Memoirs of an Iranian Rebel
Childhood - Date 1953 - 1963
I was running, not knowing why or what I was running from. I knew I have to run as fast as I can, otherwise it would be too late. I was running without reaching anywhere, it seemed I was running on one of these running exercise machines. Where you can run as fast as you can or you wish, but you can be sure you are not moving an inch. I was desperate to run away from there, but there was no hope for me. I could feel my heart pounding, it seemed my heart wanted to come out of my mouth. I felt something under my feet, it was sticky, and perhaps was moving as well, somehow I could feel it was alive but I was not sure, or at least I wanted not to be sure. I was hoping to be wrong. Sometimes you feel something is wrong, or even, you can see it, touch it, or hear it, but still you want to persuade yourself that your senses are wrong, because you don’t want to face the reality. If you do, then you have to pay its price and sometimes you feel you have given everything and you have nothing left to pay for facing new crises or fact of life. So some how you don’t have any choice except telling yourself that your senses are wrong and it is safe to carry on as before. I could feel, those sticky things were not just in one point, they were everywhere. I felt I couldn’t keep my balance any more. Suddenly I felt something is curling around my foot. I couldn’t see anywhere but nor could I deceive myself anymore. I could swear those sticky things were alive, and were moving around me. I don’t know it was because of fear or those sticky moving objects, which I fell down. Suddenly I felt those things started moving, curling around all my body. It didn’t take long before I could see them. They were not objects, they were alive, and they were moving around, they were snakes.
With a light cry, I jumped from my bed, while there was a cold sweat all around me. I was about six years old and since the divorce of my parents I used to sleep with my mother. With my cry, my mother woke up too; she took me in her arm and tried to comfort me. After sometime, she said: “tell me, what happened? Did you have a bad dream? Tell me what did you dream of?” I told her. She laughed and said: “well I can’t say that was a bad dream, after all, you know, they say, “HAR KEH BINAD KHAB MORGH ‘O MAR’O MAHEI.NAMIRAD TA BABINAD PADESHAHIE.” (He who dreams of birds and snakes and fish, is not going to die till see himself as a king.)
Well after that many more times I had the same dream. But always snakes and never fish or bird, and I can say they never were enjoyable, but always frightening. Anyhow she taught me to have a pray before sleeping to kill all bad dreams.
It was only for few months that I was living with my mother and her parents. My parents divorced in 1958, when I was five years old. For the first few months I was living with my father. Traditionally children in Iran are properties of their fathers but according to the same tradition boys before age of seven and girls before nine could live with their mothers. So after long negotiation, my father agreed to surrender me to my mother and let me live with her, as long as she doesn’t marry again.
Although my grandparents were able to support myself and my mother, my mother was a very proud and independent person and wanted to earn our expenses by herself, this is why she started working as a teacher in a private preliminary school, and in the evenings she was sewing sheets for a hospital which one of her close friends Mrs. Sosanbary, an American woman widowed of an Iranian was a midwife over there. She was the person who helped my mother to give birth to me, so she was very fond of me and I liked her as well. As she didn’t have any child of her own, she used to say you are my son. Anyway by working my mother was able to register me in the same private school that she was working there. I was not completely six years old and by law I was not permitted to go to the state school. At the same time, my mother wanted me to have the best education available and she thought by registering me in a private school, I could have what she wanted.
Staying with my mother was the happiest time of my life. She was about thirty years old and although by then she already had two miserable and sorrowful marriages and four children, still she was very lively and cheerful person, she was very kind, simple and honest, I rarely remember her angry or sulky. Sad? Yes, perhaps sometimes she was sad and I could understand it, life was not easy for her, she was a pretty woman and this is why her mother forced her to marry one of her cousins when she was less than fifteen years old. She was very much like her father, having a heart of gold and being open minded, while her husband was very religious and traditionalist from a rather small city and obviously very far from the modern way of thinking and life. After a few years, with the support of her father my mother could divorce. By now she was happy though she couldn’t take her three daughters with herself and rarely was able to see them. Still she was very young, about twenty years old, she was beautiful and was able to start having a fresh life. But unfortunately one year later she entered into her second marriage, which was even worse than the first one. I never was able to understand why she married my father! I could understand her first marriage, she was almost a child, and her father was away on duty in another city and was not with them. Her husband was a relative of her mother, and important in their city. But her second marriage was a puzzle for me. As my mother never told me anything against my father, she never revealed to me why and how did she marry him. Anyhow I think it was due to the situation of women in the Iranian society. An unmarried woman especially a widow could not have any respect in the society and was prey of all gossips. My father was about thirty years older than my mother, but at the same time he was rich and educated with western and modern behaviour. At the sometime my grandmother contrary to the situation of women in Iran was lord of the house. I guess she was able to persuade her husband to prepare their daughter for her second marriage. Later I heard from my mother that at that time she was in love with a schoolteacher, but because he was poor and from a ‘common’ family her parents didn’t let her marry him and perhaps to prevent her from marrying her true love, she was forced to that unwise marriage.
