Introduction to Haj Hossein Yaganeh in “Red Crescent”

Memoirs of Aid Heroes

Aysou Sadeghi
Translated by Natalie Haghverdian


“Red Crescent” is an oral history book where Haj Hossein Yeganeh recounts his memories in aid management in the battlefield. However, in this book, based on his observations, the audience can feel the dominant spirit of the society in the days following the victory of the Islamic Revolution. It is also possible to note the different life style of the people following the memoirs of the narrator. The objectives pursued by the author and the narrator are what distinguish this book. The author is seeking to highlight identity crisis among the second generation of war immigrants and the narrator is trying to focus on the gallantry of the Hormozgan people during the Holy Defense.


Chapter One to the End

The first chapter of “Red Crescent” covers the childhood of Haj Hossein Yeganeh where chapter two gradually explains his interest in assisting and aiding people and his perception of poverty and wealth: “I would collect the medical file of different people from the office and we would divide into groups and visit them in different districts … people who had succumbed to poverty. Children who were playing in polluted water. People who washed their clothes in well water and sometimes even drank from the same well water.” (pp. 33 – 34)

The narrator, deeply influenced by the living situation of two different social casts, gets interested in the Islamic Revolution and in a part of his memories he recounts the spirit of days following the victory of the Islamic Revolution: “In those days, we used to refer to different institutions. We were trying to reinforce our steps. We would identify real revolutionary features and organize the affairs of different institutions. Then we would receive another decree and we would transfer somewhere else…we had established night shift police shuttles to safeguard peoples’ lives and assets…” (p. 43)

This spirit very quickly intertwines with the imposed war of Saddam’s army against Iran and in the next chapters it moves towards aid activities in the fronts.

It is possible to understand different life style that people had during the victory of the Islamic Revolution compared to the present time: “Everything was different back then. Lives were based on honesty and faith, full of love and kindness. Nobody would debate over dowry and Meher. Meher was devotion and honesty and dowry was love and faith which was brought into life.”


Content of “Red Crescent”

Writing and reconstruction of this book took one year and it was due to passage of time and faded memory of the narrator from the incidents; it is a common dilemma in provision of oral history documents. Pass of time and the cloud that descends on the incidents might make it difficult to verify the truth of the incidents. The author of the book has searched various resources including internet searches and studied books and war documents to overcome this barrier.

“Red Crescent” is not merely about management of aid activities; this book is compiled by Camellia Kaki of the second generation of war immigrants and is in fact a visual picture of the feelings of this generation’s about war. The book’s author has experienced war and migration and talks about the feelings of her peers. These feelings are composed of layers of implicit human and social layers in war which includes identity crisis. The author, in part of her introduction talks about the feelings of children born to migrant households and grew up in cities other than their city of origin. They consider two cities as home and have institutionalized two cultures. Besides aid management during war, the book was supposed to cover this aspect as well; however, the concept has remained limited to only a small note in the introduction of the author.

In addition, the book talks about the hidden but profound and large impact of Hormozgan province during the beginning days of the Holy Defense so that as the narrator wishes it could be payment of debt to the people of Hormozgan province, the marines, captains, farmers, physicians and nurses who sacrificed their peace and comfort during eight years of Holy Defense: “During all these years I’ve never read a book directly talking about the role of physicians and nurses. I’ve never seen any document talking about the services of men and women who devoted their days to produce the first aid which was being formerly imported with difficulty…” (p. 20)


Endnotes, Documents, Pictures

Names of individuals are noted in the book with whom the audience might not be familiar. In order to introduce them to the audience in “Endnotes” a brief bio is provided. The book also has two chapters covering documents; one is “Personal Documents & Decrees” and the other chapter includes documents and evidence collected due to multiple responsibilities that the narrator had in the past and there are documents written or signed by him.

Pictures are also considered in order to join the content to aid the audience to connect to the spirit of the era.

In most oral history collections, war operations are named and in this book as well there are notes about Tavvakol operation (chapter six) and preliminary Valfajr operation (Chapters eight and nine). In these types of books, the Content section usually assists the audience to search for the names of such operations; however, Content is not included in “Red Crescent”.

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