The 333rd Night of Memory – 3

Sepideh Kholoosian
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


The 333rd show of the Night of Memory was held in Sooreh Hall of the Art Center on Thursday 5th of Esfand 1400 (February 24, 2022). It was hosted by Davood Salehi and attended by the family and comrades of the martyr Seyed Ali Akbar Mustafavi. In this ceremony, Mr. Qomashlooeian and Brigadier General Seyed Hessam Hashmei recounted their memoirs and the book "Still Roaring" authored by Zahra Abedi, published by Janat Fakkeh, was unveiled.

In continuation of the show, the host spoke about martyr Mustafavi and said, “Each of us who are here and either knew Martyr Mustafavi beforehand or have known him right now, our role is even higher than the book that is being unveiled. That is, we are obliged to talk about this person with these characteristics to our friends and say that a villager grew up so much that he was entrusted with the protection of a valuable figure such as Imam Khomeini (God bless his soul). It has been said about him that somewhere, before Imam Khomeini (God bless his soul) got into the car, the Seyed himself shot the car. When asked why, he replied, "I wanted to see how safe this car is."

In continuation, the host invited Brigadier General Gholam Hossein Darbandi to recount his memoirs as the third narrator.

Regarding his first connection with martyr Seyed Ali Akbar Mustafavi, the narrator said: one day, the respected martyr Sayad Shirazi the Haed of the Institute for War Education told me that I want to bring someone till you interview him. I myself invite him, and you respect him too. That was the first interview I wanted to do with him after his captivity. Martyr Sayad Shirazi emphasized to me that this man has been martyred twice!

When Mr. Mustafavi came, the first interview took some four hours. I had not seen him until that moment and did not know him; but when I saw him in the Institute for War Education for the first time, I introduced him to Haj Agha Hossein Pour. In the words of the Supreme Leader who had addressed Mr. Kazemi regarding the book of the memoirs of Ezat Shahi: "You brought a dusty city out of the ground", Haj Agha Hossein Pour also fulfilled his mission in this regard. Martyr Mustafavi was one person who was present in all scenes. This can only be done by a person with a firm belief and a lover of the Ahl al-Bayt. Before the revolution, he was a revolutionary figure who had the power to go under the guise of the Imperial Guard and to be in the first circle of protection of Farah, that is, in Sa’adabad Palace, and to be trusted up to this point; however, he was a close follower of  Imam Khomeini (God bless his soul).

In a memory, he said, “In the days when Bakhtiar was in office, I said to myself that I must do a revolutionary measure. The song “Khomeini O Imam” had just been played at that time. The Shah had not yet left and fled the country. There were no digital recorders or speakers at that time. I recorded this song several times in a row with the same big Alba tape recorders and a cassette tape, and when I was the guard officer of Farah Palace and the first ring of her protection, I hung it with a rope from a tree branch and pressed the on button. At midnight in the darkness of Sa’adabad Palace, suddenly the song “Khomeini O Imam” was played with a loud voice. Everyone had been confused. In fact, he was a revolutionary figure before the revolution.

He was also the same after the revolution. He said to himself what I could do and saw that the most important thing could be to protect the life of the Imam (God bless his soul), which means to protect the life of the revolution. He returned and was appointed as the head of the guards of the Imam's House because of his excellent skills, physical fitness, and shooting for which the United States and the Soviet Union were behind him. It was even under his supervision that in Qom, plans were made to protect the Imam's life. In the chaos days when the Imam said, "Do not say anything, even if they tore my picture," the group launched a protection plan.

After the beginning of the war, he saw immediately that the enemy was going to occupy the cities; so, he concentrated on this. The Seyed along with people like Amir Hashemi and other war combatants came and freed the cities one after another just like martyr Haj Qassem Soleimani who stood up today and took up the commandership of the operations and cities and in my interpretation, he took the two countries out of the dragon’s mouth with power. That time, someone like martyr Sayad Shirazi was found and took the commandership of the operations and hired people like the Seyed and freed the cities like Marivan, Saqez, Baneh, Sanandaj, Piranshahr, Sardasht and so on which had been occupied one after another.  

They expelled those who controlled the radio and television, the barracks, the governorate, etc., and who committed all these crimes. After obtaining permission from the Imam, the Seyed also appeared in this scene. Amir Hashemi said that with that 120mm mortar, the Seyed hit the enemy in a cave with the second mortar. It is very difficult to go up with a mortar and hit the target again, because it does not have a foresight to simplify the task. However, with a second bullet, he targeted the counter-revolutionary cave. When Marivan was freed, we decided to see who would be the first to enter the city to identify the possible presence of the enemy? Martyr Mustafavi went on top of a personnel carrier and entered it. He even stood on top of it so that if they wanted to fire, they would shoot the first person. Then, he started reciting the holy Quran on the personnel carrier, and behind him, the units entered the freed town of Marivan. When the Seyed had gone to get the permission of the Imam, he had not allowed. He says: the words of the Imam are a proof. Sometimes the Imam understands and feels something that we do not know what it is. The Seyed even had cried, but the Imam had not allowed him to leave. So, he had asked Haj Ahmad Agha to go and get his permission from the Imam. I'm not a man to stay here. He was told: you are now in the best place. Where do you want to go? And the Seyed had said: I want to go for jihad. Finally, Haj Ahmad Agha had been able to get his permission. But the Imam had said: my heart is not satisfied. But you can go if you want. The Seyed left too and was taken as captive in direct clash with the enemy in Sumar. As the narrators said, he was in captivity for ten years. You can see that his revolutionary works before the revolution in the Imperial Guard, and then in Kurdistan, and after that protection the life of the leader of the revolution and now the captivity are the scenes of his presence which the narrators have witnessed them.