My mother’s family
My grandfather’s name was Arf’al’ Mamalek Auhei, he was almost like my mother, very kind and gentle, most of the time he was quiet and reading books. He was contented with life and rarely I saw him to complain about anything. I remember whenever my grandmother was asking for something more or was complaining about the house, or wanted new furniture, he used to say to her: “woman, what do you want these things for, the bigger the house, the bigger the problem, more furniture creates more work and more worry, aren’t you happy as we are? When we die we’ll need only a one by two meter space to be buried. “He usually was saying these things while laughing and walking towards his room, to hide himself from my grandmother’s demands. My grandmother had inherited some land from her family. Once she was trying to persuade her husband to go to Kermanshah in the west of Iran to sell the land, but my grandfather’s response was all the same. Even once I saw him quarrelling with his son, my uncle, he was trying to force him to do something about a land of his which needed to be separated from neighbouring lands by a wall, and was telling my grandfather that: “you have to think about the future, and should not lose this land. Many poor people have gone there and are going to build houses over there and if they do, we can’t claim this land any more.” There was a big fight, my uncle and grandmother were in one side and my grandfather with some help from my mother in other side, at the end my grand father repeated his usual sentence and said well neither of us are in need of that land, if those poor people needed it for building their houses let them do it and be happy. At this time the radio broadcast a happy song, my grand father started to dance and took my grandmother’s hand and started laughing and dancing, everybody forgot about the land. Radio in those days was expensive and rare and part of luxuries, they had a big one on the first floor in my grandfather’s room and extended speakers of it were on the ground floor and basement. Any time radio station was broadcasting a song especially a happy one, my grand father used to put it on the highest volume so every body in the house could hear it and could feel happy.
My great grandfather was a small landowner and musician from a very small town called AH, named after them in Mazandran, a northern province of Iran. I found all of my grand fathers family very simple and kind and happy. He was educated and used to work for the government, but now was retired.
My grandmother’s name was Fakh’re Aazam and her family name was Dolat Shahi. I used to call her “MAMAN TALA “(golden mother)this is because her hair was yellow like gold, and her eyes were blue like sky, she was from Kermanshah in the west of Iran originally from a Kurdish family, she was manager type of woman, very serious and economical, everything had to be calculated, had to have order and discipline. She had weekly and monthly and yearly programs for food that was due to be cooked in the house and jams and pickles that had to be made each year.
My grand parents used to live in medium sized house in one of the streets in the centre of Teheran that was named after my grandfather’s name. In addition to me and my mother my youngest aunt and uncle and old families wet nurse used to live with them, and there were two middle aged women which used to come there to help for washing and dusting and harder job of the house. Each one of us who used to live there had his or her room, except me who happily as there was no more room, was sharing my mother’s room with her. I spent the happiest times of my life in that house, most of the time playing with my cousins who were there most of the time. In those days families were much closer to each other. If not every day, at least every week they had to see each other, in any opportunity they used to get together and talk and joke and play cards and backgammon. There was no TV and people rarely used to go to the cinema, so happiest time of the people was when they were together. Especially in summer time when there was no school. Family gathering was great fun; they used to put all chairs and tables in the garden and have “KAHOO SEKANGEBEEN “(Iranian Lettuce with some kind of syrup made from vinegar), or cooked Broad beans with salt and some herb. My grand father used to put his chair in the pool and would sit there, while his bare feet were in the water. The Garden was full of Jasmine and every body was delighted because of its smell. Girls used to pick them and make a Necklace from them by passing strings through them. My greatest cousin (from mother side) was the son of my aunt, his name was Bijan, normally he used to be the giant, and my other cousin and I had to fight with him. It was not only us, whom he used to play with; he was playing with everybody, even grown-ups. Once with a box of black shoe polish, he went under the table which every body were sitting around it, and were playing with cards, after few minutes every body’s shoes was black. Years later when he finished his high school, his parents sent him to US for further education. When he was leaving, he kissed me and gave me his watch. I didn’t see him again, he was killed in a car crash few years later, and he was the only child of my aunt.
My stay in school was as delightful as home, over there every body was kind to me and my teacher liked me, and I liked her too. She was in her mid-thirties and was a friend of my mother, every afternoon she used to force us to sleep, but most of the time thanks to two of my step-cousins who were older than me, I was able to avoid the midday sleep, they used to come and call me, then I used to call my friend and all four of us could go to the yard and play alone, my step uncle (the God brother of my father) was very rich and as a result my cousins always had the best of fruits and sweets and often had presents for me. There was a little girl in my class who was very pretty and I used to think if I were to marry one day, I would marry her. I remember in a party, celebrating the end of the education year, she and I had to sing together and we sang “BARON BARONEH BARG’E GOL TAAR MISHAH.” (Rain rain, flower’s leaf is getting wet . . . ). This was the last time I saw her, I never returned to that school and I never could have those happy days again.
It was for few weeks which I could see more and more the absence of my mother. sometimes in the morning, some afternoons and even sometimes till late night. I didn’t mind, as in this way my mother had less time to ask me about my study and force me to do more than what I needed. To study where my mother was working was not all advantages, I had to be first among my class mates, and all my marks had to be 20 out of 20, and sometimes when I was not ready to study as hard as my mother expected me to do, she used to put a pen between my fingers and press it till I say OK I am going to study as hard as you want. Although it was summer time and normally children wouldn’t study during summer, but I had to carry on almost as before, so absence of my mother, meant more free time for me to play.
