A review of the book "Bazidar"

War in the Narration of an Iraqi Citizen, Seyyed Abbas Mousavi

Fereydoun Heydari Molkmian
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


The word "Bazidar" means a pigeon that spins and hangs in the infinite blue of the sky in its beautiful and artistic flight in such a moment that it amazes the eyes, tongue, and heart of every observer. There is little life scene of such pigeons, of these people ...

       The [above-mentioned] text is a brief description of the title of the book that we encounter before the relatively large text of the memoirs of Seyyed Abbas Mousavi.

      The book "Bazidar" has a beautiful print and binding and good page design. The design on the cover of the book is innovative and consists of two layers: the first layer has a white background in which the title of the book, the author's name, and the publisher's logo, as well as the image of a Kalashnikov grip, can be seen in a flower wrap. Of course, the place of the gun is dug on the first layer and the second layer and the other side of it, and even the back of the book is covered with these beautiful flowers.

      Seyyed Abbas Mousavi begins his story from a place where his father's previous wives had caused controversy and threatened. Everyone wanted Sayyid Abdul Hussein to be only his own, to go to his house and not be belonged to another woman's children. They tried to drive the new rival out of their territory anyway. They could not bear to see the new young girl with the old cleric at all, but their opposition did not work out, and finally, his father married his fourteenth wife (the narrator's mother).

      "Despite being old, my father was a lovely man. He had good morals and good looks. A balanced physique, a clear and calm face, penetrating blue eyes, and a thick white beard gave him an attractive and special appearance among Arab men. "He was a brilliant preacher and writer, and of course, in addition to the pulpit and reading and writing, he was also the imam of an old mosque near the shrine of Imam Hussein (PBUH)."

     The narrator was born in Karbala, Bab al-Baghdadi district, in 1955. About six to seven years early in his life were spent in this neighborhood. After that, he and his family moved to other neighborhoods and sent him to school. When the fifth grade was over, now everyone was looking at him with big eyes. It was he who decided to look for a job or a job. His brother Seyyed Ali was a carpenter.  After that, he learned bookbinding from his other brother, Seyyed Abdul Jabbar Sahafi, that when he enlisted in the army in 1973, introduced himself as a bookbinder and worked in the Air Force printing house. When he returned from military service, he provided a stationery shop and works as a bookmaker.

      Over time, he was going to get married. He wants to marry a girl he knows well. After three years of searching, he finally found a suitable wife with the help of his mother, and in 1979, he married Zahra from a Sadat and Iranian family.

     A year or two later, when he prepared his passport and visa and went to the Damascus market in Syria and then to the Istanbul market in Turkey to buy some of the goods needed for his shop, he heard there that Iraq had attacked Iran and its planes were bombing Iranian cities. When he returned to Karbala, the three were in a chaotic situation. It was time that Saddam had ordered everyone to be gathered to serve in the Jeish al-Shabaabi military area, regardless of the year of birth; old, young, employee, market, Shiite, Sunni were no different. He did not know what to do. Seyyed Abbas neither wanted nor could go to the front. He hated fighting and had just gotten married and had a family. He was getting closer to his target. Now there was no way back and no way forward. Their house had only one door, which opened six or seven meters from the Ba'ath party's regular administration, and Ba'athists usually stood in front of it. He had to wait until 10 pm and as soon as the traffic was reduced, he quickly threw himself inside the house. However, after staying at home for three or four days, he finally got into trouble and decided to go out and go to work. He left, but when he wanted to return to the regular administration, the Ba'athists would come and go, and he could not reach his house. So, He had to go to the house of his older sister, Ghanieh. Two days passed in this way and then, like the previous time, he returned home at the right time.

     "It was midnight on Friday. I had put my little daughter, Bashaer, between me and my wife, Zahra. Our bed was on the roof of the house facing the wide street ... I was so asleep that I saw someone tapping me on the shoulder and shaking me. I opened my eyes ... A hat-clad man with a black cloth over his face and only his eyes could be seen staring at me. I was no longer asleep. In the dim light, I noticed that he was wearing a military cover. From the same olive clothes that the Ba'athist parties wore. I was more shocked and scared. He said in a quiet voice in my ear: "Shut up, come on! Stand u and Come down quietly!”

