The sum of 160 hours interviews

Mohammad Ali Fatemi
Translated by: Zahra Hosseinian


For Zain Ab: The Life of Shahid Mohammad Balbasi, one of Holy Shrine Defender, is a 390-pages book published in 2019 by ‘Shahid Kazemi Publication’ in Qom, sponsored by Karbala-25 Special Division. The authors of the book are Somayyeh Islami and Fatemeh Ghanbari. Marzieh Padyab, Mehdi Shirzad, Elaheh Hosseinzadeh, and Maryam Shahbazi, in addition to one of authors, are the team of research for this book.

The book starts with a note written by Hamid Reza Rostamian, a former commander of the Karbala-25 Division; he remembered Shahid Mohammad Balbasi who died a martyr in Khan Tuman of Syria on May 6, 2016. Somayyeh Islami also wrote in the preface of book that about 160 hours interviews were conducted with 84 people and ‘because of the similarity of memories, only the memories of 71 people are mentioned in this book. At the same time, there was an interview with the Shahid's wife, but due to the high volume of memories, we decided to compile them in another book separately. We included, however, parts of her memoirs in the book in order to complete the path of Haj Mohammad's life.’ She added, ‘I classified the memories in 4 chapters. The first chapter is about the personal and family life of Shahid. The second chapter deals with events related to The Student Basij and Haj Mohammad’s works. The third chapter opens a door to the activities of Haj Mohammed in Rahian-e Noor; and finally, the fourth chapter is about Mohammad Balbasi’s journey to Syria and his martyrdom. Throughout the chapters, memoirs were categorized by content, although I also look at them chronology. In fact, I tried to compile the narrators' memorials in such a way each one completed the other one, so that to make them more tangible to the reader.’

What is further explained in the text of the book is that, according to the process described, wherever the narrators has changed, their name and their relation to the martyr has mentioned at the margins; and if there were any suitable and relevant pictures, have been used. The narrators' memories have been also arranged sequentially.

According to the book, ‘Balbasi's father took the birth certificate of Mohammad on March 21, 1979, but in fact he ... [was] born shortly after the victory of the Revolution, that is, February 28, 1979.’ This specification that Mohammad Balbasi was born in 1979, plus the memoir about him in recent years and the fact that he is one of the revolutionary and guard youth of these years, is interesting especially for young readers; as well as for the researchers in the fields of sociology and anthropology that the post-Islamic revolution atmosphere has led to train what people?

People like Mohammad Balbasi, although came from Mazandaran in north of Iran, the scope of his revolutionary activities has known throughout his land. It is as if his mission was to preserve the spirit of the holy defense and to do so, he made a wide circle of contact with the youth and the families of the martyrs; and with his experience in this path, he went to the now fronts of sacred defense in Syria: ‘When Mohammad reached, I told him to shake hands with Alireza a few meters ahead (that is, to join him) and put the martyrs and the wounded together in the car and then back. Shortly after Mohammed's going, we again heard the sound of shooting. I was worried. I contacted my fellow warriors via wireless radio. No answer. I switched on Saeid’s channel. ‘We got shot here,’ he said, ‘we’re in military police post.’



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