Once, while I was playing by myself, I fall from a chair that was on a table. I was pretending that I was in the second floor of a building. As a result, I broke my right arm. It was late evening, my mother and my aunt took me to the street and we stood there for a taxi. It was summer, but that night was cold, or perhaps the reason why I felt as cold as I did was because of my broken arm. Anyway although in those days there were a few physicians and hospitals in Teheran, people still used to go to traditional physicians who didn’t have any academic education, but knew how to cure many illnesses using mainly different herbs. Traditionally we believed the main reason of different illnesses is due to what we eat and what we don’t eat. So these physicians had different herbs and restrictions about having some kind of food for different illnesses. Anything which was eatable was divided to three category, cold, warm, and neutral, so when you had stomach ache they used to say “SARDIAT KARDEH “means you had type of food which was among cold ones for example too much cherries, so they could give you warm thing to eat some thing like date. The physician we referred to first gave me a toy to play with, while I was playing, suddenly he took my hand and arm, pulled them hard. I never had a pain like that, it was awful but after that I felt relieved and there was no more pain, then he put some herb and oils on my arm and put two special sticks on each side of my arm and fastened it very tide, and told us come back in two weeks time. When we wanted to leave his surgery my mother told me: “Masoud is late and weather is cold so I called and asked a gentleman, friend of mine to come and give us a lift, when you see him you are going to be very polite, aren’t you?” I said of course but who is this gentleman, my mother told me: “I will tell you about him later on.” At this moment he came, he was driving a German Ford, which was very nice. He was about forty years old, and had army clothes on. Later I found out that he was colonel but in Navy and not army. He was very kind and gentle and had a present for me, a little car. He started to talk with me about my broken arm and tried to relieve me from my pain. Later on my mother told me that she loves him and they want to marry, she told me that I have to tell nobody about him and their decision, because if my father find out about it, he would take me from my mother. I promised her not to talk about him and asked her what should I call him, dad? She said: “no you have your own dad, you can call him ‘Ammo Jan’ (dear uncle).”
Soon Ammo Jan and my mother married and we moved to his house, he was a very kind, quiet, generous, honest and hard workingman. He had two children from his first wife, a son called Ghoolam and a daughter called Shoaleh. It was nice as I found a stepbrother and a stepsister, which I could play with them. Ghoolam was five years older than me, and Shoaleh was two years younger than me. Normally in play Ghoolam was a giant and I had to kill him and save the princess who was Shoaleh.
In those days, every Thursday my mother had to take me to my father’s house and I had to be with them till late Friday, which my mother could come and pick me up. Those two days although were not as fun as being with my mother, were not very bad either. Normally I had to go and see my father and perhaps kiss his hand and say “Salaam”(hello), staying for a few minutes with him till he permit me to go to the garden and play with other children. Thursday were fun, because on Thursdays all my brothers and sisters with their wives and husbands and their children had to come to my father’s house and were staying with us for dinner. Some times my aunts and uncles with their families were there as well, so there were so many children to play with which one never could get bored. Fridays were fun too, because us and some other members of our families used to go to my father’s orchard outside of Tehran, near Karaj (a small city close to Teheran). Over there we had a big pool as well as river of Karaj, which was passing through our orchard. There were so many different fruit trees, different kinds of apples, peaches, plums, and cherries. And most important white and red mulberry trees, which we used to climb and hide among it’s branches and wait for some body passing underneath it to shake the branches as hard as we could. In a second the poor person depending on the kind of that tree, either was fully red if it was red mulberry, or sticky, (as white mulberries were very sweet and sticky). We used to fight with each other with rotten apples and peaches and then we used to go and swim in the pool, which sometimes was compulsory. Afternoon we used to go to my aunts orchard which was close to ours and had some more fun over there.
One of those Fridays, when we returned to my father’s house, I was preparing myself for my mother to come and take me to her house. Bell of the house rang, I run towards my father’s room to say good-bye; he asked me where I was going? I told him: “to my house!” he said: “what!!? Where is your house? This is your house, not a stranger’s house, your mother has married and now is living with a stranger, and do you understand that?.” I said: “no he is not stranger, he is Ammo Jan, and is very kind and I like him.” With this new comment of mine I could feel that he got angrier, his voice got louder. He said: “do you have any honour, your mother is sleeping with a stranger and you call him uncle!? Is he my brother?!” I was not able to understand what he wanted to say; I was going to say something else, which he told me to ‘shut-up’. “You are my son and you should not have ‘NOON V NAMAK’ (bread and salt) of any body else.” Then he asked my stepmother to take me to another room and give me a permanent bed and cupboard, I started to cry and I think, in this new stage, I got my first slap from my father. I never could find out how my father found out about my mother’s marriage? Few years later my stepmother told me that my aunt told him, because my mother could be happier in her new life without me around, I never could accept this, but it was the only version of the story that I heard. Any way that Friday for me was the black Friday. I cried all night while I had my pillow among my arms in substitute of my mother’s arm. Till late in my life somehow because of that Friday I hated all Fridays.
My father’s family
My father was about sixty years older than me, so I never saw his parents, and didn’t know them, once he told me the story of his parents. His mother was daughter of head of Gharegoozloo family, one of the famous Azerbaijanis families, relative of the last regent of Qajar dynasty. I heard that she had a very strong personality, but that is all I know, my father was not very keen to talk about his mother. Instead of that he talked a lot about his father. He told me his grandfather was a great Ayatollah and had two titles Sadr’o Al Islam (highest in Islam) that after his death was inherited by my grand father and another title Sadr’o Al Olama (the highest among leaders of Religion) that was inherited by his younger son. He had a third son, called AFZALOL-DOLEH who was one of the first few European educated physicians in Iran. Later Sadr’o Al Olama changed his religion and became Bah’aie, so he lost his title and got another title from Bah’aie’s prophet and his previous title was given to one of my father’s cousin. My father’s grand mother (mother of his father) was daughter of Fath Ali shah, king of Iran, at the time. Fath Ali shah was the second shah of the Qajar dynasty in Iran . His uncle, Agha Mohammed Khan (Agha here although is pronounced as Mr. but it is written differently and mean eunuch), the first shah of Qajar didn’t have a child, because during his childhood, he was castrated by the previous king of Iran, Karim Khan, who was from another dynasty).
