SABAH (16)

Memoirs of Sabah Vatankhah

Interviewed and Compiled by Fatemeh Doustkami
Translated by Natalie Haghverdian


SABAH (16)

Memoirs of Sabah Vatankhah

Interviewed and Compiled by Fatemeh Doustkami

Translated by Natalie Haghverdian

Published by Soore Mehr Publishing Co.

Persian Version 2019


On fifth of Khordad (25 May), as we had promised, we went on strike in the mosque[1]. We did not think that our strike will last a few days. We were around three hundred individuals. We heard that at the same time, many people and clergy had held protests in the city and insisted on the public disarmament and use of non-resident soldiers to keep the security and control of the city.

Around noon, we were informed that the Arabs Public followers have attacked the customs and had martyred one guard and one security guard of the customs during an armed conflict. They were retaliating since the navy had disarmed three members of The Arabs Public in Bazar!

We did not exit the mosque. The funeral of two martyrs lasted until night. It was during evening prayer that we saw public coming to mosque from the funeral. The crowd was big. Most people had attended the funeral. There was no place in mosque. Around ten p.m., Mr. Madani who was the provincial governor came to the mosque and had a meeting with Governor, some clergy and brothers and some representatives of Sheikh Shobeyr. The result of the meeting was to postpone the Arabs Public disarmament until tenth of Khordad! We were not in agreement with this decision. Therefore active revolutionary followers such as “Jahan Ara” and “Zamani” decided that we stay in mosque. The door of the mosque was open to public. We were in mosque twenty-four seven but our families came to mosque during the day and brought us bread, cheese and steam cooked potatoes.

There was unrest in the city. I was so upset. I could not imagine that despite the victory of revolution, my city could be in such a chaos. We stayed in mosque for a few more days. We had all decided not to withdraw unless our wishes are granted. In this condition, unity and integrity among the revolutionary group was the most important and effective part.

On the early morning of ninth of Khordad, that was one day before the deadline, we woke up with the sound of continuous shootings. At the same time a cocktail Molotov exploded in the yard of the mosque. We were looking at each other surprised. Thanks God nobody was harmed, but this act made us worried. We were anxious. We did not know how long this unrest could last in our city.

When the sun risen completely, the city was in a war situation. The Arabs Public had entrenched the streets. Two, three stores of telecommunication and gas station of Ferdowsi Street had been set on fire and some residents had been robbed. It was curfew in the city. It was near noon that the navy base of Khorramshahr was attacked through Karoun and Arvand and at noon, three trading ships weighing around 1000 tons were set on fire. This news and the sound of volley being heard around the city, had given Khorramshahr a terrific situation; we had to break our strike.

The public of some members of the center and revolutionary forces could siege some of the buildings of Political and Cultural Center of The Arabs Public and after a few hours of conflict, with the help of God, those buildings were captured, and two main sources of conflict fell. Despite this, the conflict extended to the border of the city for three more days.

During those three days, the city was in curfew and nobody exited their residences. The situation was so insecure that we did not know when the next explosion will happen and who will die.

From fourteenth of Khordad, the city returned to a relative peace. The Arabs Public especially the nomads who had come to Khorramshahr to support them, continued. The commuting of The Arabs Public in the city brought us some news from the borders. As they said there was suspicious commuting in the border which was worrisome. Most of this news broke to us by Ali. He was in touch with the members of the center and cooperated.

During this time, the guards of Lorestan helped us to create tranquility in the city and fight any possible movement; those guards provided the situation for eradication of anti-revolutionary and The Arabs Public activities with their entry to the city. It was in the morning of twenty second of Tir that we heard that one of these guards called Anoushiravan Rezaee who was in charge of the dispatched Revolutionary Guards from Khorram Abad, who was martyred during a night patrol in Kout Sheikh. The public said that the killer of Martyr Rezaee is Jenomo. Jenomo was a cunning villain. When the rumor spread among the public that Jenomo is the killer of Guard Rezaee, he ran away to Shadegan. The public said that the Arabs Public has helped him escape so that their secret is not revealed.

The third day ceremony of Martyr Rezaee was held in Jame mosque. There was a big crowd attending the funeral. After the funeral, we went on a protest in the streets around the mosque and returned to mosque to recite a statement which we had prepared for condemning this crime. Before reciting the statement, one of the members was reading the biography of Martyr Rezaee that a grenade explosion was heard. The grenade was thrown into the yard of the mosque from outside; a grenade which we later found out that had martyred seven people and wounded a few others.

We had gathered in the seraglio of the mosque with a few other members. The quivers of the grenade had even entered the mosque. Parvin (Pari) Hoursi was in our group there. In the humming, we heard Parvin screaming. We ran towards her. Her face was filled with blood. He was shouting in pain and had put her hands on her face and did not let us see what has happened. Blood was pouring among her fingers. We could make her calm and found out that the quiver has destroyed one of her eyes. Blood was pumping from her eye socket. A few members rushed her to the hospital but unfortunately, Parvin lost her sight in one eye.

There was chaos around and the wounded people were crying. The crowd were terrified and ran out of mosque. One of the martyrs of that day was a newlywed young Arab speaking boy called Abdol-Reza Ghayem who was studying in the fourth grade of Jame Movaheding high school and taught us Quran in high school.

The public was furious and angry and moved towards the residence of Sheikh Shobeyr who had become the supportive angle of The Arabs Public. The conflict between the public and the guards of Sheikh’s residence had no result and the residence was sieged by public. At the same spot a number of individuals creating events in Khorramshahr were arrested and Sheikh was taken to Ahwaz. Besides them, a number of disruptive agents of The Arabs Public, who created insecurity in the city and panic and terror among public were arrested throughout the city and were executed the next day. One of them was Sheikh Shobeyr’s driver.

Imam ordered to transfer the Sheikh to Qom. With his transfer and occupation of buildings of the Arabs Public and their arrest, many activists of The Arabs Public and anti-revolution escaped Khorramshahr. The atmosphere in the city became calm once more. During the last days of Tir 1358 (June-July 1979), the policy of the Arabs Public had failed completely in Khorramshahr and the revolutionary forces could find a strong place in public heart.

To be continued…


[1] The members of the Khorramshahr Islamic Revolutionary Cultural-Military center and the Revolutionary Guards issued a statement against the efforts to separate the Arabs and break the unity of the people in the area and announced: “Since the authorities have neglected this issue and efforts have not been made to arrest those involved, we will go on a strike in the Jameh Mosque and will continue with a hunger strike if it is not addressed.” They announced Maki Feysali the representative of the Arabs Public in the previous regime as an anti-revolutionary responsible for such action and pronounced the armed forces of the Arabs Public as the invaders of the Revolutionary Guards’ headquarters. Iran and Iraq war calendar- fostering the first war declaration: establishment of a new regime, volume two, chaos in Khuzestan, page 286.

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