     He went down and for a while, he became a chef taking of Iran's battlefield. It was the first time he visited Khorramshahr. They settled there so that it would not be empty and the Iranians could not enter it. The Ba'athists had advanced as far as Abadan. They saw [Iraqis] tanks and military vehicles moving fast in the morning and night. Saddam had destroyed everything. He killed lots of people in the city. The trees and the cars and the tanks were burned and nothing was left of them. Houses and shops were ruined. Animals such as chickens, roosters, sheep, cows, calves, and dogs wandered in the city and fled by Iraqi forces. Seyyed Abbas wanders in the streets and was very upset to see such sights.

      After returning to Karbala on leave, he had to prepare to be sent back to another front for forty-five days; to Qasr Shirin and then the final destination; Sarpol-e Zahab. He was sent with the members of the expedition behind the heights, one side of which was occupied by Iraqi forces and the other by Iranians, and then deployed. Seyyed Abbas's position was in a stronghold at the foot of the mountain near a tent with their commander and four officers under his command and a service force.

     These were the days when the Iranians were advancing towards them. Iraqi helicopters came and fired at the Iranian forces, the helicopters were coming up from the hills and embankments. It was a huge accident. No one was to anyone. Everyone went to one side and took refuge. When he tried to avoid danger, everything seemed to have stopped. It was as if everyone was either killed or injured. Seyyed Abbas, as always, hated the war. As he backward hardly, he saw many soldiers who, motivated or unmotivated, were rolling on the ground in their blood. All he understood was the expectation of their families. They were not alone; each had a father, mother, wife, sister, brother, and child in his mind who had also fallen to the ground. But Seyyed Abbas did not want to be like them at all. He did not want to have a fate like theirs. He strongly avoided standing in front of people like himself who were Shiites, Muslims, and human beings. One of those on the front line might have been his niece. Incidentally, one of his sisters was married in Iran and had twelve full-grown children, seven of whom were girls and the rest were boys. He had no news of them and did not know whether his sister's sons had taken part in the war against Saddam. After the end of the war, he realized that, as he had guessed, they were also on the front.

      But with this feeling, how could he survive on the front, even if his job was only cooking and delivering tea and food to the head of the unit and his deputies? Eventually, he could not bear it and fled the front, hiding in his uncle's house for a while, after which he remained hidden from Ba'athist spies for forty-five days in the garden of his sister, Ghanieh. During this time, his mother and wife occasionally come to see him in the garden and sometimes stay with him for a day or two, but when he gets tired of running from here to there and from house to house, he made a false story of injury with a sealed and signed letter from Dr. Amin, and then returned to the front.

     However, a new official order causes him to leave the POW barracks this time, but it has not been three months and a few days since he went to the new barracks that he was sent to [the Iraqi city] Tikrit. Among the prisoners, he notices the presence of a person who attracts a lot of attention:

    "He was very old and his movements and expression were calm and dignified. He was not tall, but his large personality was embedded in his slender body. The color of his aching face was bright green and it was adorned by a black and white beard.   It had a sealing effect on his forehead. The prisoners had a lot of respect for him."

     When he first heard the soft reverberation of his words, he sank into the depths of his being. His voice was very different from the others. It was slow and soothing. Seyyed Abbas, who had grown up in the shadow of a cleric father and brother, understood very well from this kind of talk and such kindness that the new prisoner has a special personality. An intimate relationship soon developed between them, and finally, Seyyed Abbas became so devoted and so eager that he asked him to introduce himself, and he said bluntly: "I am Seyyed Ali Abu Turabi in charge of the prisoners of the Iranian government. I am a servant. "Abbas had surprised by these words. He stared at her for a moment in astonishment. He then introduced himself and his clergy father and named his father's books. And he said, "... I knew you were grown up under such a man."

     The book "Bazidar" written by Mahboubeh Sadat Razavinia, its first edition was published in 2021 by Surah Mehr Publishing Company in 472 pages and 1250 copies at 110,000 Toman (Iranian currency) in a regular volume and paperback and has been sent to the book store.

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