During Agha Mohammed Khan’s rule as a king of Persia between 1779 and 1797, most of the times he was in war, he fought with Russia and won the war. Although our history remember him as a brutal and cruel king, but nobody can deny his service for our country, creation of a united country and a strong one which was able to stand against its enemies and force colonial powers of those decays to consider Persia as a strong and independent country. These facts are not something, which can be ignored easily. Well apart from being cruel Agha Mohammed Khan was very mean as well, they say he was killed by some of his own guards, because they ate the remainder of his food and when he asked about it, it terrified them and they killed him.
Fath Ali Shah (the nephew of Agha Mohammed Khan) was my great great grand father. He was a voluptuous and flamboyant king not even half as courageous as his uncle. Although his son Abbas Mirza was brave enough to stand against the Russians but was without the support of his father, and in breach of promises from French and British, he lost to Russians. Later he was deceived by British and was forced to sign two treaties with Russians, which as a result, Iran lost the northwestern part of the country, which now is called Azerbaijan.
After Fath Ali Shah, his grand son, son of Abas Mirza became king. Although compare to other kings of Qajar dynasty he was a good one but his rule didn’t last long and in 1848 after 14 years he died and his son Nasser el din Shah became a king. He had a very wise minister called Amir Kabir who started introducing many modern ideas in Iran and tried to return us into the position, which we had held among strong countries not long time before, with respect of prosperity and independence. But before Amir Kabir was able to do anything significant enough, he was killed by the order of Nasser el din Shah . The Shah himself was killed by a simple man, which was tired of injustice and incompetence of the king . In 1896 (1275 Iranian year) when Mozafar el Din Shah son of Nasser el Din Shah become the king, my father was born.
My Father’s preliminary education was in a French high school in Tehran, which was run by French priests, he got his diploma in veterinary medicine. Later as there were perhaps less than a hundred young Iranians with knowledge of French language, the Swedish who had a contract to establish Iranian Gendarmerie employed him.
During the First world war Iran was neutral, but the British and Russians didn’t respect it and with the excuse that Iran might unite with Germans and Ottoman Empire, they occupied Iran from south and north and new born Iranian Gendarme was not able to do any thing against these two big powers. My father told me that during the war he was so depressed and sad and at the same time angry that he left Tehran and went to Rey (a religious city close to Teheran), sad of not being able to do any thing against this blunt aggression. Angry because every body was suffering as a result of the aggression, but nobody cared enough to do any thing, it seemed people didn’t consider the country of their own. He told me: “Normally when Iranian face aggression, they take their time and first try to understand the enemy and gradually through their rich culture and with different kind of diplomacy try to change the aggressor and change them into Iranian, this is what they did with Arabs and Mongols and Turks, but time was changed and we couldn’t deal with our new enemies as we used to, we had to do some thing else. We couldn’t change British and Russians and make them Iranian. We had to find new kind of approach for defending ourselves. Some thing Iranian, but new and different. We didn’t have any idea what to do with that kind of aggressors, and there was nobody to suggest any thing or do any thing. It seemed nothing was going to be done by any one. British and Russians promised Iranian that they will leave the country after the end of the war and fortunately they did.”
After the First World War, my father who was 22 years old became responsible for investigation of damages received by Iran due to the war in western region of Iran and had to inspect village by village all western side of the country. Later on he was send to France for further education and studied in different area of administrative and financial and management, which those days were badly needed in Iran.
Although my father was from a religious family, because all his education was in French schools and in France itself, he was not religious at all and somehow was against us being religious. His culture was a mixture of western culture and Iranian upper class with discipline of army. He was very keen to respect all Iranian traditions and ceremonies but not religious ones. Perhaps only once I heard him to say any thing about religion and that was when he was telling me about an accident which he had when he was in France and somehow burned himself and was going to die. He told me that he prayed to Hazrat Abolfazl (one of Islamic saints) and told him “please don’t let me die in this foreign land, let me die in my own country.”
He was very hard workingman, I never could remember him hanging around, and doing nothing. He always used to wake up at five o’ clock and of course about the same time, he used to force every body else to wake up too. Between six and seven was breakfast time, and then every body had to go toward his work. For him it didn’t matter if it was winter or summer time, when we didn’t have school and didn’t know what to do every day at six o’clock. Up to the age of eighty, he used to work at least fifteen hours per day, very rarely I saw him tired or even ill. He was always certain about what he was doing and never was showing any doubt about anything. I don’t think he was stingy but he was very hard on his family and economical. Although he was rich but our life was not easy or comfortable at all. There was program for consumption of every thing from food and fruit till oil for heating of the house, from electricity to water, sometimes fruits were getting rotten, and we were not allowed to have them, because we had our daily share, and some times in cold winter we were shaking from cold, but were not permitted to fire heater because our share of oil was used, and we had to go under blanket and study.
