Book review: Resolute for Three shifts

Memoirs of Hamid Kamranzadeh

Fereydoun Heydary Molkmian
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


The book's title and the image of a desk watch, in a not-so-complex harmony, create an expressive and meaningful design that adorns the cover of " Resolute for Three shifts ". The book begins with a short text from the narrator's handwriting, which, while introducing the work and pointing out how it was emerged, also mentions the involved people. Then, the following subjects have been included respectively: the author's introduction, the text of the memoirs, and the appendices (including: images, sources, and indexes). The remarkable point is that the photos, although black and white, are of excellent quality. Of course, it would have been better that according to the usual pagination routine, the "indexes" were included immediately after the text of the memoirs instead of at the end of the book.

When the narrator (Hamid Kamranzadeh) was a teenager, he worked full time with his father in his grocery store, but after a while, he felt that his ability was beyond that. He did not want to be limited to his father's job, until he finally moved to Rasht from his hometown – Fooman - at the age of twenty-two, and with a little of the capital he had saved, he began working in building construction.

However, after a while, he found out that he was able to expand the extent of his activities. He decided to look for working with road construction machines, and when he saw that he could use a set of bulldozers, rollers, graders, and other items, he bought a number of the machinery with the funds provided up to that time, and his work flourished very soon.

Since he had a good income, after a while, he decided to go for Hajj pilgrimage due to his religious background and inclinations, but for the Hajj trip, some preparations were necessary. He had to know exactly what he was going to do about self-purification. The question was always raised for him whether, in spite of the capital he has provided, he could be truly eligible in the world of celibacy. What steps did he have to take to perform Hajj? Although he really liked to go to Hajj, some questions had made him stay.

He worked in the city of Rasht, but since his parent lived in Fooman, he was not going to reside in Rasht and used to go back and forth to Fooman every day. In these going back and forth, he decided to ask his questions to an informed cleric, and who better than the nobleman who had been exiled from Shiraz to Fooman a year or two ago for opposing the Shah's White Revolution and campaigning against the Pahlavi regime: Ayatollah Sheikh Mohieddin Ha'eri.

The ayatollah lived in a small house in an alley on either side of which had always stood two police guards and was obliged to go to the police station and sign the attendance notebook every morning and evening. At the police station, he was asked who was coming to his house. This factor caused less people to visit him and it was not so easy to meet him.

He remembers very well the first time he visited the Ayatollah: Ayatollah Hae'ri was sitting in a small and simple room on a patterned Ziloo (rug) and leaning against the corner of the house's wall. There was a coffee table in front of him, and next to it were several volumes of books, most of which had been written in Arabic script. A mat had been spread in the porch of the house and the room had a pleasant warmth.

"I introduced myself. Ayatollah was happy to see me. It is interesting for him to meet a young man at this age who is full of aspiration and passion. My excuse is to study, I kneeled down that I want to know a little and this became an excuse to be his student in a golden opportunity once a few days and sometimes once a week. I felt my world was getting bigger and bigger. One day, during his usual conversations, he made a point that was strange to me until that day. He told me, "Build yourself for an Islamic state!" I showed my surprise with a smile. I said, "I have good income, Haj Agha! Thanks God, I do contracting works, I have big machines, loaders, and construction equipment. So how do I build myself?"

Mr. Ha'eri Shirazi smiled and said, "No my son, not such things! You must focus your attempt on ethics and self-purification! You must make an effort for the victory of a state which topples this false rule!" … he was speaking so languorously as if he was backed by somewhere: "See my dear, if you build yourself, and another builds himself, the community gets ready. When God sees the people's readiness, he provides facilities for them according to their ability and readiness, and takes pity on them. He does a favor to the people. If the people makes an effort and topple the regime, they have someone who runs the government … it is important that you and people like you must build themselves for the Islamic state."

The words by Mr. Ha'eri Shirazi did not correspond to the silence and tranquility of the city and the situation of the streets and the music of the radio, everything spoke of the Shah moving towards the gate of civilization! But is there anything under the skin of the city that I do not see? My curiosity was aroused. I liked to know more. Mr. Ha'eri gave me all this drop by drop."

Thus, "I have been discouraged from what I was doing since I got familiar with Ayatollah Ha'eri Shirazi. As the struggle became more serious, I rented the company ..."

He went to Hajj pilgrimage; After returning from the House of God, he felt that he should continue those enlightening meetings more, but the exile of Ayatollah Ha'eri Shirazi had come to an end and he returned to Shiraz. However, when he had relation with Ayatollah Ha'eri, he was informed that some well-known figures were in exile in neighboring cities. He went to see Ayatollah Sheikh Mohammad Yazdi and Hojjatoleslam Khalkhali in the town of Roudbar and succeeded in meeting them. After the meeting and raising the issue of the exile of Mr. Ha'eri Shirazi in Fooman, a trust created between him and Ayatollah Yazdi and Mr. Khalkhali. From then on, he went to Rudbar on holidays to see the two.

He met Seyed Ahmad Khomeini for several times during these meetings and found out that Seyed Ahmad's meeting with the exiled ulema were among the programs and missions which had begun after June 1963 and the protest of the clergies against the exile of the Imam and in this way, he became more familiar with the path of the Imam. Since then, Kamranzadeh was supposed to receive the leaflets and treatise of Imam Khomeini (God bless his soul) to Ayatollah Yazdi who saw that the grounds were prepared for the transfer of his messages, and deliver them to the interested people in Gilan Province especially in Fooman. He was well aware of the consequences. The provincial police had announced that if they saw Haj Agha Ruhollah's leaflets and treatise in the hands of someone, he or she should be tried as a foreigner. He would also be sentenced to three years in prison. It was during these days that he and, of course, other revolutionaries became more active. At the first opportunity, he obtained fifty treatises to deliver to the people of Fooman. It was natural that he had prepared himself for anything. Fifty treatises, each three years in prison, would be one hundred and fifty years! but no; These could not stop him from fighting.

