Book Review


Reyhaneh Mohammadi
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


"Rifleman"[1] is the title of the memoirs of Ali Hassan Ahmadi, which was published under effort of Alireza Kasraei and Surah Mehr, the Office of Culture and Resistance Studies in Kermanshah province in 2019.

Ali Hassan Ahmadi is the author of a famous and thought-provoking photograph of the war[2], which sparked the writing of his memoirs. He is a Basiji[3]during the Ashura operation in Mimak[4], when he realizes that the Iranian forces are trapped and ambushed by the enemy, tied his foot to DShk machine gun using a field telephone wire to be martyred or to stop the enemy fire. This book is the result of about 200 hours of interview with this sacred defense fighter, written in eighteen chapters.

In the first chapter of the book, entitled "Lilmanj, a village full of memories", the narrator describes his childhood memories from 1963 to the end of 1981, that is, his admission to the Revolutionary Guards. The second chapter of the book is called "Kurdistan, the beginning of the covenant" in which the memories of taking a training course in the Tehran Revolutionary Guards and then being sent to Kurdistan to fight against counter-revolution are mentioned.

The third chapter of the book is titled "Martyr Beheshti Battalion in Sanghar", which tells the story of entering the Sanghar Corps and then entering the Abu Dharr garrison in the winter of 1983. The fourth chapter of the book is entitled "Bodyguard", in which Ali Hassan Ahmadi describes how he received a protection order from Hojjatoleslam Morad Ali Ahmadi, a representative of the people of Sanghar, and then returned to the front.

In the fifth chapter of the book, the narrator's engagement story is described and in the sixth chapter, the memory related to the narrator's famous photo in the Ashura operation is mentioned. In a part of this chapter, we read:" I told myself that the enemy was firing so severely intensity that if I came back this time and wanted to bring the bullets, I may not have the courage to stand behind DShk machine gun. I decided to tie my left foot to the base of the gun by that piece of wire. I have made a promise with God in my heart that I will not give up until I am either killed or the enemy's artillery is stopped."

The seventh chapter is dedicated to the narrator's marriage story and the eighth chapter of the book deals with his memories from Abu Dharr garrison to Guzil height. In the ninth chapter, Ahmadi talks about how he was sent to Majnoon Island, and the tenth chapter of the book is dedicated to memories from the hot weather of "Hur" to the cold weather of "Kato" in 1985.

In the eleventh chapter, the narrator recounts the memory of his injury on April 17, 1986, in "Sumar" and gave a detailed description of how he was returned to the back of the front and sent to Sepahan Hospital in Isfahan. The twelfth chapter of the book is called "Fire at the disposal of Karbala 5 operation" which deals with the narrator's memories of this operation. The thirteenth chapter of the book, entitled "Battle of Fires and Bavarins", is dedicated to the memories of Operation Karbala V and the events on Bavarin Island.

In the fourteen chapter, entitled "Ambush in the Wheat Field", Ahmadi narrates the memories of being caught in a counter-revolutionary ambush in the wheat field in Oshnoyeh. The fifteenth chapter of the book is dedicated to the memories of the resistance of Iraq in "Bulfet". In the sixteenth chapter, entitled "From under the snow of the heights of Sardasht to behind bars of prison", the narrator recounts his memories of taking four storehouses from the Housing and Urban Development Institute to deploy IRGC forces and next.

In the seventeenth chapter of the book, the narrator reviews the events of Operation Valfajr 10 and expresses memories of helping the wounded and injured in the chemical attack in Halabja[5]. The eighteenth chapter of the book, which is the final chapter, is entitled "With a wounded foot in Mersad" and it deals with the events after the adoption of the resolution and the operation of Mersad. Pictures and documents are the ends of this book.

The book "Rifleman", with 844 pages and a price of one hundred thousand tomans[6], has been made available to those interested.


[1] Here it means someone who uses a DShK machine gun for shooting.

[2] Iraq imposed war against Iran

[3] Volunteer soldier

[4] It is the name of heights in the Ilam province of Iran, which is located at the zero points of the border between Iran and Iraq.

[5] It is a city in the Kurdistan Region and the capital of Halabja Governorate, located in Iraq about 240 km northeast of Baghdad and 14 km from the Iranian border. The city lies at the base of what is often referred to as the greater Hewraman region stretching across the Iran–Iraq border

[6] Iranian currency

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