Review of Daryadel

Golestan Jafarian
Translated by: Zahra Hosseinian


Daryadel narrates the life of Fatemeh Dehghani, the wife of martyr Abolfazl Rafiei, both of whom are from Mashhad. Maryam Ghorbanzadeh interviewed with her and compiled the book. The first edition was released in 2020 by Setaregan Publication in Mashhad.

Fatemeh Dehghani was born on May 21, 1955. She married Abolfazl Rafiei on September 24, 1972 and during ten years of living together, she born four children named, Ali Asghar, Jafar, Sadegh and Toktam.

Abolfazl Rafiei became MIA[1] in the Khyber operation on March 02, 1984. Fatemeh waited for him for thirty years. Visiting his empty grave in Behesht Reza Cemetery every Friday, she raised herself and her children hopes of hearing about the status of Abolfazl. Finally, after thirty years of waiting, Abolfazl Rafiei was identified on July 2, 2017, by matching the blood samples of his three children (Ali Asghar, Jafar and Sadegh) with DNA of the bones of an anonymous martyr who was buried at Ferdowsi University of Mashhad. For only two years, instead of visiting her husband's empty grave, Fatemeh goes to the Ferdowsi University every week and calmly and certainly poured out her heart to Abolfazl’s grave and talked about her pain and suffering of thirty years of loneliness.

Fatemeh Dehghani went into a coma on Wednesday, November 12, 2019. What could have put her in a coma, so that the breath comes and goes through plastic tubes?! Thirty-five years of tolerating hardship, sorrow, suffering, joy and happiness, pushed her to this point where she left this world on Friday, November 22, 2019, before the publication of the book and joined her martyr husband. What you read in the following is my notes after reading this 400 pages book.

Literature has always proved its capabilities in the history of this country. In times of war or peace, it has been literature which has excited or calmed people.

 In my view, our literature became popular with the Islamic Revolution. The humblest and purest fruits of literature were born and raised in the resistance literature.

The book Daryadel, which I like to call "Daryadel House", is one of these best and most popular fruits.

Fatemeh Dehghan, the narrator and the protagonist of Daryadel, studied only the primary education, but because she talks about the pain and the deepest wounds she has suffered, attracts me better than a skilled and experienced author.

I've been an early riser since the day I began reading this book. I cook foods sooner, do the housework faster, and check the clock more in the office to see when I will get home to read the rest of the story.

There are many strange ups and downs in Fatemeh’s life; what a power! I keep asking myself, if I were in her shoes, would have waited so long. Did I ignore all my demands as a woman, my rightful desires and share of life beside an idealistic man? Or rather, was I drowning in his purpose?

And each time, I replied: NO! I could not be like her. I disagree with making myth and hero, especially in the field of resistance literature. But Fatemeh Dehghani is really a heroine and not everyone can live like her. I quote a few short narrations from Daryadel, which I have summarized. After reading them, I'm sure that you, like me, will ask yourself what you would do if you were in her shoes in such a life. Whether you looked for solutions and tolerated or left it behind!


I cleaned and tidied the house and clung to life again with love and affection, as if nothing had happened. Abolfazl also provided a separate house for his second-wife.

My brothers accepted him as his brothers in Daryadel house. A few months later, what had happened became a joke in the family. My brother, Reza said, "Do you remember how you beat, Abolfazl?" My brother, Abdullah said, "Do you remember how Mr. Rafiei threw bricks at our heads and faces?" My Brother, Ali Akbar said, "Remember Ali Asghar yelled, don't... don't beat!"

And then they laughed. Abolfazl’s jokes and noises brought the Daryadel house to life as before. Everyone forgot that Mr. Rafiei married with his second wife after four years of marriage with their 17-year-old sister and having two babies. But I didn’t forget. I just said myself I had to be patient. I agreed to resume our lives and Abolfazl convinced me that he can't divorce his second-wife; they had a baby and he couldn’t help himself to leave them. I, as a poor seventeen-year-old girl, didn't want to be satisfied with a bitter lifelong!



As I took the tea tray in front of Ismail, the son of Abolfazl S half-brother, my bracelets exposed out of my sleeve. Abolfazl stood up, left the room, went to the kitchen, and called me. "What’s that?" He asked. I said, "What?" He said, "Why did you expose your bracelets in front of Ishmael? Why should your jewelry can be seen?" I was upset. I couldn’t help myself crying. I said, "You’ve not been from morning and now that you’ve come home, began picking on my bracelet?" He left the house. He used to leave when he was offended. I used to be silent when I was upset.

