In Memory of Inventor of Title of "Narrator" for a field research researcher

Dr. Hadi Nakhaei View on Historiography of the War

Maryam Asadi Jafari
Translated by Ruhollah Golmoradi


The late Dr. Hadi Nakhaei, a narrator and investigator of the Iraq imposed war against Iran, believed that the term "narrator" should only be used to refer to those who were directly involved in events of the war in purpose of field research. Formation of group of war narrators in IRGC's political office, like the revolution in Iran, was a matter of its time and was unrepeatable. The revolutionary changes aren't contractual and previously predictable. It's like a poem that gushes and the poet him/herself does not know what the next couplet will be.

According to Iranian Oral History Website, some of historians and researchers in history of Iraq's imposed war against Iran who spent period of the war and until end of the war and until the last days of their lives in searching about the field, have been little seen and heard in the media. One of them is a person like "The late Dr. Hadi Nakhaei" who dedicated all of his life to teaching narrators, recording and documenting events of the revolution and the war. He unassuming devoted himself to thinking and writing in a corner and devised numerous works, including series of books of timeline of Iran-Iraq War, and compiled in collaboration with other narrators. The late Nakhaei was also inventor of title of "narrator" for those who were sent to the front from political office of IRGC, placed alongside the commanders, and recorded historical details of the war by tape recorder.

Dr. Hossein Ardestani, the deceased chairman of the Center for Documents and Research of Sacred Defense had stated on research personality of Dr. Hadi Nakhaei, "When many did not know what were components and rules of analysis, Nakhaei analyzed contents of holy defense narrators in IRGC's political office. [In Another opportunity] while he had left the center for Documents and Research of Holy Defense, he established timeline atlas of the imposed war and he himself became head of the project. He taught us to write in facts, that is, to be committed to pen and not write to anyone interest, a subject that we continue adhere to as red line of the center."

In the summer of 2012, when special case of the war narrators was to be released for the first time and part of the case to be about Dr. Nakhaei, I did a detailed interview with him in Amir Kabir University. He was a faculty member of Department of Islamic Knowledge in this university. Being relaxed and confident in each response was his most prominent trait that has remained in my mind. On the occasion of the second anniversary of death of Dr. Hadi Nakhaei (1949- December 9, 2016), an excerpt of his speeches is presented here.


Operation Ramadan; The First Experience of Narration
I experienced writing a report and article and compiling in IRGC's political office. When the war unit was formed, for the sake of priority of the war, my work was to be focused in this area and to write reports and explaining events in bulletins and providing publishable books for people who were the main power of the war. But in order to see the battle scene and activity of narrators of the war directly, I was detached to the South as political force of Karbala headquarters, which was then the main and center headquarters of commanding and controlling operation, for field presence in Operation Ramadan. The term "narrator" for field research researcher was later invented. Execution of Operation Ramadan from July 14 [1982] (beginning of the first stage) to July 29 (beginning of the fifth stage) was not more than about 20 days. But my presence from preparation stage and providing arrangements of implementing the operation until doing my task and then analysis of its results, lasted about 45 days. Throughout this time, I was the only narrator of Karbala headquarters. Of course, at the operation was started, for recording Portable Transceiver which was very sensitive, and it needed itself at least a fighter at the time of the operation, the political office sent one person to help. Not all this time, but on many days I had to work so-called three shifts in the headquarters.

Martyr Sayyad Shirazi, Mohsen Rezaee, Rahim Safavi, and Agha [Gholamali] Rashid, were commanders of Karbala headquarters in Operation Ramadan. I do not know what power God gave me at that time that I spent 24 hours with a little sleep, sometimes two hours. Because I was the only narrator of the headquarters and each of those commanders who went to rest, another one replaced him, and I had to stand still. But this 45-day continuous and heavy work became a good experience for me. In the case of the war research, I became acquainted not only with the ins and outs and details of work of the camps and divisions, but also to the line level, and later I could use them to research and compiling reports.


