The 338th Session of Memory Night -2

Guy of the Mall

Adjusted by Sepideh Kholousian
Translated by Ruhollah Golmoradi


The 338th Night of Memory titled “Bache Bazarche (Guy of the Mall)”, hosted by Mohammad Hossein Mahmoudian and attended by the fighters of Hazrat Ali Akbar (AS) Battalion from the 10th Seyyed al-Shohada (AS) Division, was held in Hozeh Honari’s Sooreh Hall on Thursday August 25, 2022.

The second narrator of the session was Dr. Majid Rezaeian, one of the commanders and veterans of Hazrat Ali Akbar (AS) Battalion. At the beginning of his speech, he said, “When they told me I should share a memory in this gathering, I remember an influx of different memories, and my serious problem was choosing one of them. Narrating a memory before the commanders and warriors who were in that battalion is a much more difficult task than speaking in other circles. Therefore, I will tell you a memory of martyrdom of one of my friends in Hazrat Ali Akbar (AS) Battalion. The point that Mr. Chapardar made about life of the martyrs was interesting. Especially that he mentioned a martyr who may not be known to many of his comrades in the battalion.

The narrator continued, “Hazrat Ali Akbar (AS) Battalion presented Islam and the Islamic Revolution nearly 480 martyrs during the holy defense, more than 430 of them have been identified so far. Is there anybody who don’t know martyrs Alireza Amoli, Javad Rahbar Dehghan, Moslem Asadi, Mohammad-Baqer Agha Ahmadi, Mehdi Einollahi, and other warriors who were in this battalion for a long time and finally achieved the highest degree of martyrdom after various operations and numerous injuries? But, beside these loved ones, we had martyrs who were truly unknown. They joined the fighters of Hazrat Ali Akbar (AS) Battalion in anonymity and died a martyr while no one knew them.

The narrator then said, “One of these loved ones was the precious martyr Mohammad Ali Riahi. He was one of the guys of Shahr-e Rey and the only son of his family. Before joining Hazrat Ali Akbar (AS) Battalion and started serving there, he was working in the operation intelligence of the division and according to his expertise, mostly tasks of preparing map and calk for various operations were assigned to him. I did not know him before he joined the battalion. One day, Mr. Mostafa Babaei told me that one of the guys of operation intelligence is going to visit you and prepare for the operation as a force among the guys. That same day, I saw a tall young man coming towards our tent. The first time I looked at his face, his wounded eye, which indicated his injury in previous operations, caught my attention.

We had many loved ones in the battalion who were present in the region despite the wounds and heavy injuries from the previous operations. Riahi also joined us. According to his background, he was appointed to serve as a deputy in the operation. The upcoming operation was Karbala-8. Many of the guys who participated in Operation Karbala-8 were those who had been wounded in Operation Karbala-5 and had still come to this operation with the dressing of previous wounds. The troops went to the region and were stationed, until the time of the operation, in the trenches in Shalamcheh, west of the canal, where we had completed the supplementary phase of Operation Karbala-5 almost a month ago. It was April 1987.

As I said, this operation was in a way a continuation of the various stages of Operation Karbala-5 and to achieve part of the goals that were not achieved in the previous operation. Anyway, the midnight passed and the time to move toward the enemy line had come. Regarding our previous presence in the region and also the fire that the enemy had poured on the location of our guys, namely “Nasr Company” forces, that evening, we knew we would face heavy fire from the enemy. Therefore, we decided to organize the troops in a special way so that the pillar did not disorder, and it was supposed Riahi would move at the head of the pillar. The brother Mostafa was also assigned to organize bottom of the pillar and I was also with the guys in the middle of the pillar. As we were passing by the fighters' trenches, I saw Moslem Asadi, the deputy of battalion, next to the trenches of commander. There, we exchanged our last words, which were nothing just kidding, and we went to our embankment. That is, the place from where we had to move towards the enemy.

The first people of the pillar had not been left our own embankment when suddenly a huge amount of fire by the enemy rained down on the area. Cannonballs, mortars, and other weapons of the enemy covered the area in large quantity. Other dear friends have mentioned many times about the fire of this operation. The fire even took the opportunity away from the troops to crawl. It was as much as that at any moment, when a bullet hit the ground and exploded, another bullet would immediately hit the ground in its place. It was a strange scene. But even though a large number of troops were wounded or martyred there behind the embankment, the pillar continued to move within the troops. First, a group of loved ones was moving in front with our brother Rahman Beiranvand. Behind Rahman's troops was our group.

We were not far from the embankment when, in addition to curved fire, the enemy’s tank and RPG bullets hit the pillar of troops. The number of martyrs and wounded was increasing moment by moment, but the troops continued their way. We were not so far from the enemy, and according to some estimates, it was 120 to 130 meters or even less. What slowed down the movement was amount of heavy fire by the enemy, and the casualties and martyrs. We reached a point where I felt the pillar had almost stopped. At that moment, I saw Riahi, who ran to me from head of the pillar and said there is an improvised minefield in front of the guys.

