Combining Documents and Evidence of Oral History

Narrative of The bloody Sunday of Hamedan Based on Oral History

Jafar Golshan Roghani
Translated by Ruhollah Golmoradi


In history of the Islamic Revolution, there are bloody and fateful days, each of which can be considered a turning or starting point of spreading and making public protests and revolutionary opposition of Iranian people.  People of Tehran have experienced many such days. One of these days is September 4, 1978 (Eid al-Fitr), when the first large and public march was held in Iran. This was followed by September 8 (Bloody Friday), which can never be ignored in history of the revolution. Days of November 4th (attack on students of Tehran University), December 10 and 11 (Tasu’a and Ashura marches), January 19 (Arbaeen multi-million march) and days of January 28, February 1 and February 8 to 12 are some of unforgettable days of historical memory of people of Tehran. In other cities and provinces, such sensitive and important days can be seen. Including August 10 (5 Ramadan) in Isfahan, when the military confronted the demonstrators, leaving several martyrs and more than 60 wounded. Kerman incident on October 16, known as burning of the city's Grand Mosque, which resulted in martyrdom and wounding of dozens of people, is one of highlights of Islamic Revolution in Kerman.

The city of Hamedan is also one of the centers that have had many important, sensitive and, of course, bloody days in history of the Islamic Revolution. October 22, 1978, which can be called the day of rise of the city's student, is one of these days. On that day, thousands of students in a protest when arrived at the main square of the city, namely Pahlavi Square (now Imam Khomeini), were attacked by military and security troops, and with martyrdom of 3 people and wounding of more than 20 people, recorded a bloody day in history of the city. In this incident, students of Pahlavi High Schools (currently Imam Khomini), Alavian, Sirus Kabir (Great Cyrus), Reza Shah (now Shariati), Ibn Sina, Zahedi Technical Academy (currently Shahidan-e Dibaj), and Parvin Etesami Girls' High School, 14 to 18 years, protested against the government and actions of governmental, military and police agents in city of Hamadan, which was unprecedented. Several reasons have been stated why these bloody demonstrations took place, that three factors can be regarded very effective: 1. Arresting a number of protesting students in the past few days; 2. Event of massacring of people of Tehran on September 8 and catastrophe of burning Kerman Grand Mosque on October 16; 3. Diffusing a news in the city about arresting a female student who was rumored to had been outraged by the police.

In addition to the thousands of male and female pupils, students, bazaar actives, clerics, businessmen and people from streets and bazaars also took part in the massive demonstration. According to some eyewitness accounts, number of marchers is estimated at 15,000. This number is significant for a city like Hamedan, which had population of maximal 150,000 in 1978. One of the important points in these demonstration, according to memories of witnesses, is chanting two important and fundamental slogans of history of the Iranian revolution; One is "Death to this Pahlavi Kingdom" and the other is "Death to the Shah", which shows height of people's anger on the one hand and collapse of grandeur and prestige of the Pahlavi government and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi on the other. Although these slogans were used in all demonstrations from October-November 1978 onwards, and the more we reached the last days of the Pahlavi regime, the more they were heard and were public, but chanting these slogans in the early months of the protests is of particular importance. Of course, it is said that this slogan was heard at the funeral of Ayatollah Akhund Mullah Ali Masoumi Hamedani, a prominent Marja’, on July 26, 1978.

Another important and significant point in this march is number of wounded and veterans and how they were treated. According to the collected documents and memories, 24 people were injured in this incident, 9 of whom were examined by great researcher Mr. Abolfath Mo'men, and these people have been registered as veterans of this incident. How the bullet hit and wounded them, exact time and place, and method of transferring them to hospital and their treatment and condition during their stay in the hospital has been presented by Mr. Mo'men in a book entitled "Student Uprising: An Analysis of Uprising of Hamadan students in October 22, 1978. He benefited from the documents and papers available in the National Documents Organization of West Management of the country and Foundation of Martyrs and Veterans Affairs of Hamadan city, as well as, through interview with the injured and veterans of this day has gained valuable information.

The book content can be divided into three parts. 1. History of schools in Hamadan and how to form and establish schools with a religious and Islamic approach and training religious and revolutionary students; 2. Explaining day of the incident and its causes and factors, mentioning details of how the march was formed and started to the armed confrontation of police with demonstrators and martyrdom and wounding of some people and transferring them to hospitals and describing their hospitalization condition and treatment, and finally funeral of the martyrs. 3. Awareness of the cities around Hamedan about this incident and its effects on making revolutionary people of those cities and then announcement of provincial and national supports by academics, educators, clerics, lawyers, judges, Marja’s and Imam Khomeini himself.

The author of the book tries to state shortly the religious, revolutionary and protesting atmosphere of the Pahlavi opposition in the city of Hamedan almost from 1962, that is, after approval of the resolution of state and provincial societies to arrest the most important revolutionaries of the city. Therefore, he describes how was revolutionary circles and influential people formed in it and talks about influence of Ayatollah Mullah Ali Masoumi Hamedani, and death and burial of his body on July 26, 1978 on the revolution process in Hamedan; He then mentions how schools were established in the city and tells a detailed history of them. He then talks about impact of Sheikh Abbas Ali Eslami, founder of the Society of Islamic Education, who has built more than 100 schools based on the new teachings along with Islamic teachings; a school called "Educational Islamic Scientific Complex" that today is operating in Hamadan. The author explicitly speaks of the great influence of this school and other such schools in cultivating religious and revolutionary forces following Imam Khomeini. Finally, he mentions confrontation between the government and SAVAK agents with revolutionaries, teachers and revolutionary students, and announced that with widespread arrest of these people between 1972 and 1974, "all the revolutionaries of Hamedan" were arrested, imprisoned and exiled (p. 63). Messrs. Hasan Moshtagh, Haj Mahmoud Azadian, Seyyed Kazem Akrami, Ali Aghamohammadi, Mohammad Saleh Madresei and Hasan Kooshesh are among the prominent people who the author could interview with the first four. Relying on data of this interview, this section is organized. Meanwhile, Hasan Moshtaq expresses a very colorful memory of his meeting with Imam Khomeini after his release from prison and his return to Qom in March-April 1964. 

