Review of the book "I Fought for Peace"

Oral History of Asghar Ahmadi

Fereydoun Heydari Molkmian
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad

2021-12-28


This book begins with the narrator's handwriting for confirming the text's accuracy. The next page is dedicated to the dedication letter. Then there is the table of content, followed by the preface of the Director-General of Preservation of Relics and Publication of the Values of the Sacred Defense in Khuzestan, the introduction of the Sacred Defense Documents Organization, and words for the readers by the compiler. The text of the book consists of fourteen chapters, and the final appendices include color photographs with acceptable quality and a brief and useful description.

   "Little Man" is the title of the first chapter. Haj Asghar Ahmadi says that since his birth in the 1960s, his parents had migrated from a cold, dry village around Hamedan to the border and industrial city of Abadan. At that time, many people came to Abadan from different cities to work. Last year, his brother Abbas was born in the same city, but the family was in average [social class] and mostly low. When the children were born, their lives became more difficult. His father was a security guard. In those days, there was a bulwark around the Abadan refinery instead of a wall. The father stayed overnight and guarded, but then had to work hard to make a living: such as Charcoal shop, selling grilled potatoes and tea, handicraft shop, tailoring, and all other work. Asghar had been helping his father since he was about six years old. For example, he used to pack coal, which comes from other cities, in sacks with his father and took them in carts to oil company homes.

    When his other brother Qasim was born, he was still living a difficult life and his income did not support his family of six. They were still in a tenant's room, moving from house to house every year. The narrator mentions that time with the phrase "we were low-income people"; it was an era that witnessed well how much his father tried to keep him alive: "Nevertheless, we had many difficulties. In those days, television was a very luxurious device, and having it was a dream for us. To watch TV, we either went to a neighbor's house or sometimes watched the TV in the neighbor's yard from the roof. We used to eat simple food. Rice was cooked only at a party ..."

   As a teenager, he liked football a lot. All he wanted to do was help his father so that he should get permission to go to the football field later, but his parents were a little strict and said he should study instead. He either had to study or help his father; Sport had no room in life.

   When the narrator went to middle school, his father's financial situation improved a bit and he bought a kiosk. "The kiosk had only one room and one roof, but as a child, I thought we had bought the best store in town and I was happy to improve [our financial situation] one step. Of course, we were still tenants in the same room. Jafar was also born and we became seven people. But we still could not afford to rent two rooms. In short, after buying the kiosk, I felt we had something very valuable. I had a lot of fun. "Buying that kiosk was a turning point in our family's economic life ..." They sold slippers there for a while. With the help of his father, he would package the slippers, put them in plastic, and took them in the stall. Then he stood proudly to watch the people coming to buy slippers, but his father did not stop [his work] at the kiosk, he continued to guard the wood, coal, and ironware houses at night.

   Asghar entered a new phase of life when he finished his guidance. His father wrote his name for the oil company entrance exam. He was accepted and after two years of training, he was officially hired by the refinery. It was as if life was to show the best to him. "When I received my first salary envelope, it was as if I was walking on clouds. When I opened the envelope, I felt like I was opening the treasure box. There was a few paper money. I took them home all ..." From then on, he took a third of his salary, saved it, and took the rest home. Little by little, when they felt they could have a house of their own, they all put their savings together, bought land, and helped each other build a house for themselves. Eventually, after years, they became tenants and moved into their own home.

    It was 1978; the culmination of demonstrations and marches. The oil company was on strike. A nationwide sit-in in the country's refineries had also reached Abadan. The voice of the revolution was coming. A great event was on the way, which the narrator addresses in the second chapter of the book. While working in the repair department of the Oil Company Hospital, he became familiar with terms such as revolution, Imam [Khomeini] (PBUH), demonstrations, marches, and Islamic government.

   In the summer of 1978, the city became quite crowded. When the Rex Cinema caught fire in August and burned about 500 to 600 people, people chanted against the Shah in anger and hatred, both in front of the burned cinema and in the cemetery, when burned corpses. At least he had entered the revolutionary wave of the people. Imam Khomeini's proclamations were received and new news was coming. He gradually appeared in demonstrations and marches. He was even arrested once and detained at the police station until he was finally released through the mediation of his uncle, who was a regular in the army.

   With the victory of the revolution and after the Imam[Khomeini] ordered the strikes to end and the oil company to start its work, he also returned to work and joined the religious and revolutionary children of the refinery, and together they formed the Abadan Hezbollah group, but As the revolution progressed, the activities of opposition groups increased.