The enemy had laid such a field the night before we reached the main minefield and we did not know about it, so some guys of the company had entered to this field and had been injured. We ran and reached leader of the column. The scene was as he had described. I saw guys of our platoon lying on the ground. Under the fire of the enemy and light of flare, I also saw Hajj Ruhollah Qomi. He was the old RPG shooter of the battalion and we counted on him a lot. I saw him lying down and not saying anything. He was much older than me. I respectfully said to him, “Hajji, won't you come and we can go together? He didn't say anything. But he gestured with his hand and I saw due to a mine explosion under his feet his leg had been injured and fallen on the ground. However, he was silent and did not say anything.

Because we had not yet reached the enemy's line, we quickly passed the improvised minefield. Mohammad Ali Riahi was also coming behind me. When we crossed the minefield, I saw on the other side a part where some of the soil was apparently gathered by a loader in the past and stored in another part. In other words, there had been formed in it a mound of dirt and a very small embankment, and where it had been hollowed, rainwater of the previous nights had accumulated. I ran ahead. When we crossed the minefield, I passed this small inundation and reached the embankment along with some other boys from the battalion who had arrived before me. While jumping from the inundation, I noticed Riahi fell into the water. But I was not very surprised. I was looking in front of me. Next to me were also Rahman Beiranvand, Mohammad Reza Taherlou, and a number of others from the first and second platoons of Nasr Company.

Considering that the operation was in such a state, it was not possible to continue the path from the place they had determined. So we looked for a new path. I saw the distance between two of the enemy's trenches more than others and I felt maybe we could continue the path from there. As I looked towards the enemy's trenches, I began to speak with Riahi and said, “We can take the guys forward from there.” But Riahi was silent and did not say anything. I felt a bit offended. Consider that heavy fire and the special circumstances that had occurred. The distance between the enemy’s embankment and us was less than 10 meters. I was about to lose my temper and ask why are you not paying attention? But as I came back to address him, a mortar flare was lit above us, and when I turned back to see Riahi, through light of flare, I saw when he had stepped on the improvised minefield in the last step and he shattered his leg and that’s why he had fallen in the water. But he had dragged himself silently to the embankment next to me. When I looked at his leg, I saw a little below his knee had a very bad situation. It is natural when a person is inflicted on such an injury, he shouts and expresses his displeasure for such a complication in his physical condition; But he didn't say anything to keep the morale of the few guys from that company that we had managed to get there.

The narrator continued, “When I saw his injury, I quickly started dressing him. I pieced together the remnant of his leg and tied with a Keffiyeh in order to at least stop bleeding. We have seen these scenes many times in the war and it was nothing strange or new. The thing that I always emphasize, and the part that was and still is amazing to me, is that when I bandaged his leg and stopped the bleeding, he said, “What should we do you said?” I really felt unsettled here. I didn't know what to say. How far was the peak of sacrifice and epic creation of the guys? He, who had been injured in one eye in the previous operation and his leg was in such a condition in this operation and could not talk about continuation of the operation, now that he felt less pain, he was thinking about rest of the operation. I urged him to go back, but the more I insisted the more he denied. Finally, I said, “You have to go back. This is what the commander tells you.” He accepted reluctantly. Where he sitting on the embankment, he slowly turned back. I watched him for a while to see if he was going or not. I saw he crossed the inundation, and in the same position in the minefield, he slowly crawled.

I had not returned yet, when someone said something, and before I returned, a mortar hit back of my head. I was also injured. I no longer had to ask anyone for permission and I had to act myself. I started rolling slowly. I passed the inundation and was retreating on that minefield. When I was coming back, I reached Riahi, who was crawling. I called him I am moving, you come behind me. I rolled and came back thinking that he was also moving behind me. When I retreated ten or twenty meters, two of our comrades named Kazem Basir and Yusuf Aghaei saw me and helped. But there was no news of Riahi. As I said, his sight was limited to one side due to his injury in the previous operation. Later, I heard Riahi, as he was coming back, had hit by a TS-50 mine from the same side he could not see and had died a martyr. The pure corpse of this honorable martyr remained in the same roasted plain of Shalamcheh for many years.

At the end of the second narrator's speech, the host said, “In this operation, we had a battalion called “Meisam Battalion" in Hazrat Rasool (PBUH) Division, which composed of 450 people, and I had the honor of to be with them there. The night after the operation, when we got together, it was Mid-Sha'ban and they had a celebration for this occasion. Of these 450 people, almost 100 returned. Many of the guys either had died a martyr or injured in Operation Karbala-8.

To be continued ...

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