Health Defenders

The 335th Night of Memory - 7

Health Defenders

Sepideh Kholoosian
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


The 335th program of the Night of Memory was held in the Sooreh Hall of the Art Center on Thursday 5th of Khordad 1401 (May 26, 2022) attended by the physicians and the staff of the health defenders and hosted by Davood Slaehi. The families of the martyrs of health defenders, the medical health staff and a number of volunteers in the area of health were present in the ceremony, talking about the memoirs of the breakout and ascension of the corona pandemic.


The seventh narrator of the show was Mohammad Javad Salimian who spoke about his activities during the corona peak. He said, “We the clergies are the people who see us from the very first station of life till its last station and are familiar with our clothes. Some of your parents took advice from us before marriage, which means we were with you before your birth. When the children were born, we used to say the call to prayer in their ears, later we recited their wedding sermon, and there was only one job left that we did not do, which was the work in the mortuary, and due to the corona pandemic, it was decided that we should be at service!

Those days, conditions were prepared for me and my wife to go on a pilgrimage to Mashhad. I went to the airport with my wife. We were sitting in the plane when my wife said: "Really, the Imam thanked you. He has said: We have repeatedly thanked the nurses, doctors and health care staff, which is worthy of thanks, besides these, we should also appreciate the young volunteers, Basiji and clergy, who entered the difficult and dangerous works such as bathing, shrouding, and burial. They undertook this difficult task. I have never experienced this feeling in my life. The plane hadn't taken off yet, but I was on a high from that good feeling. I said to myself: If we can practice and do something here so that the Imam Zaman is pleased with us, then how good it would be. It was a great and good feeling. I think the loved ones who were here also experienced this feeling from the leader's words. One day, one of my friends called and said: If you have acquaintances at Massih Deneshvari Hospital, tell them to take care of my brother. I called and said that this acquaintance of ours has been brought there. Take care of him. They told me: We will inform. When I called again, they said: The patient died half an hour ago. I said to myself: How should I inform my friend? I called and told him slowly what has happened. It was too hard to even tell the news, let alone other things. In the first days, we went to the hospitals and did Tayamom (ablution with earth or sand) for the patients. It was a terrible thing. We wore a suit like astronauts and went to work. That is, the work that we had read the lessons of, but we had not done that work before and had not touched the dead. Just like I have studied Hajj, but I have not gone to Hajj pilgrimage yet, and I always say in my mind how this trip is. God’s mercy upon Haj Agha Mojtahedi. He taught us these things. I remember that the first time I came home, I took a hot shower with the same shoes and jacket and clothes. We did not know what this disease was like.

Those days, the manager of the hospital called me and said: Come and build a mortuary here. But I had never done this before. I went and saw a place and said: Here is a small room next to the sewer and you can work here. But the next day, the Behesht Zahra Cemetery allowed us to bathe the dead patients there and that room was never opened. In short, we prepared the things and went there with fear. We were scared the first day. We were told theories that we had reason to reject. For example, we said: We wash the dead. They said: Aren't you afraid of its complications? We said: Why don't you do this? They said: What will happen to their wastewater? We said: The same thing they do for living patients. They said: The one who is still alive is in the hospital and his sewage is isolated. I said: What about the one who is not feeling too bad and is going home? Where does his sewage go? He goes to the bathroom, he sweats and... where does all this go? In the sewer; but what about the dead? He has none. Now we were also afraid, but with our arguments, they accepted.

Before this, the guys of some cities had started this work. We also started in some places in Tehran. On the first day, I recited Ziarat-e Ashura and then the first Corona patient was brought there in a yellow cover. For the first time, the guys touched a dead body and started bathing. Little by little, other facts became clear to us. We saw that they brought us different corpses and not only those who died from Corona. In the beginning, I did not dare to approach them. That is, it could not be done. After all, I am also a human. I talked to them and as soon as they brought them, I would say: Welcome, God willing, you rest in peace.

Once they brought a young man who stayed at home. I saw a perfume in his pocket. I said to myself: how important it was for this young man to always smell good. I prayed that, God willing, he would be associated in the most fragrant place in heaven. When we saw these things, we were indifferent to the worldly possessions. I remember that once Mr. Zendengani came to visit with some officials. When I saw him, I said to him: Don't dance brother, you don't need to visit us. And we became friends there. I said: Brother, our conditions cannot be preserved like this. I wish you had consulted a counselor before. In short, big up to him. He said the same thing on the TV show that night.

Also once, they brought a shrine defender martyr, who had become mentally ill, and that was the reason for his martyrdom. Some people were attracted to humans very much. When we delivered them, we would ask them about them and then would find out that, for example, he did not leave his night prayer or he used to do good deeds. After that, every time I go to deliver a speech, I say: no matter how old we are, no matter what position we are in, we will die eventually. It was a strange atmosphere there. A person had a great request from God and said: we will not get rid of the disease unless God wants.


To be continued …


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