With the victory of the revolution and after the Imam[Khomeini] ordered the strikes to be ended and the oil company should start its work, he also returned to work and joined the religious and revolutionary staffs of the refinery and together they formed the Abadan Hezbollah group, but As the revolution progressed, the activities of opposition groups increased. The first days were more noiseless, but when the referendum was held and the Islamic Republic was established and they were convinced that they had no place in government, the kind of their activities changed and they opposed, but in the face of them, Asghar felt he was a inexperienced one:"

    It was almost a year after the revolution that the party "Arab people" appeared in Abadan and started armed and aggressive movements against the revolution. The IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) and the Revolutionary Committee followed them and arrested them. Many of those arrested confessed to receiving bombs from Iraq. It was clear that the neighboring country was maneuvering on the borders and discussing the Algerian resolution. Saddam was hostile to the revolution and Iran and sometimes provoked border struggles.

    In the third chapter, we deal with uninvited guests who came on Monday, September 22, 1980. Iraq officially started the war by bombing the country's airports. He crossed the border and came forward step by step. Working at the oil company became semi-closed. Many refinery workers had left the city with their families. Asghar's father had also sent the mother and children to his relatives in Hamedan, and he was packing to get ready to leave, but Asghar did not want to leave: “I had decided to stay. I did not like to leave my hometown, which was now under enemy fire." With some volunteer comrades, after the initial training, they gather in the mosque and were stationed in the airport square with a group of soldiers. After a month, the situation in the city was completely chaotic. Water and electricity were cut off and everywhere was closed. Most people had left the city. The refinery was also closed and the city was completely at war.

    The narrator of the fourth chapter begins on October 30, 1980: "Radio Abadan announced in advance that the Iraqis intend to enter Abadan from the Zulfiqar front and that anyone can go there with any means to help ..." In this chapter, we encounter the epic of popular resistance, which by any means, even from other areas in the conflict zone, were present to register the name of Zulfiqar forever in the name of popular resistance. The line of defense that was formed, the activity of Asghar and those like him who were considered to be the people's forces, became more formal. They were a whole group; 10 to 15 people. They were given control of part of the Zulfiqar front line. Asghar was slowly becoming like a real warrior.

    In the fifth chapter, the narrator reaches the end of 1980 with the narration of war; About six months had passed since the war, and it was planned to send some of their group to al-Mahdi's Army to train armor and work with tanks. After training, they gave their companies a new mission. They had to go to Khorramshahr. The Khorramshahr-Ahwaz road was under Iraqi control and from there, fronts were equipped. But after a while, they were scheduled to go to Abadan with their tanks to take part in an operation. It was supposed to carry on a major operation. Everyone knew it was a definite operation, but the day and time were not still determined. Ordinary people also learned from the movement of forces throughout the city and the movement of equipment that the operation was to take place. Even Iraq realized that news[of operation] was coming. He drew lines for us on his radios. Everyone was waiting to hear the big news; "Breaking the siege of Abadan."

    Chapters six to thirteen describe the operations that are quoted by the narrator: Samen al-A'meh (during which the siege of Abadan is broken), Fath al-Mubin (Iran and Iraq form a defensive line at the end of the operation in the Chenaneh area), Jerusalem (during which Khorramshahr is liberated), Ramadan (where it is broken and wounded) Khyber (Iraqi cannonball hit the tank driver's atrium and burns diesel pipes, and Asghar became unconscious and burned in the tank), Badr (at the same time he got married with a girl from a tribe who had no problem going to the front), Dawn 8 (although the forces retreated, there were still many facilities left in the area. the commanders decided not to remove the facilities and to anticipate the next operation to strengthen the morale) and Karbala 5 (which was one of the most sensitive wartime operations and will change the course of the war).

    Chapter fourteen deals with the adoption of the resolution. Although the war was practically over, Haj Asghar Ahmadi remained on the defensive until a year after the resolution was adopted: "Iraq, from time to time, violated the ceasefire and fired mortars; we used to respond its attacks. Our situation was like a wartime defense. We were always ready. Our work had become less difficult and many were on leave. People were slowly returning to their cities ..."

The interview and compilation of [the book] "I Fought for Peace" were done by Marjan Doroudi and Fahimeh Ahmadi (son of Haj Asghar Ahmadi), respectively. The first edition of the book was published in 2020 by the Foundation for the Preservation of Relics and Publication of the Values of Sacred Defense, in 257 pages and 1000 copies with hardcover and Octavo format and has been entered to the book stores.



 
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