Memoirs of Mohammad Majidi from resistance years against Saddam army, Part II

Seven Memorable Events

Interviewd by Mehdi Khanbanpoor
Edited by Sara Rashadizadeh
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


Note: During the sacred defense years, Mohammad Majidi went to the war fronts in order to take part in one of the phases of Karbala 5 Operation. But only ten days after his presence in the front, he was taken as captive by the Iraqi Ba’thist enemy forces and spent four years out of the best years of his life in the camps of Saddam’s army. In the first part, Majidi talked about the details of his dispatch to the war fronts, the events of Karbala 5 Operation, how he was taken as captive, the famous 160-person group of captives and the suspension of the captives’ transform due to the resistance of the famous 23 people in Baghdad. And now the rest of the interview:


*Certainly you have many memories. Tell us one or two of them which have remained in your mind better than the others.

*When we were informed of the passing away of Imam Khomeini (God bless his soul), all of us started reciting the holy Quran and crying and mourning with a loud voice; we cried so much that the Iraqi forces came behind the window and said, “What has happened? Why are crying? Why are you reciting the Quran? The Quran reciting is for the cemetery not for now. Now you can sing and dance!” we said, “We don’t do this. Our Imam has passed away. Our leader has passed away.” An officer came behind the window and said, “One of the Basijis stand up!” One of our Basiji friends named Mr. Hassan Pour who was from Rafsanjan stood up. Hassan Pour was very thin physically. He went behind the window and said, “Yes? I am a Basiji. What do you want?” The Iraqi officer said, “Why didn’t you go to fight against Israel. Why did you come and fought with us?” Hassan Pour said, “The Imam has stated that the road to Quds passes through Karbala. First we should fight with you, because the war with you is more obligatory than the war with Israel and then we will come to them.”

The Iraqi officer who had gotten angry, said, “I will bury you here tomorrow.” The same night, the Iraqi forces punished all of us because we had recited the holy Quran. Then they separated 72 people including me and took to another part. In summer, they gave us winter clothes and in winter summer clothes in order to torture us more. That year, a few days before the demise of Imam Khomeini (God bless his soul), we were given woolen and thick clothes. They were so rough which were not usable at all, but in that hot summer, we decided to put on the clothes in order to be uniformed. Having seen our appearance, the Iraqi forces said, “You have become crazy. What is this? Why have you worn these clothes? We ask you to walk freely but you put on winter clothes?!” But we did not agree. Getting angry at us, the Iraqi forces said, “Put the clothes on the floor. We want to set on fire all of them.” And believe me, they put the entire clothes on the floor and burned all of them. However, we wore most of warm clothes so that they could not burn all of them and keep them for the next winter.

After a while, they decided to exile us to another camp. It was very difficult for us to leave the other guys of the camp. We had to separate from the friends with whom we had accustomed like brothers and could not tolerate their separation even for a moment. We had to separate from them forever especially me who was very young. At any rate, we separated from our friends and left for Molhaq 11 Camp. When we arrived, two thin officers had stood at the entrance gate and despite their poor bodies, they beat the captives very toughly. Out of the two, one punished us normally or as the saying goes classically but the other one did it very strongly. I too was moving behind the others toward one of the guards known as Nouffel. In an operation in Shalamcheh, Nouffel stayed a tank, and when the Iranian forces targeted the tank carried him, it caught fire. Before he could save himself, half of his body had been burnt. Moreover, Nouffel had lost four of his brothers in the Iraqi imposed war against Iran, and his two other brothers had been taken as captives by the Iranian forces and in short, he was thirsty for their blood. I was in a row that should be passed in front of Nouffel. We had already been beaten so much and gotten used to it but I found out that could not bear Nouffel’s beatings. Thus, some 10 to 15 meters left to reach Nouffel, I used the guard’s neglect and jumped into the bottom of another line. The second guard was also beating toughly, but it was possible to escape from him somehow. One or two had left to me to be beaten and I was thinking what to do. Suddenly it came to my mind to pretend to be paralyzed. I did so and the guard asked, “What has happened?” I said, “You beat me.” He said, “But I have not started yet.” And then he started insulting. Since I was very thin and my knee’s bone had a bump, I told him, “You broke my knee. Tomorrow when the Red Cross comes for inspection, I will tell them.” In short, whatever he said I answered that I would complain.” In a situation that after the passing away of the Imam we had caused chaos in the camp, and had broken the TVS and windows, and in retaliation, they wanted to beat us, I had started pretending that you had broken my knee. The Iraqi guard said, “Go and sit there till I punish you later.” Then he forgot that he had not punished me at all and thus I could escape from being beaten.