To reach our house, I had to walk about 30 minutes from my school to my father’s house. One winter when I was perhaps seven years old, we faced a very cold winter, colder than previous years, there was about 30 centimetres snow every where, although it was beautiful and we could make snow man, and could have SHIREH BARFEE, (mixture of snow with grape pure), but something terrible happened, while I was running to our house from school, my foot went into the canal of water parallel to the street, which was completely covered with snow and could not be seen, when I pulled out my foot, I found I had lost my shoe. I had to walk the rest of the way without shoe in the snow, my foot was going to freeze, and sometimes I had to walk on one foot. But the worse thing was that I didn’t know how to explain it to my father, and if I was not going to say anything, how could I go to school with one shoe? Any how there was no way out of it, I had to tell him. Eventually I told him, I don’t remember if he beat me or not, even if he did it was not as bad as something to be remember, and swearing and shouting were very common, so they were not important enough to be remembered. Any way he took me to the closest shoe shop, and bought me pair of shoes, but I preferred to have no shoe than wearing those one, he was telling me that he has had education about shoe making. What was important for him was how hard is back and front of the shoe, obviously they didn’t teach him any thing about size and beauty of the shoe. He bought me a green shoe that was perhaps two or three size bigger than my size, and I was not absolutely sure if it was even a boy’s shoe. What was important was that it was as big as I didn’t need another one perhaps for another one or two years and it was as hard as one could be sure that it is not going to be damaged for at least a hundred years. From next morning till time which I saw my mother and she bought me another one, I had to make jokes about my shoe before any body else does, and for a week I was swearing at my self for not seeing that canal of water.
Discipline and order of our house was extreme, there was time for eating and sleeping and it was very difficult to go around them even if one was ill, listening to radio or watching TV was permitted only while we had our daily meals or in some cases when my father could find them important for us to see or hear, especially during News times. In those days there were not many houses with TV and I think we were one of the first few families, which had one. There was program just few hours per day, I was very fond of the films, which they had. Although some times they didn’t have any voice at all or they were in English, which we couldn’t understand it, for me it was all the same and I was enjoying them. Whatever I was in fond of movies, it was not as much as persuading me or my sister and brother to stay in our father’s room even one minute more than duration of our meal. Although there was no set of rule, we never were discussing anything in front of our father. We were talking only if our father was asking us about something. I think when we were with him all our concern was about when we will be free from him and can have our own freedom again. Free from being watched by him, which could create some problem and raise some question for him to ask us.
For us anything, which could disturb order of our house with any cost, was welcome. I remember once when I went back from school to our house, I found out as a result of bursting some major pipes, water was running in all our rooms, although among other things my cloths and bed were wet too and I could understand each one of us have to pay huge price for this accident. We were happy and in absence of our father we start playing with water and enjoying ourselves, it was like something very good had happened. I think when one feels he is not free, order however good, is considered horrible as they are seen as unseen bars of the prison. Any thing able to break them, as it has message of freedom even if temporary one, is welcomed. Price and afterwards misery of that event is not matter of concern.
My father’s view about marriage was a very selfish one. Although he was against polygamy, for him separation from his wife was as easy as once he told me “getting rid of a tooth, when it aches.”I can’t say it was his general view about women. I never heard anything from him, which could imply women are less intelligent than men or something like that. I never could feel difference of attitude of him towards his sons and daughters, he was as keen on education of his daughters as his sons, and after marriage was respecting them equally. I think for his age and especially in Iran in those days he was progressive. But at the same time we never could forget his attitude towards marriage, and what he did with the life of our mothers and us as well. He married and divorced more than ten times and as a result I had seven half brothers and five half sisters and not even one full brother or sister, in addition I have three half sisters from my mother’s side.
There is another reason for my father’s many marriages, as I was told by my cousin: “When he, a very handsome, educated young man, about twenty years old, married a very young beautiful daughter of the ruler of the north province of Iran, his marriage was not approved by his father. His father had another bride for him in mind, daughter of head of army, and a close relative of Shah. So he was forced to divorce his beloved wife and marry the bride nominated by his father. As a result his first wife had an unsuccessful suicide, never married again and died few years later. He who was very sad and angry, with excuse of continuation of his study left or perhaps escaped from Iran to France. He married a beautiful French girl, while he was in Paris.” My cousin told me, that he heard from my father that always he was in search of love lost after his first divorce, so he married and divorced many different women to find lost love, with no success.
My father’s attitude of ownership of children somehow was extreme, in this respect mothers didn’t have any rights on their children, however three of my brothers and one of my sister could stay with their mothers and didn’t come to stay with us.
I rarely can remember any kind of kindness from my father toward any of his children. Before their marriage, he expected total obedience from his children, and after marriage mutual respect. He believed kindness would ruin the child. I never remember he hugged us, or kissed us, more than that I never remember calling him in name or calling him BABA (dad) or PADAR (father) or asking him for anything. When he was referring to himself, he used to call himself Agha (Sir), meant that we should call him Agha. But I never remember to call him sir, or any thing else, simply because I never wanted any thing from him, and it was him who always was ordering us to do something. Once a year in Norowz day (Iranian New year, in first day of spring,) for one hour we could see different character of him, every Norowz we used to go to his room say congratulations and kiss his hand, he used to kiss our forehead and give us some money as a present for the New Year. And that was it, after one hour time everything would return back to normal, usually in that day we had more than a hundred people as our guests which they wanted to see my father and say congratulation, so we had to rush for preparation of food and other things.
Apart from this one hour, all the time he was very serious and most of the times bad tempered. He was very keen in our education; he wanted us to be self disciplined and self-sufficient. I remember I was seven years old but I had to wash my clothes and iron them, it was very difficult for me to do them all by myself. Although we were one of rare fortunate families who had washing machine in those days, but our washing machine was taller than me so I had to stand on a chair to reach it, after the end of washing I had to pass clothes through an electric press machine to extract the water. Once while I was doing that, my hand went through pressing machine along with wet clothes, the only thing which I could do was to switch off the machine, but after that I didn’t know what to do, I was shaking on the edge of the chair, my arm was in the middle of pressing machine. Still I couldn’t dare to cry for help, as my father was at home, and I was afraid of its consequence. Fortunately my stepmother came to the kitchen and saw me in that situation, she was astonished why I am not crying or asking for help! She opened edges of the pressing machine and took me to my father to see if anything should be done about it, I was begging her that everything is OK and not to take me to my father, but she said its all right, and we went to my father which against my expectation showed some kindness and start putting some kind of oil on my hand and messaging it.
