Thirsty Sands (Part 15)


2019-10-30


Thirsty Sands (Part 15)

Jafar Rabiei

Design: Ali Vaziri

First published in 1991

Publishing House, Islamic Propagation Organization

Printed at the Aryan

 


 

However, all the boys’ cars were filled with such remarks and always said: “If Iraqis sympathized with us, they should have pitied us when we had been knocked out under the stroke of their whips, and not here.” Anyhow, the ruses employed by the Iraqis against the POWs were met with our suitable responses.

I the camp, our friends conducted these group victuals inside the halls. These programs were carried out in the form of the great Islamic festivals and on the revolutionary anniversaries and on the days having special value and sacredness to us. During a week, one night was usually devoted to talking about war news and making comments by the boys having knowledge and experience about it.

The middle of Mehr 1362 coincided with the beginning of the holy month of Muharram, a month which has a special place for lovers of slam and the Shiite school, a month which carried the message of victory of blood over the sword and disgrace of cruelty and oppression, a month from which all the oppressors and tyrants were afraid; and if their impure hand hall power, they would not hesitate a moment to delete it from the page of history. Nor did the Iraqis like this month, because they had also received a slap on the face from this month and will continue to do so like the other oppressors.

With the arrival of this month, the guards increased their control over the prisoners. Two or three nights in succession they tried secretly to enter the camp to watch over the activities of the boys. And with the guards being around, all the programs set as usual were canceled. The aim of the guards was to create a climate of apprehension among us. They had in mind to distill the thinking in the mind of the prisoners that they (the guards) might come in at any time for checks and so keep us from implementing any of our programs. The older prisoners said that the Iraqi should not be blamed for mounting their hostile activities because they had received blows in this very closed atmosphere in the holy month of Muharrarn. When we asked the reason for this. they replied that the previous year in this camp on the days of Ashura the cries of Allaho Akbar (God is the Greatest) and death to America, had shocked the camp’s officials. At the level of the camps the boys also could harmonize themselves with other halls, providing equal training for all. On the one hand easy contacts of the POWs with each other in the halls removed many of the problems prevailing at the level of camps - problems which have been created by the hindrances already imposed by the Iraqis. On the other hand, the more important fact was that the continued contacts helped all the POWs in the camp to adopt a united stand in the face of the Iraqis und stand against their injustices. With these cries raised, the guards had been confounded and stripped of clear thinking. All they were able to do in the face of the boy’s all-out unity was threaten the boys but even this did not prove effective. The boys full declared their hatred towards America and its mercenaries. That night the Iraqis could do nothing, but in subsequent days took the boys in groups to the torture-chamber and began harassing them. The justification they employed in this regard was that we had disturbed the atmosphere of the camp and triggered riot.

In any case, with this bitter experience the Iraqis had another Muharram before them. With the arrival of Muharram the boys started activities, and conducted rituals in remembrance of Imam Hussein (A.S), beating their chests in the mourning. Despite the fact that the Iraqis tried to show off their presence in the camp, the boys assigned a guard of their own who watched at the window the coming and going of the Iraqis, controlling their movements. Owing to the high gate installed in the camp’s entrance-where everyone should have crossed when arriving or leaving-the boys came to know that somebody was arriving or occasionally going out with the movement of the upper part of the door. In this manner, the programs of religious sessions continued up to the 8th night of Muharram. On the 8th day of the month of Muharram, the numbers of Red Cross unexpectedly arrived in the camp, giving the good news of bringing new letters. The untimely arrival of the Red Cross, agents in the camp made the boy realize the Iraqi’s new trick. By giving new letters to the POWs, they intended to distract us from observing the three remaining days of the first ten days of this holy month, making us busy with responding to the letters. Moreover, on the same day, several Iraqis wearing white overalls to inoculate the boys ostensibly against contagious diseases, which have not yet been eradicated in Iraq.

 The simultaneity of these two events left no doubt for any of us that the Iraqis planned to play this trick to prevent the boys from observing the rituals of Ashura and Tasua days. The Iraqis forced everyone to be vaccinated each of the boys began to experience headaches and dizziness and severe unbearable backache. Those who were bodily stronger resisted for a few hours more but eventually succumbed to the effects of the vaccine. For a period of 72 hours, i.e. until the 11th of Muharram, all the prisoners of the camp were paralyzed by the troubles caused by the vaccines. Most of the boys even stopped writing letters due to the excessive pressures of physical inability. All had been stripped of the power to do anything; and everyone was simply overcome with the pains. On the third day after the vaccination the boys returned by degrees to normal condition. The Iraqis had accomplished their end and in their own opinion had succeeded in ending the protesting peacefully by leaving behind the Ashura. The Red Cross members also had left the camp after their fruitful duty!

By the vaccination in the presence of the members of Red Cross, the Iraqis displayed the act as their privilege attending to the POWs. Two of those wearing supposedly nurse’s overall were Iraqis mechanics, handling with cars. The third one was an Iraqi engineering-combat force who came each day and added to the length and width of the barbed wires. The third man’s bulging stomach introduced him, and we did not need to protest against his unawareness of the quality of vaccinating with the Red Cross members.

 

To be continued…



 
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