An Overview of the Book “Forsan”

Oral History of the Ear Cutters in Ilam

Fereydoon Heidari Molk-Mian
Translated by Ruhollah Golmoradi


"Forsan" has a simple and almost faded cover that looks yellow and is designed using a photo in the appendices; According to the caption, when we carefully stare at its pale components, gradually, we see a group of operation intelligence guys and a number of warriors — some standing and some sitting — appear in front of us as if from the mists of the time.

In the opening statement of the acknowledgement, and using precise and deliberate words such as “exercise (in Persian: Mashgh)” and “exemplar (in Persian: Sarmashgh)”, the book emphasizes openness and honesty, which is also linked to self-sacrifice and also love:

 “To those who wrote the exercise of self-sacrifice and love with their blood so that it can be an exemplar for today's people...”

In the acknowledgment, thanks and appreciation are given to those who humbly put all their efforts in order to make this research come to fruition or who cooperated in writing this book. In addition, on the next page, Ilam’s general director of Preservation and Publication of Values ​​of the Holy Defense, while addressing the geographical and strategic importance of this province as the communicational and support axis for the south and northwest fronts, emphasizes its special position in the holy defense; likewise, in the end, he appreciates the efforts of those who dedicate their pen to the sacred defense and its indicators, especially the author of the book “Forsan”.

In the introduction, it is stated this research in the field of thematic oral history is a description of the Forsan group, known as the ear cutters, who during the eight years of the imposed war, made Iran's middle front insecure and caused terror by cutting off ears of the military and civilians. Members of this group were a combination of gendarmerie forces of the previous regime and protestors who sought refuge in Iraq after victory of the revolution in 1979. Those who had previously served in the border posts, they were fully familiar with all the border lines and gaps in the internal front, and they could easily travel in these lines. In fact, they knew most of the outposts, winter quarters, springs, straits, grooves, and even Ilam shepherds and took advantage all of these as their trump cards. Their job was to ambush in different areas and cut off one’s right ear after wounding or dying a martyring. Although in the beginning, the terrible significance of their actions was not clear and no one told them ear cutter; but these cut ears were actually a document that they took with themselves to prove their actions and handed them over to the Baath party; sometimes they even received a reward from Saddam himself etc.

Of course, in the early days of the war, the Iranian army also formed a guerrilla group to confront the enemy. Those who sometimes penetrated alone to the depth of twenty kilometers of the enemy's territory, laid mines in an area, and returned to their own territory by destroying a part of the Iraqi army's equipment or positions. They bravely attacked the enemy line and after inflicting damage, the enemy had also casualties.

Although the present book only includes the first volume of the oral history about the ear cutter group, the author adds in his introduction that this book is originally compiled in two volumes, and both volumes are the result of interviews conducted with the veterans of the operation intelligence battalion and the prisoners of Forsan.

In this book, during the interview with the past fighters, the author tries to deal with the events in detail. But since many years have passed since the war and the narrators did not remember much, in some places he suffices to it.

The author tries to present exactly words of the narrators in “Forsan” so that the readers can understand nature of the Forsan group and their performance. He also states this book is actually the only research that deals with professionally the Fursan group in the field of oral history.

Since, in addition to the research on the Forsan, it was necessary to know the narrators better, there is a short description of their lives, activities, and memories during the eight years of the imposed war.

The book consists of three chapters, and apart from the first chapter, which is small in size (fifteen pages) and deals exclusively with the history of Forsan, the other two chapters include most of the book and each is divided into several narratives. The final pages are also dedicated to the appendices including black and white photos with good quality with captions, and also resources.

The first chapter discusses the history of Forsan. At the beginning, first of all, the literal meaning of Forsan is addressed: “Forsan is the plural of Fars. Fars means horseman, turfman, and warrior. Name of this name goes back to a group of horsemen called “Furusiyya” in the Middle Ages.”

Then origin of the Forsan group is mentioned. After that, with the definition of guerrilla and guerrilla warfare, as well as explanation of military and paramilitary operations by local forces in the occupied land, it is referred to as guerrilla warfare. Also, with reference to the objectives of guerrilla warfare, the necessary conditions for successful guerrilla operations, characteristics of guerrilla warfare (surprise, intensity of action, mobility, and dispersion) and operational principles of guerrilla warfare are listed. Even mentioning examples of guerilla wars in Spain, Russia, France, and the Islamic Republic of Iran, he finally deals with nature of the Forsan guerrilla group:

“After victory of the Islamic Revolution, some of the border guards and gendarmerie and police forces, most of whose workplaces was in the border of Ilam, could not bear this victory, and few of them were willing to deal with the Iranian government. So they sought refuge in Iraq, and with the support of the Baath party, especially Saddam al-Tikriti, they stood against the IRI and started creating insecurity on our front and border.

In the second chapter, narrative of the veterans (narrative of the warriors) is considered. This chapter includes twelve narrations from twelve narrators, each of them, while introducing himself, his origin, and his family, mentions his activities in the revolution and his participation in the imposed war.

The last chapter also includes five narratives of the prisoners of Forsan; Narrations of those who were once captured by the Forsan group and had good information about this group.

The book "Forsan" (Volume 1) was written by Batul Mirzaei; it was ordered by the Ilam’s General Administration of Preservation of Relics and Publication of Values of Sacred Defense. The book was also published by IRGC (Ilam), Amir al-Momenin (A.S) Division, and Soorehehaye Eshgh Publications. It was released in 482 pages, 1000 copies, with a price of 800,000 Rials, and in a normal cover and octavio size.

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