Another day, I was walking in the compound and since I had started memorizing the holy Quran, I was reviewing what I had memorized. The same guard stopped me and said, “Come here! I want to tell you something.” As soon as I moved toward him, he started beating me. I said, “Don’t beat. I am a refugee.” The Iraqi guard got happy and though that I have sought refuge to Mujahedin Khalq terrorist organization (hypocrites), because a few days earlier, Abrishamchi a senior member of the terrorist outfit had come to our camp and advertised a lot for seeking refuge to this terrorist organization. Of course, Abrishamchi did not arrive in the camp because we were going to attack him and the guards had found out. He was informed and scared to enter the camp. Thus, he talked form behind the barbed wire and left, but even one person did not stand up in response to his demand.

That day, I who had learnt Arabic, told the Iraqi guard, “Don’t beat me. I want to seek refuge.” The guard said, “Where do you want to seek refuge to?” To Iraq? To the United Nations? To where? To Mujahedin? I said, “No. I want to seek refuge to Imam Hossain (PBUH), and Fatemeh Zahra (AS).” When he found out that I was telling a lie, he started beating more severely and then released me.   


*How were special days like the Eids spent in the camp? Did they make any difference with normal days?

*We were in Molhaq 11 Camp for three months. On Eid al-Maba'th, celebrating the divine revelation of the Prophet Mohammad's appointment to Prophethood, the door of the room was opened early in the morning and Nouffel who hated the guys a lot, entered and started insulting us. We said, “Oh God, what has happened? What kind of treatment is this on Eid day?” All of us went out and stood in line, and Nouffel started beating us. Then it was the turn of Mr. Ansari. He was a battalion commander of the Karbala 25 Division and had a strong body. Nouffel slapped him in the face and he fell down, but no voice was heard from him. I who had been affected by the atmosphere, told my friends, “I want to put him on shame” All said, “Don’t do this. Nouffel will cut off your head you. You have just a healthy ear and he will tear it too.” But I said, “No problem. I want to put him on shame.” But at the end of the day, he hurt my other ear. On the Eid day when everybody was happy, those who claimed to be Muslims tore my eardrum.


*Tell us about other memoirs of that period. Didn’t any interesting thing happen inside the camp?

*Yes, the guys who got ill and were transferred to the hospital were injected with serums sometimes. We had agreed that anyone who was injected with a serum, bring the tubes of the serum with himself at any possible means. We connected the tubes together and attached one side of it to a water tank behind the kitchen. We planted cucumbers and tomatoes behind the camp secretly and kept the tubes secret in a corner. Of course, I should say that when the Iraqi forces found out what we were doing, they took away all the products and we were only beaten. But the good thing about this was that we hid the tubes and whenever the door of the room had been closed for several days and there was no water and food, we had water for drinking and saved from thirst and death.

I have another memory which is a little unpleasant. Certainly, you have heard the great escape memory in Honey Moon show. In 1989, Mr. Ahmad Chaldavi along with two other guys were transferred to the hospital by pretending that they were ill. Since they had coordinated with the guard’s hospital, they managed to come until Iranian border by a car, but were arrested in the border through shooting at their feet. On the whole three days took since their escape till captivity and during the entire three days, they punished us severely. After three days when Chaldavi and his friends were brought back to the camp, they were beaten since morning until evening and during all these hours, we had to look at them form the windows. Believe me, the three were beaten for some 10 to 12 hours and were injured seriously.

