Memories of Khavar Taghizadeh

Humanization factory

Compiled by: Faezeh Sasanikhah
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


I was fifteen years old when I became the wife of my cousin Mohammad. He was a municipal worker. We lived a simple and peaceful life and tried to raise our children as believers and educated. We had five or six children and a daughter-in-law when the war broke out. We stayed under enemy fire and did not leave the city. We were afraid, but we got to our business. Before the revolution, one day a week, in the afternoon, I used to go to Mrs. Islamipour's or Nane Abdul Karim's house. They had a Quran meeting. One day after the meeting, Nane Abdul Karim told me: "We will go to Shahid Kalantari Hospital with a number of women, we will wash the clothes of the wounded and doctors. If you have time, you can come with us."

I became very happy. He said to me: "The ladies of your neighborhood gather in front of Imam Khomeini's Hosseinieh. Be there tomorrow at seven o'clock in the morning to miss the service!"

I was young and full of energy. I had enthusiasm for the revolution. I did my work at five in the morning. I ate a few bites of breakfast and went to Hosseinieh. There was still half an hour until the safe service. The rest of the ladies also arrived. I was not bound by enthusiasm. I walked in Hosseinieh until the service finally came.

When I entered the laundry, one of the ladies gave me boots and gloves. I wore it and without anyone telling me what to do, I went to the ponds. Two or three people went on the bedding in the pool. They kicked them. Seeing the blood that overflowed from the edge of the pond, he mourned. Everyone was busy with their work. My eyes filled with tears. We took the sheets out of the bathroom and poured another water into the basin. I could not believe that the water of this pond would turn red. I hit my chest and said "Ya Hossein" and cried.

The ladies started to advise and comfort me. They told me: "The martyr's mother, wife and daughter are among us. But they are working patiently."

I would calm down for a few minutes, then I would look at the mothers of the martyrs and cry again when I saw a torn dress. The sadness of two or three years of war and the fear of staying under the rubble were in the corner of my heart. But seeing bloody clothes was a thousand times harder than all that fear and anxiety. I cried so much that day that my eyes became bloodshot.

I was angry at home too. I prepared dinner, but I couldn't eat it. I had to take care of my children and show myself cheerful in front of them. I went to the laundry early in the morning. I had the same situation the day before. Some women cried, but not as loudly as I did. That was my job for two or three days. One day, one of the women said seriously to me: "We cry too, but not so much. This is how you destroy yourself and others. If you want to cry so much, don't come anymore."

The sentence "Don't come again" was a hammer on my head. My anger increased, but I wiped my tears with the corner of my scarf. Without saying a word, I rubbed the spots in my hand. I got fed up and didn't make a sound while doing laundry. Not crying in that situation was the hardest thing in my life. But that servant of God was telling the truth. I had ruined everyone else's mood with my crying. After a few weeks, I became less like everyone else. I laughed together and cried together. My problem was not only crying. The smell of chemical detergents gave me nausea and a severe headache. When I got up, my eyes were black. In the evening, I would return home with severe nausea and weakness and would faint. My husband was satisfied that we wash the clothes of the fighters. My children were calm and did not take any excuses. They were eager to study and practice. I was also bored and tired of the smell of whitetax that was constantly in my head. My appetite was very low. One day I took bread and simple food with me to the laundry. At noon, the women spread a cloth in front of the laundry and put bread, cucumbers, vegetables and whatever they had brought on it. I also took the food. We sat together. They complimented each other and everyone ate whatever they wanted. I took a bite and put it in my mouth. I felt it tastes like the chemical detergent. I was embarrassed to get up from the table. I forcefully swallowed it and amused myself with a mouthful so that the ladies would not notice. In short, no matter how hard it was, I ate two or three bites. Every day I resisted more than the previous day and stopped the nausea until finally the smell of the chemical detergent and eating food in that state became somewhat bearable for me. Every night I did my work with energy. I would cook and go to the laundry early in the morning with the leftovers. Sometimes, I didn't get up for two or three hours. I would stain any clothes and bedclothes that came in front of me and put them outside the pan to be rinsed in the basin. When I got up, I walked a few steps bent and limping because of leg and back pain, and my husband's salary was low; but I kept buying the chemical detergents, boots and gloves and taking them to the laundry. I could not bear not to go for a day. In 1964, rockets hit our neighborhood again. This time our house was destroyed. Alhamdulillah, the children were healthy. We went to the area behind the market and rented a house there for a while. In the first days, I left moving and arranging household items to my daughters, and I went to the laundry with my neighbor Khursheed Qalavand. Now that I think about those days, I see that doing laundry at home made me a resilient woman. It was there that my spirit became strong and I put aside unnecessary sensitivities because of my beliefs. Truly, we the ladies of the laundry gave a beautiful name to the laundry at home: Humanization Factory[1].


[1]Source: Miralali, Fatemeh Sadat, Bloody Pool, Narrative of Andimeshkۥs women about laundry in the Holy Defense, Tehran, Rah Baz Publishing House, 2019, p. 155.

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