Detention at school

Translated by: M. B. Khoshnevisan


Our new life in northern country was spent in this way that one night, the father of Javad sharifi came from Hamedan to Hasankif to visit his son. After greeting, he said, "I was worried, and came to find out about your situation and to make sure that nothing happened to you". Javad's father reported that some of our friends were arrested in Hamadan. We asked the names of those arrested and found out that they were not related to us and there was no common activity between us. That's why we thought that no danger threatened us. We told Javad's father that there was no problem and there was nothing to worry about. After a few days, he returned to Hamedan. We thought it wouldn't hurt to take some precautions anyway. We packed our books in several plastic bags and took them into the large garden of General Nasiri, which was in front of our house. It snowed a lot that year and we hid the books under the snow. Our plan was that if one of us was arrested, the other person would take the books out of there. Javad Sharifi had also entrusted some of the books to Mr. Fallah, the deputy principal of the school. He was a good and reliable person.

Two days after we hid the books, it coincided with 22th of Bahman 1352 (February 11, 1974), and a few days had passed since the dinner party of the principal. In the morning, I was smoking a cigarette and talking to the school attendant when he said in the middle of his conversation: Mr. Tamsaki, several people came to the school today and were asking the principal about you. Hearing this news along with the news brought by Javad Sharifi's father was a serious alarm and it worried me a lot.

On the same day at 11 a.m., I was in the painting class. I wrote a couplet from the famous poet Hafez and asked the children to draw a painting about it. And the couplet was:

The caravan left, and you had been sleeping and a desert was in front of you

When do you go, who do you ask the way, what do you do, how are you?

When the children were busy drawing the painting, the school principal called upon me. I erased the Hafez's poem from the board and told the children to draw the shape of a table clock. I said goodbye to the children and left the classroom. I knew I had to say goodbye. By putting the received news together, it was possible to predict the situation more or less. When the school principal saw me, he said, "Mr. Tamaski, have you done anything?" I said, "No... What is it?" He said that they wanted to see you outside of school. I looked through the window, outside the school, a Mercedes Benz with several passengers inside it was waiting. According to the law, they had no right to enter the school. The schoolyard had no walls and I could run away. I entered the yard. One of them came forward and said: "Sir, where? We want to talk to you". I said, "Let me wash my hands, I will come to you". I washed my hands, they took my hand and put me in the car. The school principal pretended not to allow me be taken. He came out of the school and said to the officers, "Why are you taking him? He is my teacher, where are you taking him?" And... the officers told me that they wanted to search my house. I said, "Who are you? Where have come from?" They showed me their SAVAK ID card. We moved to the house. When we entered the house, their first words were, "What kind of house is this? Why is there no carpet?" I said, "We are here temporarily". The search began and our books and equipment were turned upside down. They took everything they thought could be used in the case. I had a lot of photos and poems written all of which were taken. We still had some books by Mr. Motahari and Dr. Shariati at home. We thought that some of them did not have any particular problem and were not political. The book "Fatmeh is Fatemeh" was not prohibited as well as Motahari's book "The Principles of Philosophy and Method of Realism". They were not considered forbidden books by the regime. They took several books from among them. Javad Sharifi was unaware of my arrest because he was teaching in another school. A little later, he was informed of the news. Javad later told me that when he saw the messy state of the house, he was very upset and anxious and did not know what to do in that situation. He decided to leave the Klardasht area. Of course, before leaving the area, he went to look for the books we had hidden and delivered them to Mr. Fallah. Apparently he had already informed him that we had some books, and he had said: Give me the books so that I can take them to the city of Sari. He was from Sari. 

Anyway, after the inspection of the house, we went to Nowshahr with SAVAK agents and stayed there for the night. As soon as I arrived at the Nowshahr Police Department, I told them that I had not prayed. They said that there was no place, and you had to pray here. I spread a newspaper inside the room, they allowed me to perform ablution and pray. During this time, that is, from the time of my detention until I arrived in Tehran, the agents did not treat me badly and had nothing to do with me at all.   

In the yard of the police department in Nowshahr, there was a room where they kept me at night. There was no dinner that night. The next morning, an officer who was from Hamadan, came for inspection. When he found out that I was also from Hamedan, he did me a favour and brought me some bread and cheese. At around 8 a.m., we drove to Tehran. We stopped in front of a restaurant to have lunch in Siyabisheh. First, they wanted to handcuff me into the restaurant. I protested how I could eat with this situation? At any rate, they agreed to open my hands. After having lunch, we left for Tehran again. At around 4 p.m., I was handed over to the Joint Anti-Sabotage Committee. I had already heard about the committee. Hossein Dibaj had told me that the committee was a torture center and what might happen there. Along the way, I didn't know where I was going. When we arrived, I realized where I was and what events awaited me.


Source: Mos'hafi, Mohammad Mohsen, The Difficult Days of Campaign, Memoirs of Ali Tamsaki, Tehran, Islamic Propaganda Organization, Art Center, 1395 (2016), pp. 69-72.

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