My father’s attitude towards others was totally different, when we had guests or were with some of our families or strangers we could see totally opposite character of my father. Among them he was very cheerful, well spoken, sociable and friendly, even his attitudes towards our servants was not like any one else which I knew, he used to call them “Agha “(Mr.) and “Khanom “(Mrs.) never was impolite toward them, they were responsible of doing very few jobs in our house, normally looking after the garden, or cooking when we had some guest, the rest of the jobs were equally divided between us, for example from age of seven I knew in which days of the week I am responsible of setting the dining table, or washing the dishes, or watering the garden.
Since entering my father’s home, my life changed completely; suddenly I felt I have lost my mother my protector and defender. My father, according to his principals, didn’t want to let me to see my mother again, because she was married. I think it was some kind of revenge as well, because I heard from one of my aunts that my mother was one of the few wives of his, which was loved by him, and one of the few who divorced him herself. For the first few months the only company, which I had, was my mother’s photograph, which was always with me, I could talk with it and cry and complain to it. For the first time I could feel loneliness, I could see I have nobody to share my pain with, my misery, and my grief, somebody who could understand my failure and mistakes and could tell me its all right, don’t do it again. My mother loved me very much and was giving me, her love without any hesitation or reservation, so suddenly I could deeply feel lack of love. There was nobody around me, which could give me love in the same way, which my mother used to give it to me. The only time which I think my father wanted to show some kindness toward me, was before his divorce from my mother, he took me and my mother to the outside of the city, and showed us a piece of land, then he told me: “I have bought this land for you”. Then he asked me “what are you going to do with it, when you grow up?” I think in that age the only use which I could see for that piece of land outside of the city was a place for burial, so I told him: “when you die I will bury you here.” Of course one can imagine how angry and upset he became, but he didn’t show it as he used to.
Among all my half brothers and sisters, one of my half brothers (Issa) and one of my half sisters (Sorya) were living with us in my father’ s house and rest of them were living with their mothers or were grown up and had their own families. Somehow I could feel we are in the some kind of prison and my brother and sister were my prison mates, I could feel that they are happy to see me in the same situation as themselves. Perhaps when one could see more people with the same misery as his, that misery as it is shared with others could be more endurable. It seems even living in hell can be easier if one feels there are others to share the hardship with. This is the same feeling, which I had when I heard that my other half brother two years older than me might find him in the same situation as I. One Thursday he came to our father’s house and I think he had his result of his examinations with himself, which was not very satisfactory, and my father was very angry of him. My father beat him and told him, he is not allowed to return to his mother’s house, but later on when his mother came after him, my father changed his mind and permitted him to go. The only happiness which we had was on Thursdays and Fridays when we were able to see our other brothers and sisters. They were from outside world. They were not our competitor, they could see our misery and easily could feel and see themselves in our situation and were reflecting this worry and anxiety by showing kindness toward us. So once per week I could have somebody to love, especially my older sister and brother, which were full brother and sister of each other. Saeid and Simin were very kind with me they were about seven or eight years older than me. They used to take me in their arms and play with me and show kindness. Some times my sister Simin used to make hat and dress with newspapers for me, which were very nice, and I used to like them and could keep them for several week. Even Saeid and Simin who compare to us were grown up and their mother was the cousin of my father were not safe from the bad temper of my father. I remember he always used to find an excuse to be angry of them especially Saeid. Although they were in our house just for one or two days per week, still sometimes they were going to be beaten by my father. Once I remember my sister Simin by mistake made tea with cold water instead of hot water, my father made a kind of drama from that and, teased her in any manner he wanted, but that was not all. My sister was about eighteen years old and was very proud, but my father used to make joke of her action in front of all families each Thursdays when they were gathered in our house.
When my father was not at home, every body could feel free, even my step mother, who was much younger than my father, in her early twenties by then, used to feel joyful, and was prepared to play with us. I remember once in summer time we were playing. Every body from my stepmother to my sister and brother and our servant’s children. We were in two groups and were fighting with each other with water, suddenly a bucket of water was thrown towards huge class of the one of the entrance doors, and broke it, we thought we can gather all our money and ask some body to come and repair it, but unfortunately my father came sooner than we expected, and there was no way out of it, suddenly my sister Sorya said we tell him that the cat was going to take the parrot which my father liked very much, and we had to throw our shoes toward it and it broke the window. This story saved us all, sometimes without lying to him we couldn’t solve a simple problem, being straight to him usually meant more trouble, more than one could think of it.
