A belief though for the world

Morteza Sarhangi
Founder of the Office of Resistance Literature & Art
Manager in Charge of Iranian Oral History Weekly
Translated by Natalie Haghverdian


In the Name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful. I would like to welcome you all and acknowledge the good words I heard today.[1] I met many dear friends.

I would like to congratulate the narrators, as my sisters; the authors, as my sisters; the Art Division and Soureh Mehr Publication. They did a wonderful job. They spared no effort. This event was arranged with the efforts of Ms. Seyyedeh Azam Hosseini[2], but she is not here today. If she were, we would hear much more.

There are couple of things I would like to point out; time is limited and you are tired. A belief was formed in our minds. We believed that the Iranian Nation is incapable of defending its borders. The land in which people grew with its wheat, dried their clothes under its sun. The belief was there. During the rule of Qajar dynasty, the geographic arena of our land was twice this size. We ruled over around one million kilometer then we came to the eight years of war and to Khoramshahr.  

I’ve spoken to many Iraqi military members. In the ceremony held in the name of Saleh Mousavi, I pointed out issues about Iraq. The Iraqi military confessed that during our nineteen months of stay in Khoramshahr, we were in fear of you and didn’t sleep one night in peace; do you know what a Mohamareh nigh is? It’s a night with no dawn and many went crazy and many others escaped. The escape from Iraqi army started in Khoramshahr and the Iraqi government, to the end of the war, was unable to stop it.

They escaped because they got rich in Khoramshahr. The abandoned houses were full of gold jewelry of women left behind; the banks, the markets and even the jewelry stores. Some would put the gold in bags and cheer. Plundering Khoramshahr, they had no reason to stay in the army and fight and die and escape from the army started in Khoramshahr. The Iraqis had taken so much money in Khoramshahr that they set up an exchange office there; i.e., the Iraqi soldiers didn’t have to go to Basrah and Mousel to exchange their money! The strong Iraqi Dinar equal to three dollars; during Saddam, three dollars equaled one Dinar and they plundered the city. An Iraqi colonel said that when Khoramshahr fell we were in HajOmran. They brought carpets and distributed amongst army officials. I asked: “Where do these come from?” They said: “From Abu Ahmad Market in Mohammereh.” I said: “Khoramshahr, Mohammereh, has no Abu Ahmad market.” They laughed and responded: “Abu Ahmad market means Khomeini market! It is a market that we are plundering. The carpets of Khormashahr reached HajOmran, they had travelled 1200 kilometers!

I spoke to an Iraqi doctor. He was from Kirkuk and Turkish. I used to speak to them when I was in the camp. Usually in his office; there was a heater there and we would warm up some food and chat. We were both Turkish. We understood each other. His name is Laith. We corresponded ten years ago through someone. He migrated to Norway. The doctor said: “I was on leave. My father said that the tribe chief wants to see me. I went to see him and he said: “Where do you fight in this war?” I said: “In Khoramshahr.” He said: “You know my son. He is an officer there. I’ve asked you here to tell you to stay away from the assets of the people in Mohammareh. My son brought a necklace from there for his wife. His wife went crazy and we have a lot of problems there. Don’t touch their assets. Those assets belong to the people there. They took everything from Khoramshahr to Basra. New markets were established, but some people would avoid shopping there. They’d say: “These are plundered and brought here.”

They said: “You can’t defend your land; they got the answer on the 3rd of Khordad; 24 May 1982. People were excited and we celebrated in the streets; part of this celebration was to void this belief that we can’t defend our country; we grew with its wheat and dried our clothes under its sun. This is my interpretation that this belief was so tough for the world that from 24 May 1982 to 4 February 1983 they conquered us in every battle; almost all operations were unsuccessful. After Khoramshahr was freed the whole world supported Saddam so that the belief of victory would not grow in us. But in Fav it was realized and the Iranian Army conquered Fav; we succeeded because Iraqis were more worried about defending their country than fighting.

Part of this belief (that we can defend our land) was formed by women; with their strong resistance and living in battlefields, and we owe them a strong respect and we have this celebration here today for their book.

There is one issue raised by an Iraqi captive doctor who was in Khoramshahr; Dr. Ahmad Abdulrahman. He was a gentleman and respectful person; he was a noncommissioned officer. He said: “One I was on leave. My mother said: “Let’s visit your uncle.” He had a TV and there was a repost on war and Iranian war prisoners. My uncle said: “Ahmad, these are all children!” I said: “If these are children, then you should see the adults!” Now I say: “You haven’t seen the women.” Thank you.[3]


[1] The celebration of four books on women’s resistance in Khoramshahr: Sabah, the memoirs of Sabah Vatankhah produced by Fatemeh Dustkami; Sachi, the memoirs of Nassrin Bagherzadeh, wife of Martyr Bahman Bagheri produced by Behnaz Zarabizadeh; The soothing lights of town, memoirs of Zohreh Farhadi produced by Faezeh Sasanikhah; and the Beautiful days of life, the memoir of Sepideh Fouzieh Madih produced by Somayyeh Shariflou held on 9 July 2019 in the Soureh Hall of the Art Division. These books were produced in the Office of Resistance Literature and Art and published by Soureh Mehr.

[2] Seyyedeh Azam Hossieni, author of Da: the memoirs of Seyyedeh Zahra Hosseini. This book was produced in the Office of Resistance Literature and Art and published by Soureh Mehr.

[3] The article by Morteza Sarhangi in the celebration of four books on women’s resistance in Khoramshahr.

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