An interview with Mohammadali Hajimoniri

Isfahan student’s movement (4)

Mehdi Amani Yamin
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad

2016-1-31


  • Besides this comment or analysis, is there a document that shows the lack of boundary and distinction, for example, one special picture that shows shared element between religious and leftist, or placards or slogans shows the alliance?

No, there was not document, and it was not clear in the slogans, because these events were start of protests that students would not use of the placard. The documents that their photos are there, is related to first arrests occurred at university on Azar 13th in 1356 (November 1977). Half of them were religious and others were leftist, and so were twelve persons who were arrested by SAVAK few days later.

 

  • Do you mean they were thirteen persons?

Yes, there were 13 persons on the list, but they were twelve arrested persons, and one person, that I don’t know his name, was not arrested. He was from Bakhtiari and Qashqai nation, and went to his tribe, so he was not arrested. But I don’t want to say the name of twelve arrested persons. Anyway some of them were religious and were leftist. They were arrested together. After that, the boundaries became clear a little, and I have a photo that is related to that event after a few months, in fact after the arrests. There is a photo of entire of students who sat on a table in the cafeteria to eat. This means that they were together after that event.

 

  • Were there any differences of opinion, beside of ideology or leftist tendency, among the friends who sat on a table in the cafeteria?

Well, if each persons of the university see that photo, they can find who is religious and who is leftist.

It is interesting that all students sat there to take photo and eat food on that table, they took photos and there is not any intellectual orientation to avoid of taking foots and eating food.

 

  • Of course, you should introduce the friends and talk about the trends to reach the alliance what was formed as we said.

I think, the story of Isfahan University in year 56 ( 1978-79) was an exception among Iranian Universities and that is why the students who were 18 years old could formed the political and social activities in such a small closed and isolated environment without a guide and older ones. This is my personal opinion and you can do more research on it as a researcher, and find weather it is true or not.

 

  • When the student movement was forming until Aban 1356(1977), and considering all students were new and inexperienced in student life and there is no leader, how did the movements get the purpose and direction?   

See, there were always those who were as special and indicator individuals in these movements. In fact, they have special characteristic and ability. It was not clear among religious students at beginning of movement, but I don’t know also about leftist students. Later, some became as an indicator among them. But I don’t know, in early days, if there was any leader or not. When the movement became a little clear publicly, then we recognize the indicators of leftist student at the university. But I don’t know about it at beginning of movement. It was not common among the religious students, each person used to act in different way. In my opinion, there was not a real movement to call and describe it as a lead in the year 1356.

 

  • Was not also there any leadership in Azar 56?

There was not, I think. But I don’t know about leftists, and I was not also among the Mashhad’s students to know the leadership, because Mashhad students were part of activists for movement, and have any special leader.  When SAVAK arrested the twelve students in the month of Azar at university, three of them were from Mashhad. It means that students of Mashhad consisted 25 percent of the group. I state the statistical comparison for that they play important role in the movement. The Mashhad’s students, without any leader or special person were arrested by SAVAK in 25 percent, while the Mashhad’s students of university were not as 25 percent of accepted students in current year.

 

  • Beside the relation of students with other universities and aware of events, did you have relation with Isfahan University? Were you politically oriented by Isfahan University and university around?

I cannot remember clearly, but surly we have. We have some relation with Isfahan University. I was rather aware of these relations. When we went to Isfahan, we could find these relations.  But I think that it can mainly be seen among Isfahan students, and they were acting as agent for relation with Isfahan. Isfahan’s students who were at University of Technology have wider relation with Isfahan’s students and those around and social – political events. But some students, as Tabriz’s student, or I who came from Mashhad, could not be able to communicate with the main part of Isfahan community very soon.

 

  • Was this situation related to first one-two months of life at the University of Technology?

Yes, sure. I remember, there were some students that have several relatives in Isfahan. It could be a woman who had married and came to Isfahan and or could be a man that was living in Isfahan due to some reasons.  For example, if someone was a doctor; s/he could be a bridge to familiar with Isfahan’s students. For instance, Abdolreza Mohajeri Mokadam (my GOD bless him) who was one of the students, and died in the war on Khordad 1360 (July 1981), his nickname was “Abdi”, and my close friend; we were together all the time. He had a relative in Isfahan that he was a doctor. I don’t remember why he has come to Isfahan. Abdi and I usually went Isfahan to see him, and it was our only relation with Isfahan, otherwise we haven’t any relative to relation with there.

Keep in mind; today is year 1394 (2016) that we are speaking about those days. The country was almost small for us; we could feel Mashhad in the Tabriz. The two distant parts of the country could communicate with each other easily. Even, you could find a relative person from Mashhad in Tuyserkan and anywhere else. But the divisions of the country were different in the year 1356, and there were rarely immigration of nations and people. At the time, there were a few people who were kept from these divisions, or if they had come to Mashhad, it was to visit the tomb of Emam Reza. Or Mashhad people would travel Isfahan to have a journey. It was mostly happened that someone immigrated or got married from each other city. If a person was from Mashhad, he would never stay in Isfahan. There were a few relations between these cities. In year 1356 if I'm not mistaken, all students, who were arrested from entire universities, were thirteen thousand persons. The thirteen thousand persons compared with   million numbers that universities are now accepting, is low rate. Today, for instance it is possible that one  university( for example, The Islamic Azad University) can accept the students from different cities, and the student come from all cities of the country, and they are able to familiar and get married with each other and then will be relative. Those days were not like today. At the university, the students of Isfahan were an agent for relation to Isfahan city and revolutionary center. I can say that it have gone on that way in early months.