We used to have two garages under of our house, we needed only one of them and my father gave the other one to a poor and honest man named Hussein Agha. He was very lucky because there were so many people, which were dreaming for that kind of space. Although by then Tehran was not as crowded as it became latter, but still there was shortage of housing and place to work. Hussein Agha was one of those so-called clever villagers who recently had immigrated from his village to Tehran. He was not living in proper house, I never permitted to go and see their house, but his son told me, when they came to Teheran, for few days they didn’t have any where to go and had to sleep in the street, it was summer time and they didn’t mind, but soon they had to think about some where with roof, other wise in winter time all of them could be frozen to death. Eventually they found some where to live, where people were making their houses with ‘HALABIE’ (used tin of kerosene and oil) and they used to call their ‘hand made city’ Halabie Abad. Hussein Agha’s families helped each other and made their home from Halabie, and were very proud of their finished job. Hussein Agha’s son was telling me how they play from early morning till late night over there. Some times flood from north of Teheran where rich people used to live were running toward them and could gather around their houses, for children it was fun, but most of the times it could ruin every thing which was build by them. Women used to wash their cloths and dishes in that water, as they didn’t have any running water, even sometimes they had to use the same water for consummation as well. I was not able to understand hardship and problem of not having running water or electricity, or living in a place like that, what I could see was freedom which Hussein Agha’s son had and I didn’t have. Every day early morning Hussein Agha had to ride to the Bazaar of the vegetable with his second hand bicycle and bring fruit and vegetable with himself and sell it in our garage. When my father was not in, I used to go and talk to him and play with his son, he used to tell us story. Some times I used to think how lucky his son is to have such a father. If one would ask me which one do you chose poor and kind father or rich and unkind one certainly I was going for the first one, but I was not so sure that Hussein Agha’s son was going to have the same choice as I. Most of Hussein Agha’s story was religious one, the most interesting one was story of Imam Hussein, how brave he was and how he and his family stood against the ruler of their time. They were seventy-two people against few thousand of enemy’s soldiers; all of them fought bravely and all of them were killed. Sometimes when he was telling us those stories I was crying and wished we were living at that time and could help Imam Hussein. Some afternoon when Hussein Agha wanted to go to the mosque for afternoon’s pray, he used to ask me to look after his shop while he was away. I remember I liked Iranian carrot that was yellow and very sweet, and Hussein Agha used to give me some of the Iranian carrots every time I was looking after his shop. One day he was a bit late and my father came earlier than usual, I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t leave the shop without attendance, and didn’t know what to tell my father, well there was no way out of it, and I had to face him. My father was surprised to see me over there and asked me what am I doing there? I told him: “I am watching the shop for Hussein Agha.” He showed me a surprise face and said: “OK so now you want to be Sabzii Froosh (a green grocer)?!!” I didn’t know what to say I couldn’t tell him that I am doing it as a favour, because I was sure after that he was going to ask me other questions and there was no way which I could explain why every day we used to go and help Hussein Agha to hear his stories, so I told him: “because he gives me a carrot.” He was even angrier, he was going to explode, he was shouting and saying: “now my son works for green grocer for a carrot a day?!!” Well he slapped me and for all the day he was swearing at me, whenever he was facing me. There was possibility that poor Hussein Agha would lose his shop as well. Any way he didn’t lose it, but I lost that opportunity and never could go and hear Hussein Agha’s religious stories.
My parents were not religious at all, but I think loneliness and fear and perhaps stories of Hussein Agha made me religious, God was the only one which I could feel is able to hear me and is powerful enough to change things according my wishes. I loved my mother but very soon, even before her divorce I found out she is weak and powerless to do anything against my father. While she was living with my father, any time they had quarrel or fight my mother was not able to stand against my father, and any time their quarrel was going to reach to beating stage, my mother used to faint, they told me fainting was due to the miscarriage which she had before I was born. I remember those days very well, any time it was happening, I was thinking she is dead. Hence I had to face her dead from very early ages. For my family death was part of life, they used to have a private grave-yard which unlike many private graveyards was not open space, it was like a house with carpets, very expensive drawings and furniture. My father used to take us there once every few months. From childhood we had to attend all burial ceremonies with all its etiquette, wearing black tie and black clothes. Anyway whenever my mother had an attack I used to cry as hard as I could. Then it was my turn to get slapped from my father, after that my father used to bring a bottle of ammonia in front of my mothers nostrils, then while I was choking with fear and worry, she used to shake strongly with some loud cry and after few minutes could open her eyes and it was the end of the story for the time being.
I think the first time when I found out about God and how one can get help from him was in Karbela in Iraq, we were there as pilgrims of Imam Hussein’s shrine, I don’t think my father was very interested in pilgrimage and perhaps was more keen to see historical sights. Over there I could see strange people with strange dresses, they were Arab and had Arabic dress. As usual my parents had a fight and my mother took my arm and we went to Imam Hussein’s shrine. While she was crying very hard, she told me that she is going to pray to God in front of his beloved Imam Hussein to save her from my father, then we entered the shrine. She took the bars of the tomb and started crying and talking with Imam, then she went a bit further and started shaking it as hard as she could, I was astonished and shocked of what she was doing, then I saw a mullah who I think was caretaker of the shrine, he came toward my mother and said something in Arabic, which obviously my mother couldn’t understand it, and didn’t stop crying or shaking the shrine, at this time that mullah who found no response from my mother start pushing her out of the tomb while was swearing at her in Arabic. I could see that my mother is not only weak against my father but perhaps in front of all men. Although I was about five years old, but this time I was full of anger, I felt I had to stand for my mother and start shouting to that man. Although my mother couldn’t pray as much or as hard as she wanted to, I think she got her answer and found some courage to leave my father a few months after we returned to Iran.
