SABAH (98)

Memoirs of Sabah Vatankhah

Interviewed and Compiled by Fatemeh Doustkami
Translated by Natalie Haghverdian


SABAH (98)

Memoirs of Sabah Vatankhah

Interviewed and Compiled by Fatemeh Doustkami

Translated by Natalie Haghverdian

Published by Soore Mehr Publishing Co.

Persian Version 2019



If until that day we had forty fifty patients in the hospital, at that time we attended three hundred four hundred patients. All the inactive wards of the upper floor were opened and used. One should see our faces. Our hands were covered in blood. Only in the time of prayers, we washed our hands and face and clothes as much as possible. If Savlon poured on the blood on our hands, the blood became dry and hard to clean. We tried to prepare ourselves for prayers by all means and said our prayers. After the prayers we returned quickly to our tasks.

On the same night, around eleven, a massive explosion was heard in hospital and surrounding area. Everybody was wondering what area of Abadan had been targeted. We were busy with the patients and didn’t have the time to go around the hospital. Around one hour later, we asked the reason of the explosion from one of the commandoes who had brought a few wounded soldiers to the hospital. He said that Iraqis have targeted the bridge of Khorramshahr so that we cannot import our forces into the city. It was obvious that our forces had put so much pressure on the Iraqis to get the city back that they had been obliged to target the bridge. We were all whispering prayers. Some said Salavat and others said Tavvasol Prayer every chance they had. We had a strange longing feeling. With this news, the countdown for the freedom of the city had started.

Since early in the morning until noon of third day of third month of spring, the commute of helicopters and transfer of martyrs and wounded soldiers to the hospital escalated. It was obvious that the war and fight had reached its climax. Nobody had any moment to rest even for one second.

Most of the wounded patients and martyrs that were brought were from Shalamcheh. Their number was so high that the dust in front of the hospital didn’t vanish for a second and it was dusty the whole time. With the same helicopters, a few Iraqi prisoners arrived. We evacuated one of the rooms of the upper floors of the hospital and placed the Iraqi wounded soldiers there. Maryam Amjadi and I were armed and were assigned to guard the Iraqi wounded soldiers.

The nurses made didn’t discriminate the Iraqi prisoners from our own patients and started their aid work. One of the prisoners was very young and had a special beard. The beard dragged from under the chin to the ear. When it was lunch time, I took him food. It was chicken with rice. The wounded patient looked at the chicken inside the plate and turned to me and asked: “Islamic slaughter?!”[1]

I got angry and couldn’t control myself, I said: “Saddam is infidel! You are infidel! Now you are talking about Islamic slaughter? If you were not a prisoner, I would have killed you myself.”

He said nothing. He was shot in the foot but his tongue was working well! He dropped his head down and ate all his food!

Starting twelve mid-day the radio had started to broadcast operation march. We were all so worried. We had heard here and there from the fighters that despite the destruction of the bridge, our soldiers had entered the city through another bridge called Freedom Bridge built on Karoon. However, the news were not officially announced and we couldn’t count on hundred percent. It was about one two hours that the radio anchor was saying: “Dear listeners, pay attention! Dear listeners, pay attention!” It wanted to attract our full attention to what it had to say.

Around two o’clock in the afternoon in the global news, finally the waiting was over and the radio anchor announced important news. The voice could be heard from all parts of the hospital. As soon as it said: Dear listeners, pay attention! Khorramshahr, the city of blood is freed, everybody started to scream with joy. The fighters thanked prostrated.

I jumped and hug Maryam Amjadi. We started crying unconsciously. Some of the nurses also cried. We had a heavy sadness from martyrdom of Jahan Ara and Mousavi and despite all cries, it hadn’t gone away, finally dropped. The sadness of martyrdom of Khorramshahr soldiers which was lying on the hospital and wanted to take our lives now had turned into tears and poured down our eyes and made us light. We hugged each other and kissed and cried. Our cries had turned to sobbing. We couldn’t believe that our city is freed, and we can return there. How we missed our martyr friends who could be here in this joy.

After a few minutes, I felt that I can’t stand anymore and have to sit down. I preferred to go up to our resting area. I went down and sat on the floor, took my pocket Quoran out and started to whisper. The faces of Khorramshahr martyrs marched in front of my eye one by one. It was as if I heard their laughing and joking voices. In my dreams I congratulated them for this victory. I had remembered Ali. Although we had heard the good news of victory, but I don’t know why I felt agitated. I remembered the hardship we had endured during the war; memory of homelessness. The sadness of this situation had mixed with the joy of victory of Khorramshahr and gave me a special feeling.

Feeling of joy and pride and sadness had filled my soul. I felt that I could not get up. I really needed a few instances to be alone. Everybody had their own world. Those who had lost their husbands or brothers were worse than the others. Just like the moment when we heard the news of victory of revolution and our joy was mixed with the sorrow of loss of our martyrs, these moments also had two aspects.

After about half an hour I came down. There were chocolates and sweets and syrup being served among members, personnel and patients. Everybody had brought what they had to share. I went towards Maryam. We hugged each other and cried again. Only God knew how we felt.

I remembered the dream I had around twenty days ago. I had a dream in which a big crowd had gathered in a point and I am their leader with a black flag. It was raining here and there. Together with the crows we went towards Khorramshahr and entered the city.


To be continued…


[1] Saddam is an infidel! You are an infidel! Now you say Islamic slaughter?! I swear to God, if you were not captive, I would have killed you.

Number of Visits: 1878


Full Name:

Loss of Memory in Pahlavi Prisons

In total, [I was in prison] about 6 years in two arrests. For the first time after several years, a soldier arranged my escape. I do not know why! Maybe he was one of the influential elements of Islamic groups. They took me to the hospital for the treatment of my hand, which was broken due to the callousness of an officer.

Hajj Pilgrimage

I went on a Hajj pilgrimage in the early 1340s (1960s). At that time, few people from the army, gendarmerie and police went on a pilgrimage to the holy Mashhad and holy shrines in Iraq. It happened very rarely. After all, there were faithful people in the Iranian army who were committed to obeying the Islamic halal and haram rules in any situation, and they used to pray.

A section of the memories of a freed Iranian prisoner; Mohsen Bakhshi

Programs of New Year Holidays
Without blooming, without flowers, without greenery and without a table for Haft-sin , another spring has been arrived. Spring came to the camp without bringing freshness and the first days of New Year began in this camp. We were unaware of the plans that old friends had in this camp when Eid (New Year) came.

Attack on Halabcheh narrated

With wet saliva, we are having the lunch which that loving Isfahani man gave us from the back of his van when he said goodbye in the city entrance. Adaspolo [lentils with rice] with yoghurt! We were just started having it when the plane dives, we go down and shelter behind the runnel, and a few moments later, when the plane raises up, we also raise our heads, and while eating, we see the high sides ...