A Piece of Memories of Masoumeh Ramhormozi

I Did not Cry for My Brother That Day

Selected by Faezeh Sasanikhah
Translated by Ruhollah Golmoradi


Ismail came home in the darkness of the night of October 19, 1980; we had a potluck that we all ate together. The time of Eid al-Adha was near. Our family with eight people was halved. Ismail had put his hand around my mother's neck and was joking with her, and sometimes he said serious and wise words. Ismail had changed his behavior, and after 27 days of the war, he had grown extraordinarily and reached intellectual maturity. Until the middle of that night, we talked and laughed about our childhood memories.

On a summer day, Ismail and I went to the library by a bicycle. We went to Yazdi Dairy on Sayyahi Street and drunk soft drinks and ate cake. The seller, who was known as Yazdi, said to Ismail: “How is this girl related to you?” Ismail also replied, “What is it to you, scoundrel? Yazdi followed us. Ismail was pedaling speedily and I rolled on the floor laughing and I was also petrified. Yazdi vituperated and followed us up to Abolhasan square. At that time, Ismail and I were both in elementary school. Remembering that memory, we laughed too much that night. But Ismail's laugh was bitter, Ismail said: “Does God forgive us for harassing people and causing to run the poor old man?” He no longer talked out of happiness and carelessness, considered also the mischief of his childhood, and asked God forgive him. We all woke up at the time of call to prayer in the morning. Ismail did Ghusl of martyrdom with the stored water. My mother got angry and said the baby water is little. Why do you use it in this way? Ismail said: “Today, I have to go out of the house with the ghusl of martyrdom. Be satisfied with me.” We all assumed the events to be normal. He said a warm goodbye to everyone; he even asked for forgiveness from Shahin’s mother and father, and Javad Rami’s mother. He wanted everyone to be happy with him.

As he was walking away from the house, he looked like a tall man holding a gun.

That day Seddiqeh was sick and did not come with me to take food. I went to the hospital alone. The sergeant was waiting. I took the gun and got on at the back of the pickup truck. We went to Firouz Club. Like the previous days, the pickup truck was full of food. On the way, in front of the morgue above Taleghani Hospital, two people stopped the car and asked the sergeant some questions. We also fed them. They were very happy. They were in charge of the mortuary. Before the war it was the place where Mehr Ice Cream was kept, but when the war started corpses of the martyrs were taken there and it was changed to Me'eraj-e Shohada (ascension of the martyrs).

They didn't know so many things about progress of Iraqis and asked the sergeant much about it. Finally, we continued our way. Up to Kut-e Sheykh[1] the situation was like Abadan, but after Kut-e Sheykh, Iraqis fired heavily. When we crossed the bridge, we entered another world. The beautiful bridge of Khorramshahr and the beach road, which was a place of recreation and entertainment for people before the war, were empty and abandoned. Before the war, the best sandwich shops were there. Whenever we went there, we used to buy sandwiches, soft drinks, and samosas from Zaer[2] Jassim's kiosk. Zaer Jassim knew our family well. We were his customers at least once a week. We used to ride boats and go around Arvand Rud (Shatt al-Arab), and Khorramshahr people used to travel across the water to Kut-e Sheikh by boat. I was afraid of heights. Whenever we went, suggested by Eshagh, for a walk on the bridge after boating and eating food, I would hold a family member's hand tightly and not look down, otherwise I would get dizzy. Everyone enjoyed walking on the bridge, except me, who passed the bridge with fear.

When I was looking at the bridge and the river from the back of the pickup truck, I was surprised because of the fear of heights at that time. When we entered Khorramshahr, the driver stopped the car at an alley. I got off, took the bags of food from the boxes, ran in the alleys, and distributed them. We always take some food to the Grand Mosque. We reached Grand Mosque near the Dhuhr (noon) Adhan, I don't know if it was Eid al-Adha or the day after; it was on Sunday, October 9, at 12 noon, when I saw Ismail in front of the Grand Mosque.

The sound of explosion did not stop for a moment, and walls of houses and buildings around the street collapsed in front of our eyes. The mosque had been also damaged. No one was calm. Everyone was running and shouting. I did not expect to see Ismail; It was the first time I accidentally saw Ismail in Khorramshahr. His hair was long. Blonde hair fell on his forehead and covered his long and thin neck. By the beginning of the war, he had become thinner. He was driver of a Land Rover and his friend Javad was also with him. Javad was Ismail's close friend and classmate. They were always together in the days of September-October 1980/Mehr 1359.

We had left each other in the morning; but as if we had been away from each other for years. We ran toward each other, hugged and kissed each other. “How long haven’t you seen your brother?” asked the sergeant. “From morning to now,” I said. He was surprised, and said, “You Southerners are warm and loving people. Your hot city has affected you.” I asked Ismail, where did you go? He said he brought some injured people from Taleghani lane to the hospital and returned, and now he is going to other neighborhoods to help the injured. Ismail had eaten in Taleghani Hospital and was full. We went our separate ways. Allahu Akbar of the noon Adhan was heard of the mosque. As soon as we went, a mortar exploded in the middle of the street, the dust covered everything, and sound of falling quivers around us could be heard so well; I couldn't see anywhere for a few minutes.

I heard Javad shout. He shouted: Ismail ko ka (means brother), Ismail ko ka. I went there. Apparently, Ismail was healthy, only a drop of blood drawn in the form of an aura on his face to under his eyes. He didn't speak or move. My childhood playmate and dear brother seemed to had fallen asleep. My throat was burning. My temples, my head, and my whole body were burning with intense heat, but I didn't say anything. Javad put him in the back of a pickup truck and drove away from us so fast that for a moment I felt I was left behind. I jumped in the back of the sergeant's pickup truck and quickly went to Taleghani Hospital. When I arrived at the hospital entrance, I saw Javad left the emergency room. He was banging his head on the bars in front of the emergency room and called Ismail. I realized the same one drop of blood did its job. I remembered that on the September 24, when the Education Department was bombed, Ismail, Javad and Jamal Rami went there to help. They collected the pieces of the martyrs' bodies and put them in the bag. Ismail had told Javad how dear these martyrs are, who were torn to pieces in the way of God. Javad, I don't deserve to be torn into pieces; I ask God I would die a martyr with just one drop of blood. The same one drop is enough to wash away my sins. Yes! A small piece of quiver hit Ismail's big heart, a drop of blood spread an aura on his face, and his wish was fulfilled. Ismail was sacrificed; with the sound of the noon call to prayer, with a drop, while he prepared in advance, and with Ghusl of martyrdom. How soon after 27 days after the start of the war I lost my brother. That day was the last day I visited Ismail. I controlled myself; I didn't want to cry. There was no place and time to cry; I didn't want to cry but I liked to scream as much as I could. I argued with Javad, and told him: “Stop. Not being so impatient, everyone is looking at you; Ismail got his wish.” The sergeant was surprised, spoke up, and said: “Are you the one who was so impatient to see her brother after being away from morning till noon and now you are talking these words? Why he shouldn't cry? His friend died a martyr. You also have the right to cry for your young brother!” But I did not cry or shed a tear that day.[3]


[1] A neighborhood in Khorramshahr that is located before Khorramshahr Bridge.

[2] In the dialect of southerners, Arab men are called Zaer and Arab women are called Zaereh.

[3] Source: Ramhormzi, Masoumeh (2006) Last Sunday.Tehran: Sooreh Mehr Publication. p. 52.

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