“Mehranjoun” in Holy Defense

All Warriors of One Village

Aysou Sadeghi
Translated by Natalie Haghverdian

2016-9-11


“Mehranjoun is the story of the passion of youth in a village to participate in combat in fronts during the Iraq imposed war against Iran. From behind school bench, they go to military training and from there to military operations. Some of them return and some are martyred. The book defines the efforts and experiences of these youth in the fronts by the story being told by the narrator who was one of the young soldiers at the time.

 

Efforts for Deployment

"Mehranjoun" which begins with the presentation of facts and figures of the martyrs of the village, first describes the efforts of couple of teenagers trying to enlist for war and how their efforts failed: “My father was standing within an arm’s length and there was no chance to run away. Once we looked at one another, he smiled. He grabbed my wrist before I could stand up. Despite my expectation of feeling his heavy hand on my face he kissed my forehead and said: “Son! I told you a hundred times; it’s not your time to join the army, you didn’t listen.” (Pages 50 and 51)

All the boys in the village were excited to join the fronts and would compete in their efforts and some secretly started their journey. Sadegh is one of the teenagers who left with no notice and then writes a letter to the narrator to check on everyone in the village: “He asked me to write about Mehranjoun and August spirit. It was the first time that I read about humid weather and figured the meaning later. But, I never wrote him back. I wanted him to be yearning for an answer to that letter. How could I write anything to someone who had left without saying a word and let him know of what was going on in Mehranjan and its river and swims in the river?” (Page 67)

 

Fronts

Eventually, it was time for the author and his friends to enlist so that he can write in “Guild” about the first dinner with his battalion and then receiving his package of clothes: “I received Kalashnikov and a grenade launcher and four magazines, sash cord, helmets, rescue cans, jar of Sh.m.h, and a backpack and shovel and pick to dig a trench. I had all those in my hands and walking out the tent they handed a mask with awnings bag and again I had to sign forms and put my fingerprint on them. Looking carefully I figured it is difficult to carry all of them.” (Page 107)

The trainings they receive also fill pages in the book: “I couldn’t remember words like Atropine, Emile Nitrate and some others. It took me a while to figure the smell of each chemical agent. For instance “blood agents” smell like fish ad spoiled vegetable and “Nerve agents” smell like perfume.” (Page 124)

Operation days and preparation for it are other topics of the book which include writing a will and other ceremonies prior to the operation. Meanwhile, the author spares to detail: “There were buses lined up and assistant drivers holding wooden handles wrapped up in gunny would cover. It was an interesting scene. Usually, people wash their cars to remove dust and mud but it was different there; the assistant drivers would prepare a big pit of mud and using the gunny on the wood handle they would cover the body and windows of the car by mud.” (Page 177)

 

Author’s Observations in the Fronts

The book contains the observation of the author of the environment he was in. The buses filled with soldiers are specific images. The bus passes through different cities. Sousangerd is one of those cities of which only ruins have remained: “The city was quiet. Just like mid-spring when rural population would migrate. I saw a man dressed in while with a turban on his head leaning to the wall, watching the buses go by; or a woman who was carrying a heavy domestic gas cylinder on her head.” (Pages 179, 180)

The battlefield is different, special and unknown ambiance for the young author and his fellow soldiers. They would find something out of potential dangerous situations to joke about: “The worst moments were when the bombs of two Iraqi MiGs landed around us and set fire. Two bombs landed very close and if detonated, nothing would be left of me and Zabir. But we only felt it landing on the ground but there was no sign of explosion. We got naughty and went to check it out.” (Page 245)

The book starts with the passion of the author to enlist, end with him and couple of other soldiers coming back to Mehranjan village. The family is excited and happy: “People had gathered in a queue to receive gifts[1]. Mom was very happy and excited and she would fill pots of Champa rice to the full and give it to people. Even those who arrived late didn’t return empty hand.” (Page 262)

 

Figures in the First Pages of the Book

The issue highlighted in the first pages of the book is about the martyrs of Mehranjan village and the figures are presented generously to the audience: “Of 9 martyrs that Mehranjan village had sacrificed to that point, seven were from Imam Khomeini middle school… Morad Heydari, who was the first martyr of the village and his head, was cleaved in the operation of liberating Khoramshahr …. Habibollah Nejati and Nazar Mahmoudi were two other martyrs …. Amin Mahmoudi was martyred shortly after Morad in the operation of liberating Khoramshahr who was former student of the same school and studying in the Shiraz Nomadic High school… Hojatollah Zarghami was another martyr…” (pp. 10-11)

These sentences are presented with wide gaps; however, the audience perceives that the author has tried to provide a list of the martyrs of the village in his memoir and despite his effort to present a brief description of their individual characteristics, the content is rather close to a statistical list and the author has failed in his effort in this part.

 

Mehranjoun in Brief

The book (Mehranjoun) mostly focuses on one or two military operations. One is Valfajr 8. (p. 231) The operation mostly highlighted is Karbala 4 which repeatedly appears in various pages (pp. 201, 205, 209, 246, 248, 251, 253, 259) and in some areas there is comparison reference: “Everything was different. After Karbala 4, I had to carry lighter load compared to previous operations. Then we used to come back with loads of grenades and magazines and now all grenades and bullets were fired. In previous operations battalions and units were full of soldiers but now, the rows were empty.”

“Mehranjou” has different chapters; the titles of those chapters are selected based on the content presented in each chapter but the book has no initial content list which is one of its major disadvantages. There is no profile either; it would be appropriate to present a short introduction by the author about the book content and the process of compilation.

In chapter “War Visuals” we see pictures of the author and his fellow soldiers from Mehranjan along with the pictures of the martyrs.

One of the benefits of “War in Figures” is that the names of the martyrs, veterans, was hostages and soldiers of Mehranjan are listed.

The section on “Martyrs of Mehranjan Village” contains the names of the martyrs and the place of their martyrdom. Also there is a section which contains the information on the war veterans which include their names and type of injury and disability and also a section where the name of war hostages is stated along with the organization they were serving. The section of “Mehranjan Soldiers” contains personal information and the occupation of the soldiers during the imposed war of Iraq against Iran and also describes their current status which is an invaluable reference.

 


[1] It’s a tradition to distribute sweets or rice, etc. among neighbors, friends and families once there is a happy event in a family.



 
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