Excerpts from Memoirs of Abdullah Salehi

Selected by: Faezeh Sassanikhah
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


On the 28th of September 1980, in the back alleys of the Taleghani [Khorramshahr] neighborhood, we clashed with Iraqi artillery. Speed of action was important. If we reacted late, the rackets would hit us. Sometimes I lurked behind the alleys so that I could surprise the Iraqis. In one of these ambushes, I turned off the car so that they would not hear his voice. I was waiting for the head of the truck to be found across the street. There was a crying sound from the side alley. Some families had not yet left the city. I turned on the car and walked slowly down the street. It was a dead end. I went backward so as not to be surprised. I reached the front of the house. I got off and knocked on the door when I suddenly heard the sound of a pick-up truck coming from the main alley. I ran to the car. I had no escape. The alley was a dead-end and I had to fire the first person with the same bullet. The truck reached the end of the alley. The screams and cries of the people in the house became louder. They had heard the sound of the truck and were more afraid. I do not know if the crew had heard their voices or seen me. The truck turned into an alley. I shouted or pressed the trigger. The bullet was fired and the car bomb exploded. Two of his Iraqi driver, who had caught fire, jumped out [the truck]. They ran a few meters and fell.

     There was no place to stay. The Iraqi personnel carrier must have been in the lead, and their tanks were coming soon. I quickly evacuated those in the house. They were an old man and an old woman with their grandchildren. I said:

- There is no opportunity to stay, you have to go!

- We do not have the means, otherwise we would have gone by now.

- Got on, I can take you.

      We walked towards Khorramshahr Bridge. I was going at full speed. Every time a bullet hit the ground, the old woman and the children screamed. We reached the bridge. A car was ahead of us. We were a short distance away and I could see inside. They were a family. The asphalt on the bridge was so shot that it was filled with deep potholes. He could not go fast. However, the car in front crossed the bridge at high speed. There was a distance between us. I used to say under my breath to go across the bridge and get my passengers safe. On the other side, I saw that the same car in front had caught fire. Maybe he was hit by a mortar shell. People were burned and nothing could be done for them. It was late. If I did, it would be dangerous for us. I gasped and went to the Behrooz area. It was safer there. As she got off, the old woman insisted on kissing my hand. I said goodbye and went to the ammunition truck. When I loaded the car bullets, I walked towards Khorramshahr.

     I went back to the barracks to find someone to help me. There were few forces that were doing several things at the same time. I was left alone. One said, "Why don't you take Haj Razavi with you?" I did not know him. He was a cleric. He had come to Khorramshahr to help, but he could not understand the cannon and the gun. I was afraid it would be like the story of Hajj Araki. However, I took a risk. I finally needed a companion. I found it and we left. He had not taken off his robe and turban. I said:

- Haji! Are Comfortable with these clothes?

- Yes.

- It is better to take off your turban. It Is White, easy to see, and hit from a distance. Then neither you can be alive, nor me and this ball.

He was talkative. Soon, he accepted. He picked up the turban and put it in his bag.

     We clashed with Iraqis in the streets of Taleghani town. One hundred meters away, a Benz truck was parked. The family of the car owner was rushing out of their belongings and getting into the truck. They wanted to take their belongings with them. It was dangerous. But they were right. We also had our eyes on the Iraqis. They loaded their belongings, locked the door of the truck and everyone got on. I was happy in my heart that their work was finished and they would leave soon. But as soon as the truck driver switched, a direct mortar hit the roof of the truck and exploded. We ran towards them. The doors of the truck were stuck due to the blast and could not be opened. The truck and its passengers were on fire. We could hear their screams and moans, but there was nothing we could do. The whole family burned with their livelihoods in the fire. It was as if my heart was burning in the fire.

     On the 29 of September, the Iraqis came to the fortress barracks. At first, we could not stop them. Our organizational houses were next to the barracks and had fallen into the hands of the Iraqis. We could see from a distance that they were going inside the houses. Each building had five floors and each apartment was about one hundred and forty meters. Like a legion of ants, they lined up and took out all the furniture. Anything they could not force was thrown down from the balconies. We could see from a distance that they had a TV and a sewing machine and a rice cooker on their heads and they were happy to go to their tanks. I could not bear it. I adjusted the ball and hit. It fell in their lines. The few bullets we fired stopped the theft. After a few hours, the tanks of the Armored Division arrived in Ahvaz. The two of them were beaten in a grove behind a soap factory. But as soon as they came, we were always able to push the Iraqis back with our cannons.

     When the Iraqis left, we went to the houses. They had robbed, or ruined, as much as they could. In the middle of the 12m carpet had made a stool. The carpet could no longer be used. We threw it down from the balcony and set it on fire. While the carpet was still burning, one came quickly. He shouted and asked for help. The Iraqis had captured one of the soldiers in the barracks.   His hands and feet were tied with a field telephone cord and hung from his feet on the fifth floor. They wanted to get information from an ordinary soldier. They had left after our attack and the soldier was hanging. He was still alive. Whatever it was, we brought it down. The telephone cord had cut his leg and reached his bone. He was so hung up that he could not speak. All the blood of tension was gathered in his head... [1]


[1] Ghazi, M, Yahyawi, S.H. (2014). The First Days of Resistance, Narrative of Rangers from Khorramshahr, Narration of Fatah, Vol. 1 p. 20.


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