Thirsty Sands (Part 22)


Thirsty Sands (Part 22)

Jafar Rabiei

Design: Ali Vaziri

First published in 1991

Publishing House, Islamic Propagation Organization

Printed at the Aryan


When the brutalities of the Iraqi regime reached its climax and when our endurance and resistance was at its lowest and about to break, only one shelter and support remained and that was remembrance of God. In those conditions the Quranic verse: ...was absorbed by the hearts in all senses. Since the time when one of the boys was taken out of the camp, the whole prisoners in the hall stood in prayer and supplication. The invocation was not exclusive to such conditions; in mid nights when most people were asleep, the POWs were busy talking with God. It was these chatters which carried us onward and gave us hope despite all the hardships of the day, making us solid like a dam to resist the beatings by woven cables (lashes). The enemy also knew that if he wanted to crush the resistance of the POWs, he should strip them of his weapon. It was on this basis that they had ordered that no one had the right to stay up at night. In order to succeed in implementing this order, they had banned sleep throughout the day, so that excessive tiredness would prevent the POWs from staying up and supplicating God.

The brutal policy of the Iraqis allowed for no distinction between the disabled prisoners and others and the tortures were inflicted on all with the same savagery and severity. A glaring example of such treatment is the following account which can to some extent reveal the Iraqis’ behavior.

On Ordibehesht 18 at 6 p.m. after taking of the nightly head count, we had gathered together with five friends.  One of the boys translated and explained part of Doa-e-Komeil (invocation handed down to us from Komeil, a companion of the Holy Prophet). All were absorbed by his good explanation of the supplication when we suddenly felt we were being looked at from behind the window of the camp. The Iraqi guards had seen us getting together. Prediction of the future was clear. One of the guards  took  out  a  booklet  from his  pocket  to  write  down  our names. Two of our friends seized this opportunity to pull themselves away and the guard was able to write the names of only four of us. Besides me, the other three were also disabled. One of the boys had lost one leg, and the other two, were severely injured in the leg in such a way that they could not walk without the help of a cane. Sunset had arrived. After saying our prayer at usual the door of the hall opened and the names of four POWs were read out. The guard told  the  four people  to come  out of the hall.  Our brothers were amazed. Even the imagination that the Iraqis would even torture and beat the disabled POWs could not cross our minds. We went out of the hall together with the guards. The environment of the camp outside the hall without the gathering of the POWs was desolate and forlorn. The POWs from other halls, too, were brought. What made us more amazed was that the Iraqis had also captured a man and his son. First I thought that the Iraqis had taken the father and the son out of the hall to frighten both of them. Anyhow, we were totally 12 people. The guards took us out of the camp. The exit gate of the camp had been structured in a way that anyone who wanted to get out of there had to crouch. At the beginning the Iraq is exploited this situation and placed four or five guards at the gate and subjected every one of the POWs crossing the gate to the shower of kicks and fists. All the 12 passed this stage. After passing about 100 meters we reached outside the camp. There we observed that with the sound of a whistle blown by an Iraqi soldier, around 50 frenzied soldiers joyously started running. The guard ordered us to move towards the room to which the soldiers had gone in. When we reached the room the first thing attracting my attention was the presence of many Iraqi soldiers there. I was amazed and looked around. This room was obviously a class room used for propaganda purposes for their force. In that room there were many desks. A black board had been installed on the wall, beside which an Arabic inscription on a tablet was visible. The script read: “The Persians have been the enemy of Arabs since ancient times...” Each of us were seated at a desk. In intervals five soldiers loomed over each desk. Beatings and harassment started. About 15 minutes after this, the beatings, ceased. I thought it was the end, because most of the boys were disabled. The guards ordered their appearance. At this time the commander of the camp along with his deputies and several officers entered this particular room. An Iraqi major sat on one of the benches.


To be continued …


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