The efforts of the revolutionaries were productive. The nation did not tolerate the Shah's oppression, and gradually the whole country became the scene of mass demonstrations and mass marches. The marches in Fooman also symbolized the unity of the tribes; Talesh, Tat and Gilak! The people even came from nearby villages to express their opposition to the regime. In addition to cooperating for organizing a march in Fooman, he went to some cities of the province to take photos and messages of the Imam on one side, and to prepare the ground for marches in those cities on the other side.

Good news was received from Tehran on the night of 21st of Bahman 1357 (February 10, 1979). The people invaded the Eshrat Abad Garrison and arrested a large number of SAVAK agents. The SAVAK headquarters in Rasht had also been seized. As the Fooman's police station was seized, the first core of the revolutionary forces was formed to manage the city. Such cores had emerged in most cities. Those who had been imprisoned by the Shah for some time and had now been released from prison like Mr. Ha'eri joined the people and became leaders of revolutionary movements.

The city of Fooman was inflamed even after the surrender of the police. Kamranzadeh and his friends knew well that this inflammation had to be consciously calmed down so as not to create a ground for disturbance by thugs and dissident gangs.

"Aware of such news in the country, our efforts to improve the situation in the city increased. Each of us took responsibility for something. Our prediction of the victory of the revolution was correct. Every day there was a conspiracy to divert the revolution. I and all those who were involved in leading and managing the revolution in Fooman were involved in organizing things. I had in mind what Mr. Ha'eri Shirazi had said: "The accomplishment of the Islamic government and self-purification!"

With victory of the revolution, during a meeting held in the venue of the police station, a committee was supposed to be set up aiming at both organizing the security situation of the town and living problems. It was renamed the Revolutionary Committee after other committees in other cities. Some fourteen or fifteen like-minded young people formed the core of these committees. Like any other city, the analysis of the revolutionary forces was that in connection with the clergies, a strong link would be formed between Fooman and Rasht, and as a result, the Tehran Revolutionary Committee. Based on this issue, the coordination for the establishment of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) was formed; the idea that came from organizing the Revolutionary Committees. On the other hand, a message had come from Tehran that Imam Khomeini had ordered the formation of the Revolutionary Guards to protect the interests and ideals of the Islamic Revolution. Thus, the same group that formed the committee in Fooman was tasked with forming the Revolutionary Guards. Kamranzadeh, while a member of the Revolutionary Guards Council, also undertook support works and regularly attended IRGC meetings with other members.

While they were heavily involved in administrative, and construction and cultural works in Fooman, one day a verdict was brought to him from Tehran, entrusting him with the responsibility of the Imam's Relief Committee. In March 1979, its central core was formed in Tehran, and from the spring of 1979, it had to start working in the provinces with the aim of "eliminating deprivation from the country and supporting and helping the deprived and the oppressed and making them self-sufficient." When he received the verdict, he coordinated with the revolutionary forces of Rasht and came to the province. Since he had close ties to most of the revolutionary forces and those responsible for organizing the marches in the cities, he was soon able to obtain their consent to establish a branch of the Imam Khomeini Relief Committee in other cities. In fact, with the encouragement of the Imam's office, a serious determination emerged to eradicate poverty; however, paying attention to the deprived was expensive for the grouplets. They hoped to get help and strength from the deprived strata of the society, but they saw that an institution called the Imam Relief Committee had sponsored many interests of the deprived strata to the Islamic Republic. Since the revolution became victorious, the political situation in the province changed too. After the Islamic Revolution, Gilan needed a redoubled and comprehensive effort, and Kamranzadeh was given a broader mission. He, together with the Imam's representative in the province, the governor and several others formed an innovative and spontaneous council called the Council of Institutions, which worked to monitor the problems of the province and make a jihadi effort to solve them.

But with the beginning of the war, another crisis entangled the country and the province. The provinces which had the capacity to accept war refugees had to be prepared. During this period, Kamranzadeh, as the head of Immigrants' Affairs, played a decisive role in the placement, management of housing and welfare of war migrants in Gilan province. His jihadi method of management was accompanied by sincerity, empathy, struggle and diligent effort. He considered this teaching of jihadi management as a knowledge of the Islamic Revolution.

His sincere and humble expression, when he goes back the past, is clearer and more eloquent than any narrative of a revolutionary figure and always reveals his work: "Over the years, because I was involved in the affairs of the deprived people of the province and the war migrants and other administrative works, I did not realize what happened to my machinery and tools. Apparently, the office had been transferred to different institutions several times. Finally, I forbore them. Of course, it was not easy to abandon them. Before the revolution, I never thought that someday I might work in the administrative system. I always had a negative approach toward being a government employee. I said how it is possible for a person to work half a day and go and rest from two o'clock in the afternoon or go for a walk in the park. Working is permanent. Working must not know day and night ... We were in the service of the revolution round-the-clock. Our interest and love for serving did not know day and night ... so I was completely at the disposal of the revolutionary affairs. However, believing in working for the revolution was not for obtaining personal income, we felt useful as soon as we saw that the people were satisfied with the system …"

The interview of "Resolute for Three Shifts" has been conducted by Davood Goli and the text has been compiled by Mahmoud Ranjbar. The book was first released in Shahrivar 1396 (August 2018) with the attempt of the Foundation for Preserving the Works and Propagating the Values of the Holy Defense in Gilan Province by Sarir Publications (Tehran) in 140 pages and 1000 copies.


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