The 316th Night of Memory – 2

The Main Weapon Left from the War Is the Culture of Self-Sacrifice and Martyrdom

Elnaz Darvish
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


Note: The 316th program of Night of Memory was held online on the Aparat website on the 27th of August, 2020. In this program, "Mustafa Beidaghi", the captive freed from the hands of the Takfirists[1], and "Brigadier General Ali Valizadeh", a destructor during the imposed war retold their memoirs. Davoud Salehi was present in this program as the administrator.

The second narrator of Night of Memory was General Ali Valizadeh, one of the destructors in eight years of sacred defense. The destructor entered the field of operations first; they have not left the field, up to now. They were the closest ones to martyrdom, and no painting has been able to depict their bravery. General Ali Valizadeh, the son of the martyr Haj Agha Valizadeh and the brother of martyrs Haj Asghar, Haj Akbar, and Amir Valizadeh, introduced us to the bravery of this destructor through his memoirs. General Valizadeh began his speech with a poem by Hafez Shirazi:[2]

Remember when I was a drunk and ruin dweller

What is lacking in my mosque today, was in there.

He went on to recount a memory of the Khyber operation: "The Khyber operation took place in the Khuzestan and Hur al-Azim regions, which began on almost three different war fronts in the areas of Talaieh, the northern and southern islands, and al-Qarna. I was in the al-Qarna area on the night of the operation, and we returned after the operation was over. When we went back, I saw around the embankment the names of the comrades who had been martyred; the comrades who were with us a few days ago.

Following the Khyber operation, it was announced that the northern and southern islands should be evacuated. Due to the existence of oil wells in the islands, it was decided to send a team to destroy the oil wells. This mission was entrusted to me. We filled three Shinnok helicopters with ammunition and mines obtained from Iraqi slums. There was no helicopter in the islands, some water was poured on the forts so that the soil would not rise and the lights of the fort were turned on so that the helicopter could land. Our flight was at night, when we arrived, we had very little time to unload the ammunition; because the Iraqis heard the sound of helicopters and we had to unload the ammunition as soon as possible. With the help of the comrades, we carried the ammunition. The late Hossein Karbalaei sent Dariush Jafarzadeh to help me with a motorcycle. I asked him to move the ammunition first and then prepare to identify the area and locate and destroy it."

Jafarzadeh said: "We have to go to the camp. When we arrived at the camp, martyr Hemmat[3] was waiting for us. Until then, I had never seen martyr Hemmat so depressed. We had a very difficult situation in the region. Martyr Hemmat said to me:" The operation to destroy the oil wells has been canceled. Imam Khomeini sent a message asking us to save the island and keep the comrades, even if the event Karbala[4] occurred again." Exactly the mission of destruction and expulsion caused the line consolidated and we had to plan to stay. There were two forts between us and the Iraqis on the southern island: in the first fort, the 10th Brigade of Sayyid al-Shuhada and in the second fort the Ali Ibn Abitaleb Brigade was located. All the pressure of the Iraqis on the fort of Sayyid al-Shuhada was to be maintained. Martyr Hemmat said to me:" If we can move the water from left to right and the water flows, we will be relieved about the islands." I told him: "We can move the water to a depth of about two meters". He became very happy and asked, "How much time do we need?" I said: "it usually takes forty-five minutes, but as the practices we had, we reached a quarter." Keep in mind that this was the first explosion of the fort during the war, which had to be done in the middle of the night, and we did not have a history of destroying the fort in this way until this operation was carried out.

We went to identify the area and the point where we had to explode. Many martyrs and wounded were left on the road. When the time of destruction was determined, I told Seyyed Mohammad Zeinali Hosseini, the deputy of Abdullah Nourian in charge of destroying the 10th Martyrs' Division, as far as possible and we have time to move the comrades back; Because after the destruction of the fort, the comrade could not be taken back and remained on the side of the Iraqis.

The operation of destroying the fortress took place in two stages, first, we had to open a hole to blow it up. The purpose of the explosion was to open a large crater in four meters deep. We were divided into two groups because we had to go back quickly; Therefore, I did the first stage and Mohammad Zohourian did the second stage. During the operation, the Iraqis fired on the surface. They turned on the floodlights of tanks and made there bright like a day. After the first explosion, the Iraqis fired anti-aircraft guns. They thought that it was a night bombing. Thanks to God, the second phase of destruction was completed and a larger and deeper crater was created than we expected. The water separated us from the Iraqis and made it impossible for Iraqi tanks to pass. Mr. Sardari, one of the engineers at the camp, came with us to check the situation and see whether or not the water would eventually flow. Martyr Hemmat had been looking for a barrier of water, but the water was crossed with great depth and made a deep barrier, the result of the operation was far from our expectation, and this was more like a miracle.

General Valizadeh went on to talk about the comrades of the destruction unit and what happened in the destruction: "There were two parts to the events that took place in the destruction: the first part was the technique of the work and the second part was the spirits of the destructors. What the destructors did in the war shows that we did not have ten days of Muharram[5] or a month and a year Muharram in the region, but Muharram was for eight years in the war and every day was Ashura for us. This was quite evident in the behavior and actions of the comrades who were working as destructors. They were training and neutralizing the mines and bombs and were constantly present in the area. The spirit of martyrdom and self-sacrifice, which was the achievement of Muharram and Ashura and was strengthened during the sacred defense, later entered the universities. It created the necessary motivation in universities. Stem cells were formed and nuclear martyrs emerged. It also provoked resistance in the region from Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. We did not bring a weapon from the war, but our main weapon was the culture of self-sacrifice and martyrdom that came out of the hearts of Muharram and Ashura, and this was not possible except with love for the Ahl al-Bayt[6].

