Book Review: “Collection of Articles of the 3rd National Conference on Oral History of Sacred Defense”

Scientific Explanation of Events of the Sacred Defense Period

Fereydoun Heydari Molkmian
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


It is common that most and perhaps all the books published in the field of oral history by the Foundation for the Preservation of Works and Publication of the Sacred Defense Values have a thought-provoking image on the front cover and possibly a selected article for the back cover in line with the contents and concepts that oral history is discussed in each work of this written series. The “Collection of Articles of the 3rd National Conference on Oral History of Sacred Defense”, which has the logo of the Islamic World Science Citation Center (ISC) on its front cover, is no exception to this rule; although in this book, the issues are presented in a more general way and from different angles.

After the pages of title, identity card and the list of the book, one or two pages have been dedicated to the names of the members of the conference ranging from the its president to secretaries and scientific board, the policy-making council and the board of referees. Then, the introduction of the Secretary of the 3rd Oral History Conference has been included, followed by the main text and ends with a limited number of color photos from the conference (only eight photos), of course, with good quality. In addition, in the second chapter of the book, some black and white images with acceptable quality have been used due to necessity in different places of the chapter.

As stated in the introduction, this book is a collection of selected articles of the Third National Conference on the Oral History of Sacred Defense, which was held concurrent with the 43rd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. The purpose of this conference is to scientifically explain the events of eight years of imposed war from the words of the martyrs and its transfer to the future generations in order to prevent the destruction of the events of the sacred defense era.

This book consists of four chapters each of which includes several independent articles (each with sources) from different authors with diverse opinions. Of course, each of these articles is accompanied by relevant sources at the end.

First chapter

This chapter includes four articles which deal with “theoretical principles and background of the oral history of holy defense”. The first article talks about the method and mechanism of the interviewer and editor in the oral history of the sacred defense. The second article deals with the central issue and problem research in the oral history of the sacred defense. The role of autobiographical memories in the oral history of the sacred defense is the topic of the next article, and the last article also refers to the role of the oral history of the sacred defense in explaining the values and culture of sacrifice and martyrdom for the future generation.

Second chapter

This chapter deals with the topic of "Oral History of Sacred Defense, Necessities and Opportunities" in twelve articles. First, the factors affecting the dynamism and durability of women's religious cultural organizations in supporting the war, and then the strategies to preserve and transfer the works and values of the sacred defense to future generations are examined. Then it's time for reviewing the role of history and oral memories of the combatants of Islam in the future research of the history of the eight-year holy defense. Then, the role of non-professional photography in compiling the oral history of the performance of the martyr of altar, Ayatollah Madani in the sacred defense, as well as the role of Martyr general Soleimani in the military balance and defense powers of the Islamic Republic of Iran, using oral history, are mentioned. Then, the discussion of the necessity of compiling the oral history of the veterans of the holy defense arena as one of the main social capitals in the Iranian Islamic lifestyle is brought up. Meanwhile, the oral history of the Air Force during the sacred defense, the requirements, challenges and solutions are examined, the role of the editor's writing skills in rationalizing the sources of the oral history of the sacred defense is considered, and the status of interviewing and recording the oral history in organizing the documents of the sacred defense is evaluated. After explaining the role of oral history of holy defense in contemporary historiography, the sociological approach of Imam Khomeini (God bless his soul) and finally oral history, from necessity to limitation, are discussed.

Third chapter

This chapter with eleven articles focuses on the issue of "pathology and obstacles to the oral history of the sacred defense". Referring to the role of the documents of the Ministry of Education in compiling the oral history of the holy defense is the first approach. After that, the discussion of the pathology of the functioning of universities in expanding the oral history of the sacred defense is raised. Identifying the ethical challenges of the interviewers in compiling the oral history of the sacred defense from the point of view of the commanders is another topic that is followed at the level of West Azarbaijan Province. Also, the challenges faced by the interviewer and narrator in the oral history of the sacred defense are discussed. Then it's time to review the book "Unknown Hero"; a work that contains the memoirs of one of the freed POWs who was a veteran of the imposed war and was published in 1398 (2019) on the order of the General Administration of Preservation of the Works and Publication of the Sacred Defense Values of West Azerbaijan. But after analyzing the function of the institutions of oral history of the sacred defense, the criticism and analysis of the book "Judge Guerrillas" is presented, which was prepared using the narrative-analytical method from two perspectives of interview and editing. The pathology of women's oral history in the sacred defense and also the pathology of the oral history of the sacred defense in the field of common borders with memory- writing are considered. In conclusion, the interviewer's challenges in the oral history of the sacred defense and the obstacles and challenges of the interviewer in the oral history of the sacred defense are examined.

Fourth chapter

In five articles, the last chapter of the book focuses on the subject of "politicization and the role of military and civil organizations in the oral history of sacred defense". First of all, the authors' rights are noticed in the works of oral history of sacred defense. After that, the discussion of surveying oral history experts regarding the management of oral history resources in archival organizations and centers is raised, which emphasizes the synchronization of the oral history resources of the sacred defense by proposing the localization of the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS) program. Also, in the following, the discussion about how to transfer the knowledge and experiences of the oral history of the sacred defense to the future generation, and the oral history of the poems of the sacred defense era is brought up. The end of the last chapter, and in fact the end of this collection of articles, is dedicated to the analysis and criticism of the book "Thirsty in Fire" from the published works of the oral history of the sacred defense. As emphasized in the conclusion of this chapter, the discussion of oral history, which is based on collecting and recording memories, is one of the methods of historical research that has an oral aspect. On the other hand, oral history is one of the great sources of historical research in the last ninety years of Iran and the world. This method of historiography in the field of Iraqi imposed war against Iran also help the present and future generations to find out how it happened and respect and be proud of it through knowing the past resistances and the bravery of the sacred defense period.

The compilation and editing of the book "Collection of Articles of the 3rd National Conference on Oral History of Sacred Defense" was jointly carried out by Gholamreza Alamati and Abdullah Esmaeeli Vardanjani, and its first edition was published in the spring of 1401(2022) by the Foundation for the Preservation of the Works and Publication of the Values of the Sacred Defense, and the Organization of Documents of the Sacred Defense in 585 pages and 100 copies.

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