 

  • Death of Haj Mustafa Khomeini was another event that occurred in Aban 1356. There was held a funeral for death of him at the Isfahan University, and SAVAK combated them, and it was also happened in Isfahan city. What about your university? Was held any Specific funeral for death of Haj Mustafa Khomeini at university?

As far as I remember, there was not any Specific funeral. Reactions were just in the room, but privately not collectively or officially. We are speaking about year1356 when there was not possible to hold the overt political ceremony. The people might be recognized in there and SAVAK were everywhere. There was a ceremony attended by ten or fifteen people. It means that the number of people who could be gather in a room and read the Quran in that time of night, for example. It was at this limit. For instance, they declared there was a Quran meeting, and then they maybe talked about the some other issues. Even they did not talk about these issues before the meeting to increase the number of participants, because if they talk about the issues, it was possible there were an informer and news would be leaked. The meetings usually were held by religious students.

 

  • Was a certain statement distributed and stuck at university?

One declaration, with title and content of « Shahid Mustafa Khomeini is died», was stuck on the doors and walls of university after death of Haj Mustafa Khomeini. But declarations were written by hand, and these were usually written that somehow nobody recognized the students.  

 

  • Was it handwriting of inventor or innovator?

Yes. Such as typing letters that handwriting could not be recognized. This method was very common and students would use it. But activist students knew each other, and wrote these issues together, but we often wrote secretly before. Initially, one or two of students usually wrote the declarations, and when students have become familiar with together, and when we were not going to publish the declarations, we were sitting together and wrote the issues and we should stuck them on doors and walls of halls. But sometimes one or two students wrote the declarations by hand.

 

  • Were the declarations written by hand?

Yes, all the declarations were written by hand.

 

  • Were the declarations published?

Not at all. We were not able to publish.

 

  • How about year 1357?

We were also not able to publish them in that year, unless the declarations would be published outside and brought them to university.  

 

  • Were the declarations sent to university after published from outside of university?

Yes. Something I remember of universities in year 56 is that all declarations were handwritten and not printed. But during the death of Mostafa Khomeini, I do not remember a funeral held at the university, but remember that some declarations were stuck on doors and walls that it specifically was in the month of Aban 56.    

 

  • At that time when the nascent student movement was forming at university, how was the studying situation about dominant movement? What books and pamphlets did the leftist and religious students study? Where was the Status of shariati books among them?

See, at the beginning of the year 56, when the movements were forming and religious students had known each other, there was not any course of study. I don’t know, but surly there was also not any course among leftist student.

 

  • Probably, they were looking for the course of study stronger than you. Weren’t they?  

Yes, they were. Since they had experience in it. In year 56, some movements had formed among the religious students when they knew each other. Protests and declarations caused the religious student got a little closer relation together. See, the climate of that time was a climate of fear. It means that you feared to talk about your course of study, even with a religious student. Because it could be led to social movement and social movement could be led to political one. There were such fears for presence of SAVAK.

I insist that one of the reasons in which movement developed more quickly among the Mashhad students than other students was alliance and unity among them, it was a factor that other students didn’t have. There is a simple example that: we wanted to go from Isfahan to Mashhad after the exams. One of student took a bus and brought it to university, and then students rode the bus and travel to Mashhad. The students went all the way down into Mashhad. This behavior was not seen in the rest of the students of other cities. None of the Ahvaz, Shiraz and Tehran students acted something like this. Everyone used to travel alone. About 80 percent of students were come from Tehran but they did not acted like this, and always traveled to Tehran individually or with small groups. They said we would go and bring a bus to university and would ride it, and write in front of it: “Mashhad students’ bus line”. These features were not in other students, but there were other reasons. First, there were not leftists among Mashhad students. Second, religious students trusted each other quickly and this was one basis. I want to say a memoir: “One night, we went into the room of one of the student, Mashhad students were roommates, and did not live to other dormitories separately, and they did not hesitate to live together”. The result was that I was with two other students. There were three Mashhad students in our next door, and also there were three other Mashhad students in the next room, we were all together. These rooms were called “bottle” that included of six rooms that Mashhad students had taken all six rooms. The dormitory has some parts that included six rooms that each of these six sets were called Mashhad “bottle”. Eighteen students could live in one bottle, where totally eighteen persons could live in six triad rooms. One night, we were four students with couple of other friends that I can’t remember their names now, went in one of the rooms and saw one of the students, that we weren’t classmate in high school and didn’t know each other, was sitting lightly, and without fear of SAVAK or such things, that it was possible, SAVAK open the door and come into room to see what book do they read? What was spread on the floor? And what tape did they listen? And was writing the declarations, and was not careful about who comes and who does not. We were quite surprised that: «Who is it?». After this event, we named him “Ostad” (skillful), and he was always being called by this name, now he is called “Ostad” still.

When the students were writing the declarations, they took a paper with another hand to cover the declaration quickly and start the practice of a mathematical question on the paper or pretended to practice or study another lesson, and also books would be opened, if someone came into room suddenly. When Ostad was writing and we we went into the room and say hello, he responded but didn’t greet us warmly and was writing his own declarations. We were shocked or wondered there. I do not remember what he was writing, but he was one of the religious students. We came out and said to ourselves: “who is it? He how brave he is! It caused that he was always being called as title “Ostad”, and then we paired up like a friend, and it has been continuing until today, and he is our closest friend.  

 

To be continued…

Isfahan student’s movement (1)

Isfahan student’s movement (2)

Isfahan student’s movement (3)



 
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