SABAH (101)

Memoirs of Sabah Vatankhah

Interviewed and Compiled by Fatemeh Doustkami
Translated by Natalie Haghverdian


SABAH (101)

Memoirs of Sabah Vatankhah

Interviewed and Compiled by Fatemeh Doustkami

Translated by Natalie Haghverdian

Published by Soore Mehr Publishing Co.

Persian Version 2019



Chapter Twenty Five

After the victory of Khorramshahr, Taleghani hospital forces returned little by little. Lots of forces were coming from Tehran voluntarily. Little by little the situation of the hospital changed and practically there was no need for our presence and the shortage of aid workers and helpers had been eliminated.

Starting the first month of summer, Alireza Ahan Koub had come to Abadan and had rented a house and had brought his sisters, Nahid and Neda, with him too. When I saw that the situation of the hospital is improving and our presence is not necessary there, I decided to quit the hospital. With the liberation of Khorramshahr I felt relieved and relaxed. On the other hand the severe pains of stomach did not leave me. The doctors in the hospital said that these pains are due to nervousness and I have to be away from the stressful environment of the hospital for a while. Besides that I wanted to study for the entrance exam of the university.

Therefore I went to the Basij office of Abadan and applied for a month leave. I said that I wanted to attend to my studies and my entrance exam. They didn’t approve my leave. They said that they can not grant me leave for that long. I explained to them that I have stomach ache and I need this leave to stay away from the atmosphere of the hospital, but they didn’t accept. When I saw that they don’t agree, I quitted without applying for leave. I didn’t care what kind of reaction was going to be.

When I quitted the hospital, I was with Nahid at their house for one month. Their landlord was one of the far relatives of Alireza’s friend. He had a bit house with around six hundred meters in duplex and luxurious. Rear the house was a small separate building with a bathroom and toilet for the janitor of the house. Nahid, Neda and I were there. When Alireza and his friends came home, they went to the main building; and had no interaction with us.

It was the third month of summer of 61 (1982). I went to Ahwaz to pay a visit to Ms. Islami. I was there for a few days. When I wanted to return to Tehran to my family, Mr. Islami It was the third month of summer of 61 (1982). I went to Ahwaz to pay a visit to Ms. Islami. I was there for a few days. When I wanted to return to Tehran to my family, Mr. Islami said: “Don’t you want to stay in Ahwaz?! You can start working in Islamic Propaganda Organization of Ahwaz. We really need committed forces like yourself here.”

I started thinking. I had the previous experience of working with Mr. Islami in Islamic Propaganda Organization of Khorramshahr. I liked to do a service there.

I started working in Islamic Propaganda Organization of Ahwaz and was active for about six months. There was a unit for females where two young women called Taheri and Hojjati and a woman from Abadan whose name I don’t remember, were working. Our office area was a small six square meter room. We were responsible to make files for clergy who were dispatched from Ahwaz to different frontlines of Khuzestan. Mr. Hosseini was in charge of this unit but he left after a month and Mr. Mohammadi took charge.

One day when we were in our office, Esmat Jan Bozorgi came. She had heard from Nahid that I was there. We were so happy to see each other. She said that she had come to Ahwaz to continue her studies and get her diploma. She had rented a house. We went to her place with Esmat. It was not a house but a small room in an old house; the windows of the house opened to the pleasant shrine of Ali Ebne Mahziyar.

Esmat’s landlord was an old woman who had a single daughter at home and had given two of the rooms to her son and daughter-in-law. The wall of Esmat’s room was made of black concrete which was colored in navy blue. Since the room was dark even during daylight, she had to turn on the lights during the day. A while later, Soham and Zahra, Esmat’s younger sister who attended primary school, joined her.

Before going to Esmat’s place, I was a guest in Mr. Islami’s family. One of those days, my mother and father and Shahnaz came to Ahwaz to Mr. Islami’s house to visit me and them. My father was feeling better and was a driver for the army and commuted between Tehran and frontline with heavy vehicle. My father had said that since his son has been a member of army before being imprisoned, he didn’t want to leave his job undone, and has come to offer his services. They had welcomed his offer and due to his experience in driving heavy vehicles, they had sent him to the logistics department of the army.

It was the second month of autumn of year 1982 when I decided to participate in the entrance exam of the university. Once when I had gone to Tehran, I bought a series of test books on chemistry and biology written by Engineer Tofighiyan and brought them to Ahwaz. Before the revolution I knew these books. When I had some leisure time, I read them and did the tests.

