An Excerpt from the Memoirs of Colonel Ali Ghamari

Faezeh Sasanikhah
Translated by: Zahra Hosseinian


On October 22, 1980, it was announced that all the defenders of the garrison Khorramshahr have died a martyr, which had a very bad effect on fighters’ spirit, because our place, that is the garrison Khorramshahr, had been completely occupied by the Iraqis. Many cried when heard this news. I was very upset to hear it, but couldn’t believe whether it was true. So, I sent one of the informants to investigate about it and then to let me know.

Confirming the case an hour later, the informant announced that the entire city, except for the Grand Mosque and a little around it, was under Iraqi control. He said that clashes continued at the same time in 40-Metri, Shohada Square, the Islamic Republic Party, around the flower shops, Kamal al-Molk Square, Santab, the fire station, Safa Bazaar, Darwazeh Square, and Saif Bazaar; and Iraqis advanced to complete the occupation of the city from all directions.

The smoke curled upwards from burning Iraqi tanks, and the smoke from burning our houses and tools was added to it. Meanwhile, Mr. Zareian, in tears, approached me and said:

“I won’t allow Iraqis to parade in the streets of this city with British army-boots; and a troop inspection and parade is held for Saddam. I’ll fight with and defeat all Iraqis. Khorramshahr is a part of Iran and I won’t allow it will be separated from the body of Iran... the sound of opening the shutter of shops can’t be heard any more. The noise of children in schools is no longer heard. Children no longer play in the street...”

Mr. Zareian talked and cried. I hugged him and said:

“Dear Ismail, do you hear the sound of bullets and cannons exploding? This’s instead of the children’ noise. The screech of tanks has filled the space instead of the sound of opening shop shutters. The fact is that we are at war and the enemy is occupying our city. it should be taken seriously. You’re a military man, a commander. You need to reassure your staff, not to brood and cry. The war is winning and losing. The enemy is currently winning. We have to complete our equipment. We must create a good war plan, which we’ll definitely do it, and then we’ll take back the city from the occupying enemy.”


Mr. Zareian calmed down a bit as listen to me. Meanwhile, some voluntary contributions was brought. A packet of pistachios also was given to me. A letter was inside the packet, which turned out it was written by a little boy or girl. I read the author's name before reading the letter; it was Muhammad Mehrabi. I started reading the letter:

“I’m Muhammad Mehrabi, a 4th grade student in Shiraz. I bought these pistachios with my one week pocket money and sent it to you, dear fighter. I hope you accept this small gift from me. Dear fighter, I know that you’re fighting in a very hot weather at Khorramshahr, while in Shiraz we can’t tolerate the heat if we don’t have an air conditioner for an hour. I kiss the hands and feet of all warriors.”                            

Signed by Muhammad Mehrabi


Reading the letter, I didn’t know what to do, whether to sit down and cry like Mr. Zareian or to get motivated and to continue fighting. We did not have the opportunity to regret at those moments. Therefore, I shouted on myself to get motivation and energy from this letter and to fight better.­­­­­­­[1]


[1] Colonel Pourbozorg Wafi, Alireza, Burned Garden (Memoirs of Colonel Ali Ghamari), Tehran, Khorshidbaran Publications, 1st printing, winter 2010, p.138.


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