The revolution developments and formation of narrating the war
The intention, behavior, motive and ultimate goals of the unitarian revolutionary force in a dual condition is very different from normal situation. If it were not so, it would not have been possible to have a narrating system, according to which the narrators would be informed the most detailed information during operations. The narrators saw the highest commanders of the war to the battalion level, and were fully aware of news and events with details of the war. I think presence of young narrators in Rahian-e Noor (The passenger of light) caravans is itself a worthwhile and necessary move. But I believe that the term "narrator" should only refer to those who have been involved directly in battle arenas with the purpose of field research. There will not be repeated something like system of narrators of IRGC's Center for War Studies and Research. Formation of group of war narrators in IRGC's political office, like the revolution in Iran, was a matter of its time and was unrepeatable. The revolutionary changes aren't contractual and previously predictable. It's like a poem that gushes and the poet him/herself does not know what the next couplet will be.


The comprehensive analysis of war based on documents
First of all I should say that the Center for Documents and Research of Sacred Defense [formerly known as the Center for War Studies and Research] simply write book based on its own documents is false. I mentioned this point in introduction to the book of "Hoveyzeh, The Last Steps of Occupier ", which is one of volumes of the collection of timeline books of Iran-Iraq War. In political aspect of the war, we have to do our work based on four levels of analysis. The first level is "elite and decision-makers" of the war. But this level is not enough, because there are other levels called "national level", "regional level" and "international level" that no one should be neglected. In political analysis, if we do not consider each of these four levels, our analysis is imperfect. But in military aspect, it had been important for us from the highest level of decision-making of strategy of the war to level of battalion in the war. For example, if 14th Imam Hossein Division (AS) was our shook trooper, we were largely assured that the operation would be successful and they never put a newcomer army in such a situation. Because in Iran-Iraq war, which was infantry war, a war of barriers and a night war, shock trooping in night of operation was very important. After high level of decision-making, central headquarters and sub-headquarters, armies, brigades and battalions must be considered in military analysis. Of course, it should be noted that levels of political and military analysis were closely intertwined after start of the war.

That the narrator tell story of the scene is needed, but it is not enough. If this is not done, it will distort history of the war. But this storytelling, albeit perfectly accurate, is not end of what should be done. If that were the case, the history would be written once and it was finished. See how many books on Islamic history have been written? How many times did Badr and Uhud battles happen? But this is property of history. So combining a story we see in the scene and a story we write in different decades after the war is very important, basic and, of course, difficult. As a researcher and narrator, we must both consider those days and interfere our ability today, and this is very difficult. So the Center for Sacred Defense's Documents and Research does not suffice its own documents and its understanding from those days in the battlefield, but considers it important. While the center does not deny understanding of those days of narrators of the war, does not leave its next information too.


Preventing distortion of history by narrator's documents
All these tapes [recorded by the narrators] will be released to in the future to God, and each category will have its credibility, importance and application. The center published a book in 500 copies, in a limited extent, which is a implemented book of number of interviews of some narrators with Mohsen Rezaee on Operation Valfajr-8. In this conversation, that I and friends like [Hossein] Ardestani, [Mohammad] Doroudian, [Gholamreza] Zarifian [Shafiei], [Davoud] Ranjbar and in a part [Ibrahim] Haji Mohammadzadeh participated, essential and basic analysis of the operation was discussed that restated in this book. If a military officer and strategist read it, he will be fully aware of circumstances of those days. We have a lot of such tapes. If its time comes and we can look at ourselves, then these tapes should be published in form of series of interviews and documents and we cannot manipulate them. Now some of these tapes are mainly for content strengthening of background of our minds. But in main application, these tapes will save our researchers from distortion and lies that will be spoken intentionally or unintentionally today and tomorrow. Our main focus in research is special resources of the center, and there are other sources, such as media and wartime bulletins, out of the center that are used by our researchers.


Necessity of rationalizing the narrator tapes
I think this is an art that a researcher can draw from military documents and tapes of narrators which were recorded in the battlefield, its political and social aspects. I'm working on a project called "A Triple of Transition Crises". This transitional period is a twofold situation that I raised at the beginning of the debate. The narrator's tapes enrich such research to an uncompetitive level.

If some of these tapes not be rationalized until narrators are alive, it will not be much useful for future generations. But as far as I know, rationalizing the tapes has been done in the center. If the 58th volume series of timeline of Iran-Iraq War to be fully published, the researchers would be informed here of importance of tapes of war narrators. We live in a mass society where most people see everything either black or white. If in a society like our society a scholar to be found who wants to investigate with the aim of standing against exaggerations, the narrator's documents would help him. This will be achieved on the condition that to be on the agenda of researchers and be their main question. In this case, the narrator's documents will not only illustrate exaggeration but also anomalies of the war.

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