Operation Samen al-Aemmeh in the Memoirs of Zohreh Farhadi

Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


It was the month of October of the year 1360 (1981). Unwillingly, I felt the atmosphere of the first days of school again, and I was worried. If the war had not started, Fatemeh Farhanian, Masoumeh Ramhormozi, few other high school girls, and I would have been worked. Before the war, the most important hours of my life were spent at school.

Until last year, I used to start the autumn with the purchase of school bag, shoes, and stationery from the Seif market, school enrollment, the ironing of my tent, coat, and pants, and having stress to get to school early and the urge to sit on the chairs, began. Every year, in the last days of Shahrivar (September), I couldn't wait for the first day of Mehr (September 23).

This autumn, however, began for us with the message of Imam Khomeini. In one of the speeches, the Imam said that the siege of Abadan should be broken, but attempts to launch an operation were unsuccessful. From the first day of Mehr (September 23), the Iraqi invasion of Abadan had intensified.

On the first or second day of Mehr (September 23 or 24), we went to downtown with some girls. The situation on the streets and in the neighborhoods was always different. The number of troops had increased. Army tanks and personnel carriers were moving around dramatically.

I saw more anti-aircraft guns in different parts of the city. Between stations eight and nine, there was a large piece of earth in which many bulwarks were prepared. They had prepared parts for mortars. Tanks were seen in different parts of the city. Given these changes, we thought there should be an operation ahead. We had been prepared at the hospital the day before.

On the night of the 5th of Mehr (September 26), they announced that everyone had to be prepared, that there might be an operation, and that they would be injured.

I went to our room and slept with shoes, a coat, and a mask. At about three in the morning, I woke up with the voice of a lady who was in charge of ladies: "Get up! Get up! Everyone should go on their shifts quickly!"

I got out of bed and ran to the emergency room. I prepared everything, put the peripheral venous catheter in my coat pocket, and put the adhesives on the trolley table so that I would not be delayed if they came injured worriers.

The first wounded they brought was a member of the Abadan Corps. I went to see him. He was a young boy named Malik Hadpour Siraj. He was dark and had curly hair and medium height. I injected him with the tetanus vaccine so that the wound would not become infected.

  • "Brother!" asked I while dressing the wound, "has the operation been performed?"
  • "Yes. Our forces are trying to break the siege from around the Abadan-Mahshahr road," replied he.
  • "How is the line?" said I.
  • "Don’t worry!  Our forces cut off the breath of Iraqis," said he with a laugh.

We were extremely busy. In addition to the beds of rooms, there were beds in the emergency room and corridors as well. The wounded were being brought continually until six in the morning. Doctors, paramedics, and nurses were busy too.

Each nurse was in charge of one bed; when I was done, I would go to another bed and start working for the injured. Our duties included injecting tetanus, injecting serum, preventing bleeding, and dressing the wound. Soheila Eftekharzadeh also visited beds quickly and started working for the injured.

Some of the injured were in critical condition. One of them was a young boy who had suffered a concussion. As I was doing basic treatment for him, white pieces of his brain fell on my hand; It was as if someone had grabbed my heart. His body was weak. The emergency doctor tried to find a vein for him, but he did not have one.

  • "I can find a vein from his foot," told I the doctor.

And I succeeded. The doctor looked at me in surprise and admiration. I learned this from one of the nurses.

The wounded man, who was in poor condition, was taken to a recovery room, where he was placed under intensive care until a bus carrying the injured arrived and transported him to the Oil Company Hospital, which was equipped with a neurosurgeon.

The emergency room, ward, and even the corridors were full of injured. Emergency beds and corridors did not suffice for so many injured. I went from bed to bed, sometimes sitting on the floor and dressing the wounded. During my travels, I saw a teenage boy whose back, hips, and legs were badly damaged, and whose body and clothes were covered in blood. I wondered what the doctors could do for him! His injury was so severe that I did not dare to visit him.

I went to do my work. The wounded man was lying on one of the emergency beds. I knew him. His name was Sahib Abboudzadeh. I knew his wife Esmat Habibzadeh. He was active in the school of Quran and Esmatiyeh and I had seen him in religious ceremonies in Khorramshahr. I went ahead to inject him with the tetanus vaccine.

  • "Sister!" looked at me and said he, "Do not touch me!"
  • "Okay", paused and said I, "I don’t touch you."
  • "Brother!" called one of the male nurses I, "come here and vaccinate him!"

I went to another wounded man, after injecting him with the tetanus vaccine and bandaging his wound, and immediately sent him to the ward. I came to the same bed where Aboudzadeh was laying a few minutes ago. The wounded man was lying on his side, and I couldn’t see his face. I thought Aboudzadeh had been transferred and I did not notice the arrival of a newly injured person! I went to inject him with the vaccine and he came back to me. He was Sahib Abboudzadeh! I was shocked.

  • "I have asked you not to touch me?!" shouted he angrily before I had any reaction.
  • "I'm sorry", said I embarrassedly, "okay".

And I went away from his bed. They were bringing so many wounded, and it was so crowded that I thought the new wounded were lying on that bed, I hadn’t known that he was Sahib.

