Interview with the war veterans of Art Center(1)

Hashemian: I was one of the relief workers of Shohada (martyrs) Special Brigades

Sara Rashadizadeh
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


Note: On hearing the phrase “Sacred Defense”, armed men come to the mind of the audiences; those who rushed to the battle fronts to defend their country. But alongside these self-sacrificed men, there were other people whose arm was the accessories for healing the wounds of the combatants. They were close to Iranian forces and commanders in every operation, risking their life to save the life of the wounded. The Iranian Oral History website in an interview with Seyed Qassem Hashemian, the relief worker of Shohada Special Brigade from Khorasan Province has reviewed his memoirs of the eight-year Iraqi imposed war against Iran. He is now a physician in the Art Center.


*Introduce yourself and tell us how you went to the war fronts for the first time?

*I am Seyed Qassem Hashemian born in 1970. When I was 16, enlisted for presence in the battle fronts, but due to my young age, they refused to accept me.


*How could you satisfy the authorities to go to the battle fronts?

*It was the summer of 1986 when I along with some of my friends including martyr Dousti referred to our local base to be dispatched to the front and again the authorities opposed to it due to our young ages. But by manipulating in our IDs, we could introduce ourselves a few years older and finally passed the first stage.


*What did you do after they accepted with your dispatch?

*In the second stage, first we were supposed to dispatch for training. Thus, we were trained for some one and a half months as relief workers in a hospital. The process of classification was that we were announced in the third day of the military training that those who had the degrees of third middle school and higher should introduce themselves. Out of the whole 700 dispatched forces, some 96 persons most of whom were included high school students introduced themselves and were sent to another unit for training the course of relief working. We were trained theoretically for some two weeks and then spent two more weeks in Mashhad’s Imam Reza Hospital. Finally we also had military training for two weeks, and after ten days of break, we went to Shohada Special Brigade which is now called Shohada Special Division.  


*Where were you sent after the end of the training course?

After the end of training course, we were sent to western fronts and the area of Haji Omran which is a town near the Iraqi border with Iran. At that time, as our first operation in the battle fronts, we were supposed to take part in Operation Karbala 2.


*Who was your commander in Operation Karbala 2?

*Our commander in Operation Karbala 2 was martyr Mahmoud Kaveh who was martyred in the same operation.


*Were you injured in this operation?

*Yes, my friend who was present in Imam Hosain (AS) Battalion was martyred in this operation and I was injured. The story was that we were on board the ambulance to help the wounded which suddenly a mortar hit near us and we were thrown out of the ambulance. I was injured in the back and ears and after two months of recovery, I again came back to the war fronts.


*How was the process of the presence of the relief workers in the military operations?

*Since the day we arrived in the headquarters of the Shohada Special Brigade, I and the whole relief workers were thinking continuously why we were kept here? Why weren't we sent to the front along with other combatants? And questions like this. With the beginning of the operation, we were dispatched to an emergency unit near the frontline. We were taken to the frontline every 48 hours in a rotating way and then taken back to the unit again. Out of 96 relief workers of the Shohada Special Brigade at that time, a large number of them were martyred during the operations and only 11 survived most of whom have been paralyzed.


*Do you have any memory about the operations and treating with the forces of Saddam's army?

*Yes, in Operation Karbala 2, since were in the altitudes and it was a mountainous operation, we had to bypass a mountain and pass the crossings under the enemy's heavy fire at any possible means. Many of our forces were martyred in the operation. The Saddam's army did not take Iranian forces as captives and if they were faced with our forces, fired mercy shot at them. I remember that my friend was injured in the leg in that operation and could not come back. Therefore, when the enemy forces reached to him, they fired mercy shot on him and he attained martyrdom.

Concurrent with the Operation Karbala 5, we were sent to an area in Majnoun Island known as Kaseh (bowl) line. It was considered the frontal area of the war which included four trenches. We were within the rifle range of the enemy forces in a way that almost every night, at least one of us was either martyred or injured. We were there for almost 15 days and had heard that the Saddam's forces had already beheaded the Iranian divers. Thus, we were leaving behind difficult situation and were praying in a sitting mode, but because the Kaseh Line was very strategic, we couldn’t leave there.


*In what other operations did you take part until the end of the war?

*After recovering from my injury, I again came back to the war fronts and took part in Operation Karbala 5 carried out in January 1987. Then, I returned to western fronts in order to join in Operation Beit-al Moqaddas 2 carried out in January 1988. And finally, I took part in Operation Mersad as the last operation.            


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