Ahmad Ahmad Memoirs (2)

Edited by Mohsen Kazemi

Ahmad Ahmad Memoirs (2)
Edited by Mohsen Kazemi
Soureh Mehr Publishing Company
(Original Text in Persian, 2000)
Translated by Mohammad Karimi

Childhood and Elementary School
I was seven years old when my brother, Mahmood, who was mentally sick, and I went to Farvardin elementary school which was located in the same quarter and registered our names for the 1st grade.
Since my brother was sick, I always had to be beside him. His condition was in a way that always someone had to be careful about him and even at nights one of family members had to sleep beside him to care about.(1)
Because of our family’s bad economic situation we had some hardships for going to school. Once I remember because of not having a pair of trousers, I could not go to school for one week; until my brother, Mahdi, came home on furlough and give one of his military trousers to me. I had the trousers dyed and my mum made it smaller to my size.
I passed my early years by the childhood affections of all kids and economic hardships of my own family. I was in last years of elementary school that bit by bit I started to understand some of conversation happened between the teachers and some groups at school. Their conversations had contradiction with the religious ideas and believe that I was grown up with. Sometimes in religious session that I would participate, I could see that some clergies would criticize those talks and respond them. Living is this duality bit by bit made my mind familiar with some religious and political events which would arouse my sense of curiosity.
Once I was in 5th grade that one day our teacher put the chalk and duster away and began talking about God and the creation. He said: “What’s God? Who’s God? What do these things mean? Doesn’t human have wisdom to …?”
Those sentences deeply affected me. I was disturbed and as a kid I did not want to school any more. I came back home and narrated all that happened for my father. He was illiterate and told me with his own understanding: “Hey kid, do not swear! Do not talk against religion!” My father told the matter to Mr. Assar Mir Makhmalian(2) and then introduced me to him. One day I went to his house. Mr. Assar asked me about my teacher’s talks. I grudgingly retold whatever I had heard. Then, he took a pen and paper and said: “This man is a communist and these talks are against the religion and procommunist. I write something. Take it and read it in class!” Then, he wrote: “In the name of God, the compassionate the merciful. Said the prophet of Allah:  He who knows the self gets to know his Creator...” He wrote an interesting readable long paper about human, body, soul, and the state of each of them in nature. Then he asked me: “My dear, do you have soul or not?” I said: “Yes, I do.” If I had said something else he would have asked me what the difference was between me and a corpse. Mr. Assar talked about the difference between alive and dead and if soul can be seen or not. I was happy with his talks and my disturbance wiped out. As a kid I felt that there was someone who would understand more than my teacher.
I made a fair copy and was waiting for composition hour at school. The day came and I went to read my paper in the class. I was in the middle of reading that the teacher interrupted me and said: "What are you reading? Why have you written it?"
I said: "Sir; that day you told us there is no God. I went to search for it and now I want to read what I found." He became pale and then red and said: "It's enough. Go and take your seat."
I said: "No Sir; I should finish it."
My classmates asked for what I wanted and said together: "Sir; let him finish." Forcibly, he agreed. When I finished the paper I explained who had written it for me and why.
Such events during school days made my mind busy. I always was looking for the reasons behind events. Sometimes I would talk to my mum about religious or ideological issues; e. g. it was hard for me to accept that soil and water have created a saucer accidentally.
In Muharram & Safar months kids at my age and me would go to mourning ceremonies in our own mourning groups and would read these words in the streets:
It’s Muharram again and the hearts are broken The lock of Leyla’s heart is broken
I was only a kid, but I would never swear untruly. I would read Quran a lot and my mum was a big help in this regard. While she was cleaning the house she would also correct my reading. Day by day I would be more and more devoted to Quran, Imams and infallibles.
I was always thinking about the poorness and economic misery of the people around. I could see the economic misery in the appearance and clothes of the kids at school. Most of the students had no good financial conditions. However, few students whose fathers were government employees had a bit better conditions. In some cases school officials might help poor students by giving shoes and clothes to them. Most of parents would refer to school officials for help.
Immigration and ethnic culture had penetrated to school through the students. There were groups made based on the ethnic roots and their language. In these groups the Turks might support the Turks and Persians from Persian and Kurds from Kurds. Hadi Jame’I and Iraj Haqiqat, Two of my friends and I had also a 3-member group and would support each other when we had quarrels with other kids.