In the main part of the book, the most use of interviews and memories is made. He first discusses impact of effective issues in holding the protest on October 22 and talks about September 8 incident in Tehran and its great importance in expressing dissatisfaction, anger and courage to express opposition from the people of Hamadan. In this regard, it is interesting to mention 3 memories of the three Hamadani witnesses who were in Tehran on September 8 (p. 79). He then addresses a rumor that had been published in the city of Hamadan in those days, which greatly affected morale of the people and provoked popular protests against the government and police agents of the city; the rumor of arresting a female student named Ardakani by police and outraging her in prison. The author tries to say that this incident was only as a rumor, relying on documents and presenting historical reasons and memories of some of the city's revolutionaries. Of course, it was appropriate for the respectable author to analyze causes and effects of production and distribution of this rumor, and talked about effect of rumor making and its dissemination in occurrence of events.

Mr. Mo'men, by recounting memories of several revolutionaries and active students of those years, tries to present a form of a student network that was involved in holding October 22 march. In this regard, he enjoys much memories of Hasan Soltani, a presenter of Radio and Television, who in those years was a Pahlavi High School student, the main center of revolutionary students and demonstrations. Of course, relying on memory of Hamid Asgari, he also describes role of the three political groups active in organizing these demonstrations as follows: "First, religious groups who were believed guys and had a religious background. The other is the leftist group, and the last, group of supporters of Mojahedin Khalq (MKO) who were present.” (p. 102)

After explaining causes, factors and grounds for the demonstration of October 22, the author describes story of the march by mentioning details and movement of different people and groups from different areas to the main square of the city, namely Pahlavi Square, and speaks of armored conflict and confrontation and direct firing by police officers against demonstrators by relying completely on memories of the interviewee. Among the presented memories, he mentions an interesting memory of presence of Martyr Sardar (IRGC’s General) Haj Hossein Hamedani in this march in the words of Dr. Houshang Bab Al-Havaeji, who was in charge of treating many of the wounded (p. 132). Among the notable points in this book is presentation of movement path of different groups. Of course, I wish this issue was determined by presenting map of the city and their route to reach Pahlavi Square, so that the reader would have more knowledge and understanding about urban geography of October 22 incident and Islamic Revolution of Hamadan.

Undoubtedly, one of the most interesting and colorful contents of this section is how to shoot the wounded, transferring them to the hospital and then accepting them in the hospital and surgical operations and their hospitalization days that Dr. Mostafa Ansari, then in charge of emergency ward of the hospital and Dr. Houshang Saba, Hospital Orthopedist, have played a key role in this. To access this information, interviewing the injured and witnesses to the incident, especially Dr. Ansari, is of great value and importance. The interview with Dr. Ansari in 2016 has beautiful and unique angles about sacrifice of medical staff and details of sick and painful condition of the injured. It is also important to learn more about exact name and how the three martyrs were martyred. Prior to writing this book, only Ghodratollah Davari and Baqer Mosaffa were introduced as martyrs of this event, but with efforts of the author, name of Shokrollah Heydari (Heydareh) was also added to the list of martyrs of this day. Of course, it is questionable why the respectable author did not say a word in rejecting or accepting the complaint text of lawyers and judges of Hamedan Judiciary in protest to the incident, which they published on October 24, 1978. Their complaint states: "Last night at 3 a.m., officers forcibly buried bodies of 12 victims who were in Ekbatan Hospital, as well as 4 other victims, in Bahar city of Hamadan." (p. 200).

Burning of Alvand, Homa, Lux and Pars cinemas in Hamadan during the people's march on November 24 in protest of crime of October 22 is one of the interesting contents of the book. Then, the upset and angry crowd provided a wire rope and tries to pull down statue of the Shah from Reza Shah Square and overthrow it, but they do not succeed after intervention of police officers (p. 169). It is important to note that pulling down statues became common in the cities after Shah's escape on October 18th, but before that a handful of statues had been pulled down. Perhaps the most important of them is statue of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi at the entrance of University of Tehran on November 5, 1978.

The author concludes the book by quoting written sources and then a list of 38 interviewees. At the end, in addition to a number photos of interviewees, there are photos from the same day of the event that are very valuable. Surprisingly, none of these photos have been used in the design of the cover, and photo of the congregational prayer of Tehran University students during the week of National Solidarity Week (October 28-November 2) was mistakenly used. The appendix contains documents related to text of the book, some of which are unfortunately unusable due to improper printing.

Finally, if we ignore a few historical errors on pages 17, 78, 79, and 121, the book Student Uprising is a valuable work based on oral history, and every reader to find out how hard the author has prepared the book.

This book was published in 2019 by NLAI Publication and Safir Ardehal Publication in 336 pages.


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