SABAH (11)

Memoirs of Sabah Vatankhah

Interviewed and Compiled by Fatemeh Doustkami
Translated by Natalie Haghverdian

2020-05-26


SABAH (11)

Memoirs of Sabah Vatankhah

Interviewed and Compiled by Fatemeh Doustkami

Translated by Natalie Haghverdian

Published by Soore Mehr Publishing Co.

Persian Version 2019


 

On twenty third of Azar (December 14th 1978) there was news going around about the explosion of a bomb in the residence of one of the Savakis in Khorramshahr called Veysi. One of the revolutionary youngsters of Khorramshahr called Hassan Mojtahed Zadeh, along with a few friends, had placed a home-made bomb in their ventilation channel, when the residents were not home.

A few hours go by, but the bomb does not explode. Hassan, pretending to buy herbs and bread, goes near the house to see what has happened. At the same moment the bomb explodes and he is injured.

Savakis arrest Hassan and move him to hospital. He was supposed to move from hospital to jail. Hassan’s friends try to fake themselves as doctors and nurses to rescue him, but they did not succeed since Savaki forces had his room under tight control. His friends knew his condition and the doctors believed that he has no severe problem and can be discharged, but after a few days that they moved him from hospital to jail, we heard that he has become a martyr; he had been tortured severely and his nails were removed. We could not understand what exactly Savakis had done to him.

Savakis gave a message to Mojtahed Zadeh family: “If you want to get the body of your son, you have to pay for the bullets he has received. Put the money in a candy box and bring it for us! After receiving the body, you have to bury him without any complication.”

His friends consulted his family and decided to give him a proper burial instead of an anonymous ceremony. I will never forget his burial. His death had made the public furious. The slogans changed from Allah Akbar and Khomeini is our leader to death to Shah. The voices of the public got louder and louder.

We went for marching with my mom, Fouziyeh, Shahnaz, Saleheh, Ferdows and Ali on 26 of Dey (January 16th 1979). The marches started at eight in the morning and finished around eleven and twelve. It was around noon that we got to Enghelab Street. Somebody was giving slogans with a microphone and we changed after him. All of a sudden it was announced that Shah has escaped. The public was very happy and singing. I had never seen such a job among the crowd so far. We did not believe that Shah has escaped. The public was chanting: “Shah has escaped with a cart.”

We returned home happy and hopeful. We were confident that the revolution has succeeded. We were one step towards the formation of Islamic Government. We had heard a lot from difference ideologies and isms in the public and at school that we were in dire need of an Islamic government.

I remember that one day, when we were standing in the yard with our own group and were deciding on the next day marching, one of the Communist party followers came to us and said; “nationalist, our path and goal is one. I will join you tomorrow.” I told: “if you want to join us, it is ok. But be aware that our path might be the same, but our goals are different. You look for materialism but we are looking for Islamic government; a government both having materialism and spiritualism together.”

This was my belief deep in my heart. But to be honest I did not know Ayatollah Khomeini as much as I knew Masoud Rajavi and his followers of MEK. This recognition was due to the large activities of its followers. Even sometimes I got confused who was right. It was hard for me to distinguish right from wrong. I referred to my own wisdom. I told myself that the religion has come to guide humans? So I should find my answer in religion and recognize right from wrong. I will follow an Islamic pattern. I took Imam Hossein as a pattern. I started comparing the deeds of others with his. He was the basis of my comparison for right and wrong.

With this method, I could find the answers to my questions very quickly. The behavior and speech of Ayatollah Khomeini was very similar to his ancestors but Masoud Rajavi was not interested in Islamic ruling. I knew that it was forbidden in Islam for men to shave and clean their faces like women. Despite this fact, Masoud and his followers always shaved! I told myself that those people, who repeat the forbidden act every day, could not be my religious leader?! Masoud talked about Islam a lot but he also believed that we have reactionary Islam too and we have to fight against it.

Another issue which was bothering me a lot was the behavior and appearance of Masoud’s followers. The girls who were following him used to wear small scarves and wore tight and short skirts and were always showing off in front of the men and boys of their group. This behavior was not in line with Islam.

I was looking for the Islam of Abouzar and Meghdad. The Islam that Yasser and Emar and Somayeh had died for. There was no justification for such sexual acts and show-offs in any document and book that I had read about their lives. All the religious studies I had done during the years helped me a lot and accompanied me in getting to the passion and mental acceptance of Imam Khomeini.

After the martyrdom of Moghbel and some prayer goers of Eyde Ghorban, the public could not rest. Every gathering turned to a small protest. There were always chases in the streets of Khorramshahr. After a few days and as we were approaching Moharram, these gatherings and protests became stronger. The mourning ceremonies turned into enlightening sessions. Although SAVAK had announced that Shah’s name should not be mentioned in any mourning ceremonies but I do not recall any gathering without mentioning the name of this dictator positioned by USA and Israel.

We were restless. I used to cry under my blanket at nights. I had a strange feeling. Hope was blossoming in our hearts. We spent our days hoping for the establishment of an Islamic Government. Little by little, banks and governmental institutions were closed. We heard the news of resistance and martyrdom of people in other cities and provinces. In between, the declarations and speeches of Ayatollah Khomeini were spreading very quickly among us. We started calling him Imam Khomeini.

We had a great job by hearing that Imam is returning to Iran. After Shah left, this was the best news to be heard. We felt a flow of fresh blood running in our vessels. We were waiting impatiently for the return of Imam.

Shahpour Bakhtiar announced that all airports are closed until further notice. We were struggling in a limbo. We were worried of the actions that Shah’s servant might take. We were worried that something will happen to Imam. We all started praying to God and clergies. We made a lot of vows for the same return of Imam to the country.

Finally it was twelfth of Bahman and Imam came.  We had all gather and gazed at the TV. We were one thousand kilometers away from the airport, waiting impatiently for his arrival. For one minute I could not remember when the last time was, I had watched TV. We had totally forgotten about watching TV and were busy with the recent movements of Revolution and protests. I gazed at the beautiful photo that we had framed a while ago and hung it above our samovar table while waiting for TV to show the landing of the airplane carrying Imam Khomeini. We had hung his picture on the wall so that we could see his kind face first in the morning when we were gathering for breakfast. When the TV showed Imam coming down from the stairs of the plane, my mom started chanting happily. We were all crying out of joy.

There were daily protests after twelfth of Bahman. People did not stay in houses. We started from Pahlavi Street to Ferdowsi Street and Fakhre Razi and at the end gathered in Jame Mosque of Khorramshahr. Khorramshahr navy forces were on guard. The army was also on guard. Although we had full faith in God, but the victory of revolution was a miracle. It was almost impossible for public to win with bare hands since Shah had a lot of power and facilities and had started killing. When we saw the picture of Humphrey’s allegiance with Imam, we felt more secured. The Revolution was coming to victory step by step.

On nineteenth of Bahman, the curfew tightened. We had high hopes with the arrival of Imam, but we still had a lot of stresses. We were afraid that Bakhtiar might take a wrong action and intrude Refah School. We were worried for the safety of Imam.

On twenty first of Bahman, we were informed that the curfew hours have increased to four thirty to five in the morning by Tehran Security Commander. When Imam heard about the increasing hours of curfew, he instructed public to break the curfew and pour into the streets. He had ordered: “the curfew should be broken this very night.”

To be continued…

 



 
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