.

Dr. Iraj Mahjoub began his memoirs as follows:

"In the name of God. When I wrote the book "The General of Burrow ", as Mr. Ghadami knows, a film was made called "The White-Clothe Men". Encouraged by some critics who spoke about this book in "Khorosh Alborz" magazine, I decided to rewrite these memoirs.

National Oil Radio announced that people should go home and turn off the lights. Iraq has invaded Iran. That day was the 23rd of September 1980. But, there have been signs that Iraq is planning an attack since September 20. Iraq had shot one or two had oil tanks that were burning and their smoke was high. Five or six months ago, there was evidence that there would probably be a war between Iran and Iraq. At the beginning of the war, the wounded were brought in, and we operate them. One day, I saw a noise coming from the hall; some people were saying: Doctor, doctor ... I saw a 17 or 18-year-old young man was brought on a stretcher and his brain spilled out of his head and he died. But since they came with guns, I saw that if I were to say right there that this young man was dead, it might not be very appropriate. We took him to the dressing room from the entrance of the hall and the door for the doctors. We also gave a few electric shocks that were useless. I told them that this young man had died when you brought him here. "He was teaching; at that moment," said the companions of the deceased," he had put the gun on his face; inadvertently he touched the trigger and fired. The bullet went through his cheek and shattered his brain." This is my first memory of the war fronts.

The second memory I want to share is that: "Once I saw two strong young men coming to the hospital hall. Blood spurts from the nose and mouth of one of them. We took them to the radiology room to take pictures. There was a bullet entering and the location of the bullet was not known. I did not know where the bullet hit, but because the bullet entered the back of his ear, I thought it may have damaged one of the most important arteries in the neck or brain. The bleeding did not give us a chance to take a photo of him; Blood was pouring down his throat as we wanted to take a photo. He could have suffocated. An anesthesiologist came. I told him to take a sedative so he could calm down a bit and we could take a photo. On the other hand, I told the nurses of the operating room to tell the surgical team to get ready and come to the operating room. I also asked an internal medicine doctor named Shahram Mortazavi to help. He came and we gave the patient some electric shocks again; unfortunately, the patient did not recover. Family and relatives of the patient were gathered in the back of the radiology room. The two guards who came with the patient were there and they were very scared. We took the patient to the operating room through the radiology door.

Dr. Mortazavi went out of the radiology room. "What happened to our patient?" said the patient's the family and relatives. "He died." said he. I saw they began to kick and punch the door and the wall, and the thick glass of the radiology room, which was anti-radiation; it broke and they wanted to break the door, but they could not. We also took the patient inside and the surgical team was ready. We apparently started an operation, knowing that the patient had died. The family and relatives of the patient came there. I told the two guards to change their clothes, wear hospital clothes, and change their boots, put on a mask and a hat so that if the patient's family and relatives broke the door, they would not confuse you and injured you. I asked:" what is happened? Did you shoot this person? They replied that we were in Mahshahr, they saw that they were opening the back door of the car by a crowbar. We came to get them; they fled toward Abadan. We chased them. When we arrived near Abadan, I fired at the car. It was as if a bullet had entered through the rear window and hit him in the neck. Until we reached Abadan, we brought him to the hospital. In the meantime, the hospital's staff had informed both the officials of the hospital committee and the Basij guards. They also sent a minibus of forces so that the patient's family and relatives would not injured and upset us. At the same time, I called the blood bank and said, "Bring a few bags of blood to the operating room and hand them over to me so that we can show the blood bags to the patient's family and relatives that the patient needed surgery and has not died yet." I came out and saw that a large number of Arabs had gathered in that area; when they saw me, they said, "What happened to our patient doctor? Is he dead?" I said, "No, he is under surgery?" They said, "So, why a doctor said he was dead?" I said he was an internal medicine doctor. He came there for a moment and saw the patient. Then we gave an electric shock, the patient returned. You can come and see. We came to the operating room with one of the committee members and one of the elderly members of the patient's family. From behind the operating room, the doctors pretended to be operating. They were taken out and I told the committee officials to get them out of the hospital as soon as possible so that they would not cause trouble. Officers also evacuated the patient's family and relatives. Then the person in charge of the blood bags came and I said, "Well, if your patient had died, then why did I ask for this blood bag? We received them to inject into the patient." He gave the blood bags. I took and delivered them to the operating room. The patient's family and relatives was also sitting and saw that I had given the blood bags. In short, I told the committee official to take the patient out of the operating room so that they would not notice. They were taken out of the hospital. The patient had died anyway. We apparently took him to the ICU to take him to the morgue in the middle of the night after his family and relatives left.

These events lasted and I stayed in Abadan for three years. Abadan was under siege. They decided to attack Abadan several times, but a lion named Colonel Kahtari, the head of the Khosrowabad garrison stopped them. Colonel Kahtari may still be alive. I would like to give him one of my books as a thank you, but unfortunately, I still could not find him. The day Abadan was besieged, I was entering Abadan. One of the officers said that if Iraq used fifty tanks and entered Abadan, Abadan would fall; If Abadan falls, Khuzestan falls, too. Fortunately, this did not happen with the sacrifice of the people. They kept saying, "Let's make Molotov cocktails; let's build a trench." Many people of the city attempted together with great enthusiasm and put sandbags on each other, digging pits, making cocktails and Molotov cocktails. Meanwhile, a water pipe exploded in the hands of a couple, and the man was seriously injured. His wife was brave and said: "Doctor, I'm not upset, because we're fighting for our homeland, we are fighting for Iran. I also promised my husband Mansour that we would fight together against the enemy and die. Doctor said," How is Mansour?" I said," Mansour is in the men's surgery section and is not in a bad condition. But he was ill; He was dying."

These events passed until the oil company was bombed on February 10, 1984. The operating room of the hospital was destroyed and there was no room for surgery; but until 1985, I went to Abadan every other month and came back. The corridor on the second floor of the operating room was broken. The last day I wanted to go back, I went and told them to give me a verdict. It was my last day. They also said that it had been written. I asked them how they would send me to Mahshahr or Ahvaz so that I could go to Tehran. They said that unfortunately, they had a car that we need. My friends helped me get back. Khorramshahr was also liberated at that time. On the last day, we went to Khorramshahr and visited the Grand Mosque. Pictures of martyred commanders were painted on the walls there. We also saw the Iraqi war headquarters that they had already been the expensive houses of the rich people of Khorramshahr, which were on the edge of the Shatt, and but allowed everyone to go there.

I hope that God will always save this land from oppression, corruption, and destruction and Iran will always be proud and live with pride among all the countries of the world and we, the dear people of Iran, be proud of being Iranian."

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