Abolfazl had said to his mother: "When I’m angry or upset at home, Fatemeh doesn’t row. She stops speaking and does not say anything." I said, "So what do I do? If I kick up a row, it ended with insulting and swearing, so it’s better not to say anything to prevent a worse condition!"

I kept my mouth shut this time too. The next day I sat down on the edge of the pond, cried, and took out my bracelets. Later I sold them and gave the money to my brother Reza and asked him to bring me a carpet from his shop. The floor of our house was made of cement and the cold passed through the moquette. When Abolfazl saw the carpet, shook his head and said: "thanks, but what a pity you sold your bracelets! Sorry for what I said, but why are you so stubborn, Fatemeh?" I said, "I’m just like you. You said what you wanted."



After victory of the Revolution, Abolfazl was involved in night patrolling and attending meetings. He came home late at night and left home so early in the morning that it was still dark. Also, some days he went to his second wife's house. My three sons and I were usually alone for a long time. We went to Daryadel house, my mother's house had a small room downstairs which was prepared for me and my kids. Sometimes we stayed the night. One day, when Abolfazl came to my mother's house to pick up us, he said on the way: "Fatemeh, a riot began in Kurdistan. I probably should go there soon."

The names of Sanandaj, Baneh and Marivan were new for us. We thought they are some miles away from Mashhad, and he goes and returns two or three days later. Little by little, we learned where Kurdistan is located and what is happening. It was getting cold. I heard that the winters in Kurdistan are bone-chilling. I bought a dark green yarn to busy myself by knitting a jacket for Abolfazl during the winter long nights. I prayed and uttered Salawat as I knitted to bless the jacket.





Seddiqa, Abolfazl's sister, had born a twins. Abolfazl loved babies very much. We went to visit her. Abolfazl kissed and smelled babies. "Little babies smells good," he said, and smelled them deeply. When we were in the way back home, he told me: "Fatemeh, it's so nice to have a little baby, isn’t it?" I said, "Yeah, God’s given us three of them." He said, "They’ve been grown up."

I went to the health center a week or two ago. The midwife gave me a bottle of pills. My son, Sadegh was two years old. "Madam, your body is so weak, you shouldn’t get pregnant." The midwife warned. Abolfazl saw the bottle of the pill and asked, "Fatemeh, what’s this? Who’s sick?" I didn’t know what to say. My mother-in-law laughed and said, "These’re birth control pill. Nowadays women take them in order not to bear a child!" Abolfazl stared at me and said: "Fatemeh, you take these pills?" I answered: "yeah! I just got them recently to see how they effect." He got angry and knocked the pill bottle to the ground. The bottle broke and pills splashed on the yard. "I see, whatever I kept saying little baby is fine," He said, "you say no, we have three kids, it’s enough! So, you take pills not to bear baby! Why you women want not to have children? What’s this they give to our women? Who gave these pills to you? Tell me."

Our fourth child was born on March 20, 1982. The baby was a girl. She was nine days old and we still couldn’t inform his father of her birth. We were all waiting for Abolfazl to call. I was very upset. How much a man could be indifferent! His wife is near her time, so he shouldn’t call to see if she is dead or alive?! I had all kinds of fights with him in my mind, but I didn’t talk to anyone. The woman who newly labored, becomes very sensitive, and as my mother-in-law said, she bursts into tears even without a reason.

The baby still had no name. We called girl baby ‘Fatemeh’ for seven days, as custom has it.



The last time he wanted to go to the front, he came home one day and said, "Dress kids with their nice clothe and ready them." I asked, "Why? Are we invited somewhere?" he replied, "No, I want to take pictures of them. Dress Toktam too." Toktam was less than a year old and just crawled. I said, "Then let me ready and come with you too." He mumbled, "Maybe you don’t like it; because I want to take my other kids too. A group photo of all brothers and sisters..." I became silent. I sat down and Toktam’s clothes remained in my hand. He sat down in front of me and said, "What happened?" I said, "Well, go and take a picture. What’re you doing to my kids?" He said, "Oh, Fatemeh, please don’t do that!" I said softly, "do I get angry?" He said, "No, but when you speak in such a way, it means that you’re very upset."