After the evening prayer, I told the guys, “I cannot stand up anymore. I should do something. I want to pretend. Don’t scare.” The guys said, “What do you want to do.” I said, “Wait. I don’t know how but God will help me. I want to pretend and you should be ready.” As soon as I finished my night prayer, stood up and started shouting. I was swinging around myself and shouting “Oh, Hossain, Oh Fatemeh, Oh Zahra…” The guard came behind the door and said, “What has happened?” At that time, the TV was showing images of Roudbar earthquake and the debris. The guys told a lie, “My friend is from Roudbar. He was watching the TV and saw that his house has been destroyed and he has gotten angry.” The guard said this to his senior officer. The officer had stood and was ordering others how to beat the guys in the yard. When he heard this and he ordered to stop torturing the three captives and opened the door. After the counting in the evening, the camp’s door was not opened whatsoever or else someone from the intelligence unit came on the order of Saddam or they wanted to add new persons to the camp. Otherwise, the door was not opened under any condition until the next morning even if someone would die, because the officer who counted the POWs, brought the key with himself and there was no second key that they wanted to open the door.

That night, the relevant officer who was also the camp’s commander gave the key to the guard and ordered him to open the door till we come out. Mr. Nasser Sadeghi who was from Kerman, put me on his shoulder and placed me in the middle of the compound where the whole camp was seen. I was still crying and shouted, “My house has been destroyed… what has happened to my sisters and mother…” I saw that Nasser was also crying and shouted, “Everything was finished and got crazy.” The Iraqi officer came and said, “What has happened again?” Nasser answered “The house my friend in Roudbar has been destroyed and he himself has got crazy.”

The Iraqi officer who had been affected, said, “Don’t be upset, God is great. Certainly there is a mistake. Perhaps, it is not your house and you have made a mistake.” He started consoling me; the officer who till a few minutes earlier was going to beat us to death. Then he called the nurse to come. The nurse came and the Iraqi officer told the nurse, “Fetch a pill for this captive. Don’t you see that our friend is not fine?”

At any rate, he used polite words constantly in order to calm me. At the same time, the nurse went and a pile of oils and gave them to an officer named Yusef. Yusef told his commander, “Sir, this captive is fine and telling a lie. Let me beat him with cable and I’ll prove you that this captive is okay.” When Yusef said this, I was shocked because I had the experience of being beaten with cable and knew the pain. I said with myself, “Oh God, help me. If he wants to beat me with cable, I cannot stand.” At that time, the Iraqi commander told Yusef, “This miserable captive has been punished by God; nothing has been remained for him; even he has no hope for freedom and the n you want to kill him? This poor man has come to the war front at the age of 15 and now nothing has been remained from his family.” But Yusef paid no attention to his words and came to beat me that the Iraqi officer stopped him. At the same time, the door was opened and some four fresh guards came in with cables in order to attack me. The Iraqi officer said, “What are you going to do?” One of the guards said, “This captive is pretending. We knew them very well.” And the he started insulting us. Again the Iraqi officer said, “God has punished this miserable captive.” Then he ordered the nurse to give the pills to me. I saw that the Iraqi officer went toward the guards’ room, leaned against a column and started crying. I found out that he was crying for me. Then he went and brought some pills for me and said, “Take them.” I said to myself “Oh God. I am fine and if I take these pills, I will have a heart attack.” I received the pills, pretending that I was taking them. But in a moment, I threw all of them out in a way that I think they fell some ten meters farther than the barbed wire. At the same time, the Iraqi forces were consoling me, and that three captives were taken to solitary confinement and were saved from torturing.


*Do you have any memory about Yusef that you would like to tell us?

*He was a member of the intelligence unit and I should say that he can be described as a wild animal not a human. He had a huge body in a way that whenever you looked at him you were panicked. Moreover, in addition to his face, he was very bad-tempered. He beat us by cable. Believe me, when he beat us with cable, our clothes were torn and the cable blows touched our bare body. In short he tortured us so savagely that I cannot imagine where he had been trained.

One time, I wrote on a paper with a coal "Besmellah" or in the name of God and installed it on the wall of the room. As soon as Yusef saw the paper, he took the paper out of the wall and squished it under his foot, shouting constantly, "Where is God!? Where is Hossain!? Why doesn't Hossain take the cable out of my hand? We became very upset and that night prayed and asked God to help us. We sought help from Imam Hossain (PBUH) and said, "Sir, we don't want anything from you, but show a thing to this violent man." Believe me, less than a month later, he became ill very seriously. Later he came and said, "Forgive me, I made a mistake."


To be continued… 

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