Teenage Years and High School
I was about fifteen that I saw street protests by Tudeh party and National Front (Pan-Iranist Group)(3) supporters against each other. Each of them had shock groups that would clash with the other side in the streets.(4)
I remember once in one of Pan-Iranist rallies I had participated along with my brother Mahdi who was the head of some 4-member shock groups. Protesters fired a puppet of Pishehvari.(5) They would sing together these verses:
We would take our swords To bring our sunrise after a dark night
 Watching these scenes was so interesting to me at that age. Participating in these rallies added my name to the list of supporters; in a way that later when I was arrested by SAVAK, I was accused of being a member of this group.
In clashes, particularly with Tudeh Party supporters, we would avoid bringing the police and we would finish the matter before the police come. In some cases, some of our friends would use sticks and knife; but I never used a knife against anyone; sometime we may give and take knives to show off.
When I entered high school, my brother Mahdi stopped study and finished his school years with 6th grade. He told our father: “Dear Papa, one of us should work and the other should study to make our living.” He left school to work and I continued my studies.
I finished the first three years in Jami High School and for the second three years I had to choose one of three fields of study: literature, mathematics and natural science. Since I was good at math, I chose mathematics. Jami High School did not have this field. Forcibly I registered at Allameh High School located at Anari crossroads. This high school was far from our home. Since I had not money, I always had to go to school on foot this long way.
One thing that I remember from that time is the unsuitable condition for women considering the matter of Hijab (covering the body). School girls were also under the effects of that tawdry culture. Consequently, going to school for the girls who would wear Hijab was so hard or almost impossible. My sister like many other girls could not continue her studies because this condition after finishing her 6th grade.
My brother, Mahmood, could not also continue his school after the 3rd grade because of his mental problems. Then, the only student in the family was I and my parents had always a special look at me.
I would study during the day and work at nights in order to help my family. I had found a job at a half-prepared barn belonging to NIOC as a night guard. I would get 80.4Rls per month. After two years study at Allameh High School I decided to change my school and go to Marvi High School. Marvi High School was one of qualified schools such as Dar-ul-fonoon or Adib. Marvi students were so naughty and sometime they would run away from school from the back alley.
I remember that I would stand in the high school’s yard looking at the students and think of the tyranny against them that the Shah’s regime was imposing on their destiny. Sometime while I had a book in my hand, I was thinking for a long time and it was the school’s bell that would alarm me to be ready for the next class.
During my years at school I saw many teachers whose behavior was so meaningful to me. The ones who were affiliated to the government would praise His Majesty! And every day had a new style of clothes in the class. The ones who were independent and had a free soul would tell some points against the regime’s tyranny conservatively in order to awake the new generation for seeking freedom. There were also some teachers who were only concerned to get their salary and earn their living. They would come and go without any risk and would only teach school materials.
In this conditions and multidimensional atmosphere I grew up while looking for my lost goal. My soul was not calm and I was restless. Everything happening around me would take me to deep thinking and then I had reactions and was sensitive to that event.

(1) Mahmood Ahmad could not finish school because of lack of mental health. His parents never agreed to take him to a sanatorium and they took care of him by themselves. Finally Mahmood died at 33 when Ahmad was in prison.
(2) Mr. Assar Mirmakhmalian was a local educated knowledgeable clergy and a friend of Ahmad’s father and he had a good family relations with him.
(3) In January 1952, Mohsen Pezeshkpoor and Mohammad Reza Ameli Tehrani, separating from Iranian Nation party (Hezb-e Mellat-e Iran), founded a new organization called Pan-Iranist Party. Pan-Iranists belived that the world would reach to Aware Nationalism […] national movements can only be led by nationalism believers who may lead to victory.
See: Tarikh-e Siyasi-e 25 Saale-ye Iran, pp: 153-4
(4)Before the coup of 1953, Dariush Frouhar and Mohsen Pezeshkpour were two main organizers of Pan-Iranist Party. They had Fascist organization that would disrupt Tudeh Party meetings.
See: Khaterat-e Nouruddin Kianoori, pp: 424 & 427
(5) Seyyed Ja’far Pishevari was born in Zaviyeh near Khalkhal. When he was young he went to Russia and joined the Bolsheviks. He was a known communist and a member of Tudeh Party who was sentenced to 10 years in prison at the time of Reza Shah because of communal believes. After September 1941 he published Azhir newspaper. He could be elected as Azerbaijan representative to National Assembly in 14th Majlis but his credential rejected. He went back to Azerbaijan and founded Azerbaijani Democratic Party in 2nd of November 1945. He declared independence by Soviets’ support and founded People’s Parliament of Azerbaijan. When the Red Army evacuated Azerbaijan and removed its support, Azerbaijani Democratic Party collapsed in 2nd of November 1945 and Pishevari escaped to Soviet Union and a year later was killed in a car accident.

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