He also recounted a memory of neutralizing a chemical bomb after Operation Badr: After Operation Badr, Mr. Rezaei came to Hamid Military Base from IRGC Ministry. He had sent me a letter from Mr. Mohsen Rafiqdoost stating that there was a chemical bomb in the area and that it should be defused and sent to Tehran so that the chemical defense department could work on it. Some time ago, the army brothers asked me for a mission to defuse the bomb, so I entrusted them with this mission. I sent a letter to the Air Force asking them to send a team to defuse the bomb. Three months passed before Mr. Rezaei came to our military base again. He was very upset because during this time various forces were sent to defuse the bomb, but they did not succeed. This was natural because this system was unknown, and it was emphasized that the bomb should be defused as soon as possible and delivered to the chemical defense for analysis.

Khuzestan's summer is very hot; I told him to go to defuse the bomb in the same clothes I wore in the camp. Mr. Rezaei looked at me and said: "Mr. Valizadeh, do not bother me! We have been going with different teams for three months to defuse this bomb." I said: "Seriously, let's rely on God! God willing, we will succeed." We were a plumber family, and sometimes we used plumbing designs to defuse the bomb. On the way, I picked up a pair of wrenches from the camp and chose Ali Fereydounejad, one of the comrades who volunteered as usual, who lost both his hands and one eye, and because of the extra morale, he gave me during the operation, as well as Reza Taheri. I did and we set off. Journalists were present along with the comrades of the CBRN unit (Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense); hence there is documentation of the operation that day.

The bomb had landed obliquely on the ground. To determine the position of the bomb, we first towed it out of the ground with a machine. There was usually a colored bar around the chemical bombs that showed their code. The yellow bar is nerve gas, the red bar is cyanide gas and the blue bar is mustard gas. The red band around the bomb indicated that it was cyanide gas. We used a few sacks so that the initial explosion would not bother us. Since quiver is not important in chemical bombs and evaporated gas should be considered, the initial shell is thin. I was still being contacted from the south that there was a chemical bomb somewhere; I said that there was no chemical bomb at all because it must have rotted until up to now. A chemical bomb exploded with initial combustion and emitted gas, and because the gas is heavier than air, it sat on the surface. We used sacks. The forces of CBRN who attended there told us we had to wear special clothes. It is appropriate here to mention the defenders of health and we should rightly kiss their hands and may God bless them. Our clothes are similar to the clothes of health defenders, completely isolated and the air could not penetrate them. In that hot weather of Khuzestan, I testify to God that this wearing these clothes bothered me more than naturalizing the bomb. I wore the clothes for about forty-five minutes and my body looked like cheese. As usual, after we sent everyone back, we sat on top of the bomb with Ali Fereydoun and started talking to the bomb. Destructors contact the bomb when they are going to naturalize it to find out if the bomb is dangerous to them. I told Ali:" "This is not the dangerous one, I have no feeling and this bomb does not dare to harm me." As soon as he cut off the fuse, the bomb smoked and it was ready to operate. I quickly threw the wrenches and dived behind the embankment. Ali laughed and said:" I think you made a mistake and this is the same bomb." Nothing happened ten minutes later. I waited for a while and went back to the bomb and noticed that the bright-line circuit was broken where the fuse had been broken. Thank God, the bomb was defused and the part that contained the liquid was safely removed, and we poured sand behind the car, sealed it tightly, and handed it over to Mr. Rezaei. We also took the fuse to the camp and after splitting it, we distributed it everywhere as a booklet for training.

Two weeks later, Mr. Rezaei came to the camp again. I asked with a laugh: "What happened again? We have given the bomb to you." he said: "We took it, but we do not dare to touch it, we are afraid the comrades will be harmed". When I came to Tehran, I was supposed to go to Mr. Rezaei to split the bomb. I came to Tehran two weeks later for vacation. I went to the city park and got a gas valve and the necessary equipment. At the headquarters, with the equipment we had brought, I placed the gas valve in the tin area between the liquid container and the bomb, and gently pressed it, took the liquid out in a vacuum, and handed it to them. It was not hard work, but they did not have an experience like comrades of destruction unit and were harassed. "Thanks to God, we defused the bomb successfully."

So far, The 316th Night of Memory for sacred defense has been held in Sureh Hall of Art Center by the Center for Resistance Culture and Literature Studies and Research and the Office of Resistance Literature and Art. The next program will be held on September 24, 2020.

The 316th Night of Memory – 1


[1] A takfiri is a Muslim who accuses another Muslim of apostasy. The accusation itself is called takfir, derived from the word kafir, and is described as when "one who is a Muslim is declared impure.

[2] He is known by his pen name Hafez and as "Hafiz", was a Persian poet who "lauded the joys of love and wine but also targeted religious hypocrisy.

[3] Mohammad Ebrahim Hemmat was a teacher and an Iranian military leader. He was one of the highest ranking officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps during the Iran-Iraq War. In 1982, he spent a few months fighting against Israel during the 1982 Lebanon War.

[4] It is referred to the Battle of Karbala was fought on 10 October 680 between the army of the second Umayyad caliph Yazid I and a small army led by Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, at Karbala, Iraq. Prior to his death, the Umayyad caliph Muawiyah I had nominated his son Yazid as his successor.

[5] It is the first month of the Islamic calendar. The general meaning of the adjective 'haiiharram means "banned, barred, forbidden, illegal, illicit, impermissible, prohibited, unlawful, unauthorized, unpermitted". It is one of the four sacred months of the year during when warfare is forbidden.

[6] Within the Islamic tradition, it is a phrase that mainly refers to the family of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and a lesser extent, his ancestor Ibrahim. In Shia Islam, the Ahl al-Bayt are central to Islam and interpreters of the Quran and Sunnah.

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