The Seyed had the highest duration of captivity for ten years and the highest percentage of disability namely 70 percent. And then, according to the Supreme Leader, he continued the path of jihad to explain and raise awareness and enlightenment. He was present step by step in the caravans of Rahian-e Nour (visits to war zones from the time of Iraqi imposed war on Iran in the 1980s). Young people came and learned about Mr. Mustafavi's cultural jihad until midnight. If you look at the articles that Seyed wrote, they are articles with a revolutionary spirit that severely expose and blame arrogance. The Seyed challenged the arrogance. He also tried for Islam despite his physical conditions. Spiritually, until the last moment of his life, he did not lie in bed for a day and did not express pain. The last thing about Seyed is that he loved the Ahl al-Bayt. He was the standard bearer of the IRGC and the Basij, and he carried the proud banner of "There is no God but Allah" of Islam and at a time when all lives are filled with cinematic messages and tricks and ostensible propaganda, he is the one who can be modeled on the policies and messages of his life, his perseverance, his courage, his manners and his way of life, which were all over the truth. He lived in such a way that when his body was taken out of the General Staff, the people shouted a religious elegy about Imam Hussein (PBUH)

In the final party of the ceremony, the host invited Mrs. Zahra Abedi, the author of “Still Roaring” to come and talk about the book and the character of Mr. Mustafavi.

Mrs. Abedi said, “I thank God for helping me write about a man who was a living martyr. In such a program, we miss martyr Mustafavi who himself was the writer of articles and a member of the editorial board of the Fakkeh Monthly and was familiar with media work. We also miss martyr Sayad Shirazi whom Martyr Mustafavi was very interested in and who started narrating upon his suggestion and the invitation. The inclusion of the names in the book, at the insistence of Martyr Mustafavi, was due to the fact that the development of this border and region owes to these names. He focused so much on the names of the other martyrs in the book that he said, "Do not talk about myself." He was a martyr who, according to Haj Qassem, lived a martyr life. His life and his outspokenness and courage in telling the truth were very commendable. If he knew something was right, no matter for him what character was standing in front of him at all and he was not afraid to say it. The next issue for him is the leader about whom he had no joke and was his red line. He never put his feet further than him. Greater than that was his love for Imam Khomeini (God bless his soul). He was a man of purification of oneself, and I personally witnessed him say to the youth around him: Go for piety and take sports seriously after purification. Mr. Seyed himself was a sportsman until the last years of his life. I remember when we went to a desert with the editorial staff, there was a hill of sand and most of them were young, but in the sand where the foot sank, the first person who could climb was Haj Agha Mustafavi who reached the summit.

In response to the question of the host who asked: Was there a place in the book that was difficult for you to write? Mrs. Abedi said: "As a woman, I can say that it takes a lot of perseverance for a person to leave his wife and his life and dedicate himself to Islam." In part of the book, I’ve written that the Seyed’s wife told him: I thought there would be a revolution and you would relax and everything would be fine. But he had replied: In fact, our work has just begun and it is just the beginning. Those parts were heavy for me. The issue of their captivity was also very heavy. If an ordinary man is imprisoned for ten years, it may be that even if he were not imprisoned, only his normal life would be disrupted; but a person like Mr. Mustafavi, who was an expert and well worth of the war, was captured on the first day of the war. In my opinion, this is the biggest and most difficult test he can put in it. He did not like to come to Iraq during our trip. During that trip, Mr. Mustafavi fell asleep on the bus and suddenly woke up with a shout; because he had dreamed, he was captured again. He said that he could no longer bear to be captured again.

Regarding when and how the book’s content was collected, Mrs. Abedi said: Martyr Mustafavi due to his special status, had several demands from different organizations for publishing the book, but he opposed them. About six years ago, on an occasion, I decided to compile one of Mr. Mustafavi's memoirs to be published in Fakkeh monthly. After the publication of that article, he liked the writing style very much and the memoirs related to his operations in Kurdistan were to be published in a series in Fakkeh monthly. We chose the title “Still Roaring” for the series of articles and perhaps it was the best title for the memoirs. These memoirs were published and it was supposed to turn into a book with approval of Mr. Mustafavi. We interviewed for about 100 hours, which was in different pieces and had to be connected. With about 30 hours of extra interview, to which we added the childhood and adolescence section and his entry into the Imperial Guard, ‌ continued until the moment of captivity. One volume was supposed to be worked on until the moment of captivity, and the second volume was about ten years of his captivity, at which time Mr. Mustafavi's illness began and the process slowed down. The first volume was almost ready. He studied and approved it and pre-publishing works were carried out, but at this time, Mr. Mustafavi passed away. Since he was not present anymore so that we could complete the part of his captivity, all of his narrations in the trips of Rahian-e Nour and his speeches in various trips was collected and turned into one volume. The captivity part may have flaws in terms of content, because we didn’t have the final approval of Mr. Mustafavi. Thus, we asked the dear freed POWs to transfer to us any memories or points about it, so that we can correct them in future editions.

At the end, I will say a short memory that expresses his character well. Mr. Mustafavi had told me several times lately: I am not afraid of death at all and I am fully prepared for it, because I did my duty, and even if I am given a new life, I still do the same things I did and do not need any opportunity again. That is, he was so satisfied that I said to myself, what does man want other than this heartfelt satisfaction? Mr. Mustafavi left us in this mood.

At the end of the show, the book “Still Roaring” was unveiled in the presence of the wife and child of martyr Seyed Ali Akbar Mustafavi as well as Amir Darbandi, Amir Hashemi and pilot Karim Abedi. After reading part of the book, the host said, “One of the values of this book is that in addition to the interview with Mr. Mustafavi, some of his memoirs have also been collected and written. The beauty of this book, along with the behaviors full of emotions and courage of this honorable freed POW, is the existence of images related to the memories.”

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