At the beginning of third month of summer and prior to the entrance exam, Mr. Islami bought three airplane tickets for Shahnaz, me and his wife to go to Mashad. There was a direct flight from Ahwaz to Mashad. He stayed with the children so that his wife could rest a bit. We had a lot of fun in our three days trip to Mashad. We were a few days away from the entrance exam of university that we reached Ahwaz.

During the last three days, I closed my books and didn’t study. When I had the entrance exam, I was satisfied with my performance. My exam location was Jondi Shahpour university of Ahwaz. I had to wait for the results.

One day I heard on the radio that the hypocrites have done a bombing operation in Toup Khaneh square in Tehran and some of our fellow-citizens have been martyred. I stayed at Esmat’s place most of the time on those days. With her and her sister and Soham. Sometimes Ms. Islami objected. She wanted me to stay more with her. My mother called Ms. Islami house to see how we were doing. I asked her about the bombing incident, she said that we were sitting in the house on that day when we saw that the Koushk building trembled. Then we noticed that the hypocrites have placed a bomb in a trailer and have blown it in the Toup Khaneh square. The strength of the blast had been so severe that the telecommunication systems had become dysfunctional for a few hours.

On the first month of the winter, my mother, father and Shahnaz came to Ahwaz again. Fouziyeh was busy at school and Saleheh was active in Tehran and Qom army. I was still working in the Islamic Propaganda Organization. Shahnaz had taken one weak off and had asked one of his coworkers to act in her place. They stayed for four, five days and returned.

It was twenty ninth day of last month of winter of year 1361 (1982). Shahnaz came to Abadan for vacation again. We had decided to spend the New Year in Abadan graveyard for martyrs just like previous year. We set out towards Abadan. In Kafisheh in Abadan, exactly opposite the police station, we heard an aerial shot and cannon. People shook hands and kissed each other. We were standing there and were watching the humming in the public when a car stopped for us and asked where we were going, we said martyrs’ graveyard. We got in.

In Abadan martyrs’ graveyard, all citizens of Khorramshahr had gathered. Families of martyrs Abkar, Mousavi and Arjaee were also there. We went to grave of Mahmoud Farrokhi. We were saying prayer for the dead that Fereshteh called us. We went to his brother’s, Ali’s grave. Her mother and two of her younger sisters were also there. We shook hands and kissed. Fereshteh told her mother: “Mother, Sabbah is the last person who has seen Ali. Sabbah please tell us a bit from Ali!”

My heart dropped. What could I tell to this mother who had lost a dear one. I was angry with Fereshteh. I didn’t know what to say and Fereshteh’s mother said: “dear Sabbah! I have heard that my son’s body has been lying in the burning sun for twenty days …”

I didn’t let her continue. I said quickly: “mother, if I want to tell you about the situation of your martyrs and his comrades, you will think that I wanted to protect you and I am not saying the truth, but I swear to God, the body of Ali and the rest of soldiers, didn’t resemble to bodies who had been in the sun for twenty days.

This means that with the will of God, nothing bad had happened to them. Their skins had been sunburnt a bit. God had given them so much attention that they resembled as flowers. I think that this is because of your son’s and other soldiers’ faiths. It is not only me saying this. You can ask all others who have been there on that day and they will say the same as me. You are so lucky to have such children.”

I talked and Fereshteh’s mother was crying silently. Poor woman gazed at my lips. You could easily see the envy of not being able to hold her son for one last time in her eyes. Her meeting with her son was postponed to doomsday like Da. I leaned on Ali’s grave to say Fateheh. As I was whispering Hamd verse, Fereshteh said: “Sabbah! Congratulations on your success in university entrance exam!”

  • What?! Have I been accepted?!

She said: “Yes! Didn’t you know?! I saw your name in the newspaper myself. How come you don’t know?!”

I said: “I knew that the results were supposed to be printed today. Shahnaz and I were supposed to follow up this issue after visiting the graves, are you sure it was my name?”

  • Definitely! How many Sabbah Vatan Khahs do we have! Students had bought the newspaper for their own names and I saw your name there. I think you have been accepted in midwifery.

Fereshteh was studying art in Tehran University at that time. I think she was studying photography. I said: “Really?! Interesting!”

Shahnaz and I went to Shohada hotel. I saw the newspaper there. I had been accepted for an associate degree in midwifery in Sari. Although this specialty was my own selection but I had no information about it.


To be continued …


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