Thirsty Sands (Part 1)


Thirsty Sands (Part 1)

By: Jafar Rabiei

Design: Ali Vaziri

First published in 1991

Publishing House, Islamic Propagation Organization

Printed at the Aryan


At 6 P.M in the dusk we moved towards our predetermined objectives. The last to whom I bid farewell was martyr Bahman Najafi, deputy commander of the Ammar Brigade. We comprised three battalions from Muhammad Rasollolah (SAW) Army and three battalions of the Ashura Army. At the start of our advance it began to grow dark and as usual when this happened the Iraqis did not dare to make a move, afraid to get out or retreat in conditions of darkness. The entire area of battlefield was constantly kept alight by flares fired to keep the sky alight over the battlefield.

As we began advancing some 25km into Iraqi lines, we were able to spot Iraqi vehicles along the road. It was 11:00 P. M. While advancing towards the Iraqi positions, we ran into a tangle of telephone wires, which we constantly cut before going further. Then suddenly a few meters ahead a mine blasted off lightening up the surrounding area, touched off by the foot of one of our friends. In a flash of a moment we all lay flat on the ground. As flares illumined the sky, the enemy began firing. Shells thumped on the ground everywhere around our friends. Minutes later, as the firing began to die down we continued our advance.

Moments later again, another powerful blast dazzled us all. And in next to no time the men lay bathed in a welter of their blood. I t was the shattering explosion of a mine yet again. One of the boys was reciting Shahadatain in a loud voice, the other repeated greetings to Aba Abdullah in homage: “Greetings to you O Aba Abdollah.” Three or four of the boys seemed to have gone into the long deep sleep of eternity. We stood all amazed. It was only then that it dawned on us that we had been trapped in an enemy minefield. Nevertheless the Iraqis hall not noticed our presence; only fired sporadically from time to time.

Inspired by my duty as “demolisher”, I began to search for the mines and defuse them. It was the night of Rabi-ol-Sani and by that hour there was no chance of seeking help by the light of the moon. Absolute darkness prevailed in the desert. Only Iraqi flares which were occasionally fired from a distant range illumined the area to a certain extent. At such moments a thousand thoughts crossed my mind but more and foremost in my mind were thoughts about the ongoing operations, the future, my success in this task and ... But remembrance of God the Almighty, the most exalted was the best means I had for gaining tranquility at that moment. Only with the remembrance of God, did we find our hearts at rest. This saying of the Imam, who observed: “Martyrs, in the nights of attack observe your deeds”, inspired us at that moment, giving me a special power.

I then began my work. I folded the sleeve of my left arm so that it might not hinder me while handling the traction wires and help me more easily and carefully to discern the explosive traps with my right hand. I kept searching for the press switches of the mines through the dark. A few moments later I felt that an object touched my hand and on closer examination I found they were the wires of traction mines. I expressed thanks to God and started on the job of defusing them. We had to neutralize a countless number of mines. An error of judgement by one of the advance guides handled us into t fairly wide minefield. Finally, after defusing a number of the mines we managed to get on to a road leading to the enemy headquarter. Crossing the road we ran into a new minefield which was an extension of the previous one, and again began the task of neutralizing them. An auxiliary force which had to join us hot busy placing a white dyed rope on the course where mines hall been defused.

We had now almost reached the end of the minefield, and the work went on at a brisk pace. While I was busy defusing the mines I began to feel the pangs of exhaustion. I paused a few seconds and relaxed. Then I bent forward to continue the work. No sooner did I lean over and my hands neared the nine, than I was thrown back, blinded by a flashing hot light and fell heavily on to the ground. It did not take me long to realize everything; It was the explosion of a mine just in front of me that caused it all. I had thought up to now that all was finished and felt that the time for the departure of my soul from my body had come. I began to recite the Shehadatain (I testify that there is no god but God and that Muhammad (S) is the Messenger of God). I focused my mind on Aba Abdollah (A.S) (referring to Imam Hussein (A.S)) and began to praise him. I felt an extraordinary severe pain in my hands, and had almost lost consciousness. However, gradually I came to realize that I had not been martyred and that I had been only injured in my hands and legs. Immediately one of my friends (Martyr Muhammad Moradi), with whom I had passed the military training in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, placed himself over my head. He thought it was my end and that I was on the point of martyrdom. He offered help and asked if he could do anything for me, to which I replied: “Only unfasten my shoulder belt so that I may feel lighter.” He did so at once and told me: “Dear Jafar.’ Make any request, but for water.” While I lay struggling in excruciating pain I said: “I did not want water from you.” He began to keep up my morale by reading some Quranic verse.

I began to recover a little. I realized that all the people had become motionless and stood completely perplexed and amazed.

One reason for their sheer astonishment and confusion was the fact that Muhammad Rabat, one of the intelligence-operation men, had been injured. Only moments after this very last mine explosion Muhammad attained martyrdom, having succumbed to his severe wounds. He was responsible for guiding various battalions making sure they reached the enemy's positions.

Nearly ten minutes had passed since I was injured, yet no relief appeared, no one to bandage or attend to my wounds; it looked as if all the men were far too shocked to be able to take any action. Finally, after some moments, help appeared in the shape of a colleague looming over my prostrating body.


To be continued...


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