Among the injured brought to the emergency room was an Iraqi man who had one of his legs amputated. I injected him with tetanus and serum. I took one surgical drape from sterile containers and wrapped it around my legs. At the same time, I turned around and looked behind me and saw that they were taking a film from the emergency room with a camera. One of them was one of the comrades of merajoshohada.

The captive's eyes were closed with a band and I did not want to touch him. I opened his eyes with scissors. When he saw me, he tried to kiss my hand but I pulled my hand back.

  • "Thank you, thank you", repeated he these words one after another, "I am a follower of Khomeini... I am Muslim."

The captive wouldn’t be treated by a simple dressing; he had to undergo surgery. He was taken to the operating room. We already had wounded Iraqis coming from the front lines. The care of the prisoners was the responsibility of the Basij brothers[1] due to security issues and lack of trust in them, and they did not allow the relief sisters to come and go in their rooms.

I went out of the emergency room. Hospital ambulances, army vehicles were constantly on the move. The staff rushed from one side to another side. A special bus arrived to take the wounded. We picked up one of the stretchers on which the injured person was lying with one of the rescuers and took it to the bus. I wanted to take the stretcher on the bus, but due to the intensity of my work and the weakness of my hands, the stretchers fell unconsciously; that injured person was about to fall on the ground. The head of the stretcher went inside the bus and most of his body was out, I felt that the injured person had lost his balance and was about to fall.

  • "Wow, if he slips, he'll hit the ground," said I.

I went under the stretcher so that he would not be injured. One of the rescuers came and helped me, and we put the injured person on the bus, no matter how difficult it was.

  • "Dr. Hassani wants to meet you!" called and said one of the rescuers me.

I returned to the building. I was surprised and said to myself: why does the head of the hospital want to meet me in this commotion?! I went to Dr. Hassani's office, which was on the ground floor, before the Martyr Foundation Room and the Personnel office. I knocked on the door; I got permission and entered the room.

  • "Doctor, did you have anything to do with me?" said I hello and asked.
  • "Yes" replied Dr. Hassani in a soft voice, "The forces of the emergency department complained about you."
  • "About me?" I asked in surprise," What did I do?"
  • "The male nurses say that this lady, you, put the peripheral venous catheter and the vaccine in her pocket and did not allow us to do anything, and she did the work herself very fast!" said he.
  • "Well, let them do their job," replied I," What do I do for them? Doctor, we shouldn't do the works with hesitation for the wounded who have lost a lot of blood!"
  • "Get on with each other," said Dr. Hassani respectfully, "They are also working hard."

 I didn’t want at all to take the job of someone else.

I promised and went back to the emergency room. The corridors and emergency rooms were full of wounded persons. There were so many of them that they lay on the floor next to the emergency wall. Most were injured in the abdomen, arms, and legs. When walking, we were careful not to crush their hands and feet. One of the wounded was in a very bad condition. He was injured in the abdomen and chest. There was no hope that he would be alive. A doctor came over his head.

  • "He will die" after the examination said he, "go to visit other wounded!"

 He said these words and walked away from the bed.  I did not like what he said. I followed him.

  • "Doctor, he is not well," called and said I him," but he is still alive, he is breathing! We may be able to do something for him."

The doctor went back to visit the injured person. Within a few minutes, he was martyred.

It was afternoon. At about three o'clock, we had lunch in turn, prayed, and returned.

They were injured until eight o'clock at night, but their number gradually decreased. From that morning until that hour, perhaps about two hundred, or three hundred wounded persons were brought in there. The sound of gunfire and other weapons was reduced. We heard the news of the victory of Operation Samen al-A' meh in the hospital and Abadan's siege was broken. After a year of grief over the fall of Khorramshahr and the siege of Abadan, we became happy at that time. It was a good night for us and a bitter night for the enemy. It was a great victory, we did feel happy and we were proud. It was a great victory. After a year of hard days and nights, the Abadan's people were joyful and happy.

The thought of the stigma and humiliation of the arrogant Ba'athists excited us uncontrollably, and the light of joy was in the eyes of all. After enduring a year of hard days and nights, Abadan was in joy and happiness. The blood of the martyrs was fruitful and we were able to drive the Ba'athists back from our land for miles. The whole city was overjoyed. People were shouting "Allah Akbar"[2] in the city. Everyone was talking about the escape and defeat of the Ba'athists. Our forces said that the Ba'athists had left a lot of spoils of war and had not even had a chance to take their personal belongings. The thought of the stigma and humiliation of the arrogant Ba'athists excited us uncontrollably, and the light of joy was in the eyes of all.

Breaking the siege of this city gave us the good news that the liberation of Khorramshahr is also possible. We just did not know when it would be taken place?[3]


[1] Volunteer forces

[2] It is a common Islamic Arabic expression, which means God is greater, used in various contexts by Muslims; in prayer), in the Islamic call to prayer as an informal expression of faith, in times of distress or joy, or to express resolute determination or defiance.

[3] Sasanikhah, F (2019) The Lights of the City, Memoirs of Zohreh Farhadi, Surah Mehr Publications, Tehran, First Edition, pp. 409-442.

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