Taking a look at the book "A Narrative of the Thirsty-Lips Wises"

Oral History of Veteran Haj Jafar Bagheri

Compiled by: Fereydoun Heydari Molkumian
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


The book "A Narrative of the Thirsty-Lips Wises", which was interviewed and compiled by Dr. Jalal Kaviani for the General Directorate of Preservation and Publication for Sacred Defense Values of West Azerbaijan, was first published in Tehran in 2020 in 380 pages and 500 copies with a price of 400,000 Rials (Iranian currency) has been published and sent to the book market.

Haj Jafar Bagheri recounts his memories from childhood to his presence on the front of the Iraqi imposed war against Iran in four detailed chapters in "A Narrative of the Thirsty-Lips Wises " with readable details and adapted its title by referring to Hafez's divan " To the Wises, thirsty of the lip, none giveth a little water / Thou mayest say: “Those recognizing holy men have departed from this land "[1]  as a lasting work for future generations, as he emphasizes in the manuscript at the beginning of the book.

The book begins with an introduction to the sacred Defense Documentation Organization, which discusses oral history as a new way of collecting oral memories and narratives of historical events, and how the content of oral history is obtained through an interview process that includes historical observations and experiences, or r their quotes from others present in the scene of history. In the following, the problems of compiling oral history are discussed and the passage of time is considered as a threat to collecting oral sources of the history of sacred defense and compiling it.

After the introduction, it is the turn of Jalal Kaviani who, after introducing the multiple sections of the book, expresses hope that the present book will be a source for those who have been sought to find answers to some questions and achieve mysteries such as divine help and victory, faith. , resistance, self-sacrifice, courage, etc.

Although the book is based on interviews, and content is presented in the form of questions and answers, it proceeds with the same usual linear narrative and describes and retells the details of each period of Haj Jafar Bagheri's life in his language.

The first chapter is mainly devoted to childhood, in which Haj Jafar while introducing herself and her family and referring to her living environment and interests, deals with three educational courses (elementary, middle, and high school) and other events of that period.

The second chapter is associated with the time of revolution. He has been involved in the revolution for about 14 or 15 years, and when he enters this process, he is constantly present in the local mosque day and night. the revolutionaries gave speeches in the same mosques, which were the centers of the revolution; the agents of the Shah, the guards, and the SAVAK prevented the presence and gathering of the people by using batons, weapons, and tear gas. He tries to be present in all rallies and marches, which will continue until the victory of the revolution.

The third chapter is the narrative of the struggle against the counter-revolution. First, there is talk of armed conflict with extremists such as Democrats and Komala, then there is talk of confronting the Muslim People's Group in Azerbaijan, whose supporters have openly raised the issue of secession, and then there has been talking of conflict and assassination in the region.

The fourth chapter, which covers almost half of the book, is mainly devoted to Haj Jafar Bagheri's participation in the imposed war and his presence on the fronts. In 1981, he enrolled in the student mobilization, and after training and, of course, waiting for a long time, he was finally sent to the Gilan-e-Gharb region and the Informed Operation Dawn. Thus, from the first deployment and participation in the three phases of Operation Jerusalem to injuries and surgeries, and then participation in Operations Dawn preliminary and Operations Dawn 1 and 2, Operation Khyber, Operation Laylat al-Qadr, and finally Operation Karbala 10 and other miscellaneous operations directly is related to his presence on the fronts of the imposed war. In the meantime and during this period, other events have also occurred that is mentioned in this chapter due to their importance as follows:

Formation of the Warriors Board in 1981, the bombing of Urmia in 1986 and 1987, the funeral of Khyber martyrs in May 1984, sending Haj Jafar's mother to the front in 1984, engineering of Hamzeh camp, swimming coaching in IRGC physical training, the martyrdom of Mehdi Bakri, the bombing in 1986, the martyrdom of his younger brother and the pilgrimage.

Approximately 45 pages of the book are devoted to resources, documents, and illustrations, and a list of announcements, which seems to be useful as needed.

It should be noted, what makes the reader somewhat unhappy while reviewing the contents of this book is related to the editing of the text. For example, on the very first page of the interview text:

■Persian text:

«... خواهر کوچک‌تری داشتیم که متولد 1350 بودند و متأسفانه سر زایمان فوت کردند. هم‌شیره‌ام دو دختر داشت و در حین تولد پسرش، فوت می‌کنند، دخترانش ازدواج کرده‌اند ولی پسرش هم‌اکنون مشغول تحصیل هستند.»


■Translated text:

"…We had a younger sister who was born in 1350 and unfortunately died in childbirth. My sister-in-law had two daughters and they died when her son is born. Her daughters are married but her son is still educating."

Given that the narrator is older than his sister (seven years), he does not have to use the plural verb for his younger sister, and of course, it is better and even more intimate to use the singular verb.[1] After all, if we are to use the plural verb for someone, all verbs must be the same. In the [Persian version’s] text, the uniformity of verbs is not observed. The [Persian equivalents] of verbs "were"// بودند, "died" /فوت کردند /, "had"// داشت, "die"/ / فوت کردند are all related to the sister, with three verbs in the plural and one verb in the singular. In the continuation of the same sentence, the writer used plural verb even for his son which should have been singular. Another point is that the word همشیره (sister) is usually written as one word. So the more accurate form of this paragraph could be:

«... خواهر کوچک‌تری داشتیم که متولد 1350 بود و متأسفانه سر زایمان فوت کرد. همشیره‌ام دو دختر داشت و در حین تولد پسرش، فوت می‌کند. دخترانش ازدواج کرده‌اند ولی پسرش هم‌اکنون مشغول تحصیل است.»


Unfortunately, there are many such mistakes in the book " the Thirsty-Lips Wises" and although the name of the editor is even mentioned on the book’s identity card, the result is as if the dialogues are almost directly mentioned in the book.


[1] In Iranian culture, people usually use of plural verbs to show their respect towards addresses, but it Is not common inside a family.

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