I stood up and began to dress Toktam. He himself dressed the boys. Later, I saw the photo of all his children: Mahboubeh and Mohammad, and my children, Ali Asghar, Jafar, Sadegh and Toktam.

I hated the night before he wanted to leave; it was the longest night of my life. It did not matter if he set off from my house or from his second-wife’s house. As soon as I knew he was going to leave tomorrow, I was distressed. Until the morning, I prayed to be calm down. Only when I heard the call to morning-prayer and the sound of roosters coming from far and near, I calmed.



The Khyber operation was over and we were waiting for Abolfazl to call. A week passed and we didn’t hear about him. One evening, the door was knocked. There were a few from IRGC with two Toyota cars. My brother Abdullah was with them. It was near Nowruz. I had washed the carpet and laid out a blanket on the floor instead. They entered and sat down. After a while, Abdullah finally mumbled that, "Nothing happened, sister! Operation has leaked out. The Iraqis passed through our forces. Mr. Rafiei and uncle Ghasem’ son, Abbas, and many others, who were in the front line, are surrounded. We don’t know where they are now. As the zone is in the hands of the Iraqis, we don’t know if they’ve captured or wounded!"

What was we heard at the evening of that winter day? What had happened? We gradually realized what the hell had happened for us.

Daryadel house had crowded; all the relatives of me and Abolfazl came to see what the latest news was. Every night, when I performed my evening prayer, I wished the war ends. I didn’t will to think that Abolfazl was martyred, I just prayed that the war ends and he, who was captured by the Iraqis, is released and returns home.

No one knew if he was alive or martyred. We had to wait for hearing of his captivity and also look for him among the martyrs.

We were told to go to the IRGC Cooperative to identify Abolfazl among the martyrs. It had never occurred to me to remove the shroud from someone's face and look at his face; but now I was doing it to find my husband and the father of my four children, the eldest of them was not yet 10 years old.

We also looked him for through Iraqi Radio. All the people heard the news of the war and the captives through it. If the name and surname of one of the fighters were said and the people heard, informed the fighter's family. They were many family like us.

Every Monday, I checked at the bodies of seventy or eighty martyrs. Merajoshohada had become my whole life. We had to go there at night and saw the corpses. I cried all the time. I could not hold back my tears by seeing those torn bodies... blood-soaked faces!


These six short part were an example of the strange life of Fatemeh Dehghani. The new chapter of her suffering and hard life was just began by missing her husband in action and then searching for him which lasted for thirty-five years. In Daryadel, this chapter titled "Again Life".

It should be mentioned that the structure of the memoir narrative in Daryadel has serious and debatable flaws which can be addressed in its place. But I can say for sure that this book and its simple narrative open the sociology, anthropology, and description of the choice of an ideological life in front of its readers and researchers in this field, in which very complex and deep layers are hidden.

Layer by layer and deeply, the expressive and cohesive content of the book describes the life of a simple, religious and poor family who live in big house in the downtown of Mashhad. I think the plain and lovable content of book shows that the author, Ms. Maryam Ghorbanzadeh, has gone through difficult complexities to achieve it. Fatemeh Dehghani has learned how to be patience and how to solve the problems from her mother, Fezzeh Mojoudi. As we read in the story, when Fezzeh Mojoudi found out that her husband had married an eighteen-year-old girl, although he had seven children, she didn’t left Haj Qasem Dehghani and even mothered his small children who needed her.

Both Haj Qasem’s wives lived in large paved house which had large connection rooms and located at Daryadel neighborhood of Mashhad. Seventeen girls and boys were the fruit of Haj Qasem’s marriage to two women. They lived together and raised their children and grieved for each other.

Fatemeh Dehghani, the hero of Daryadel grew up in the same house. She perhaps saw her father loved her mother not only because of her beauty and youth, his second wife was far ahead in this regard. Rather, he loved the manner of his second wife and told everyone, "This woman is surprisingly kind and selfless."

The book illustrates the lifestyle and nature of the characters of the time beautifully, clearly and in the most concise narrative. The characters are themselves. They were not censored. A clear picture is presented of each.

In my opinion, Daryadel big house with its simple and small stuffs, plays a very important role in the feeling of affection and love of the people of the house toward each other. Each of the children who get married, if the face a problem in their lives, they always went back to Daryadel house to find a solution and to calm. And perhaps these today small houses with many unnecessary items made us not to tolerate each other and cause our unity and gathering very difficult.


[1]. Missing In Action: مفقودالاثر

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