Anyhow I felt at the end God answered my pray too, because after sometime, something good happened, and that was the marriage of my youngest aunt (my mother’s sister) to my oldest half-brother, who had lost his wife through suicide. I think they had been in love with each other for sometime but because of opposition from my grandparents, they were not able to marry. My grandfather’s objection was that he was not so sure about behaviour of my brother, he used to say: “we gave one of our daughters to Banisadr’s family and see what has happened, I don’t want to repeat the same mistake twice.” At the end due to my mother’s intermediary he agreed and they could marry each other. After their marriage I could feel I have my oldest brother and my aunt as my defender, the first result of this marriage for me was that I could go and see my mother every week on Thursdays and return to my father’s house on Fridays. Any time I was with my mother I could feel the real meaning of freedom, I was like a bird, which was able to leave its cage once a week and fly wherever it wanted to. My step father, Ammo Jan used to buy me new toys every week, he was very kind, used to take me and my step sister to playground, zoo, . . . we could ask him for anything which we wished to have, while I was with my mother I could feel no restriction, I could play all day, go and see my friends close to their house, so Thursdays were the best days and Fridays were the worst. Each Friday, I could feel all sadness of the world has gathered in my heart, since afternoon of each Friday I didn’t want to laugh or even talk, I was loosing my appetite for food or play or anything else, the only thing which I had to do was waiting to go to my usual prison for another week. Oh yes usually on Friday evening suddenly I was changing into a very religious person as well, praying all the time, asking God for something to happen, so when we go to my father’s house we find they are not there, hence I could return with my mother to their house. Sometimes I could get some result from my pray, and could return to my mother’s house when my father’s family were not returning from their usual Friday’s trip to Karaj. Always I was in search of some kind of new pray or magic to save myself from the situation, which I was in. I learned from Hussein Agha, the Shia’a sect of Islam’ s saints which we call them Imams were all in the same situation, all of them were living under tyranny or in prison, most of them were killed by tyrant of their time, so they can understand our problem and can be intermediate between us and God, in this way we might be saved from our misery. Even one of our saint according to our believe after thousand years, still is alive and he might do something himself to save us. For me any incident with result of returning to my mother’s house was good incident, price of it was not important. Being able to stay in my mother’s house meant a lot, it meant freedom, although, perhaps there was not much, which I could do there, compare to my father’s house, but even the simple things meant a lot. I think they meant a lot not materially, but because everything there had smell of freedom with itself. For example eating in my father’s house was a must, not a need or enjoyment, we had to have anything which was cooked, like or dislike didn’t have any meaning. During those days I didn’t like aborigine and my father knew it so anytime we had aborigine as lunch or dinner all my father’s attention was towards me, and he was checking how many aborigines I am going to have, and even I had to have more than any body else. I remember once my father asked me: “why every weekend you want to go to your mother’s house don’t you miss Karaj where you can see river, trees, fruits, and play with children in the trees and in the pool?” My honest answer was no, I presented my answer as acceptable as I could and told him: “I am not very fond of greens and water.” I learned what freedom means, when I was very young. With freedom everything in life has its own meaning any thing can be enjoyable, in my mother’s house even breathing had a different meaning, it seemed in her house, greens were more green, flower’s were more beautiful, sweets were sweeter, food more delicious, and sleep more enjoyable, even pain more bearable. I remember once I had very bad tooth ache, so my mother called my father and asked his permission for me not to go there that Friday, although I had tooth ache, but after I received that permission I forgot my pain, I started jumping up and down and laughing. By then, Ammo Jan made a joke of it and said: “it seemed your tooth didn’t want to go to your father’s house, perhaps when you want to go eventually, you have to take them and leave them with us.” Next day when I wanted to go to the school my mother gave me some Optalidon (pain killer) tablets to have if I had more pain. During school hours I think I had few of them, more than what I should had, while I was going home in the same evening, in the middle of my way I found I am very dizzy and am unable to walk any more. Fortunately one of my mother’s friend named Sara was living in the middle of the way between my school and my father’s house, the only thing which I could do was to go toward her house and knock her door, after that I don’t remember anything else except telling her that I have had some tablets. She was very nice and kind woman, they were Christian, I knew her family from my childhood all of them were very simple and kind, in their house one never could feel any restriction, my impression was that all Christians are like that, once I asked her about their kindness? She told me “it is because of the Christ, who has taught us to be kind even with our enemy, and if somebody has slapped us in one cheek, show him another cheek.” I never remember any kind of animosity between them and Moslems, always we were in harmony and peace, although sometimes later I found situation in religious cities thanks to Mullahs is different and they are called Najass (unclean) and one should not touch them and if they do after that they had to have Ghoosll (washing themselves in special religious manner). Anyway I think what Sara did was to force me to vomit those tablets, and after I felt a bit better she told me: “You are not well and I am going to take you to your mother’s house and let your father know that you are not very well.” I fall asleep and when I woke up I was with my dear mother, she wanted to keep me longer, and take me to dentist, but when she called my father, he didn’t give permission, and said he will take me himself, the problem was with one of my milk tooth, so he didn’t bother to take me to a proper dentist and took me to our neighbour, which used to practice in a traditional way, and he took my teeth in most painful and crude way which was possible. Any way, even that incident although was painful, but for me meant two days more with my mother, so after all it was a good incident.
Unfortunately those happy Thursdays didn’t last much longer. Ammo Jan was a navy officer and after sometime staying in the capital, it was his turn to be sent to other cities close to the sea. He was sent to the Abadan south of Iran, more than 500 miles far from Teheran, so again I was not able to see my beloved mother even on Thursdays. My father didn’t know about it, and instead of my mother’s house I could go to my grandparent’s house, so I could have some kind of happiness on Thursdays.
Every Thursday, first I used to see my grandmother who was ready by the door to welcome me, after kissing her I could run toward my grandfather’s room, he used to hug me and kiss me and usually had something for me, a bar of chocolate or a toy or sometimes a book. In the evening after playing with neighbour’s children was story time, either my grandmother or my mother’s wet-nurse named Aghbajie who was about seventy years old were telling me a story, usually each Thursday Aghbajie used to go to Shah Abdul Azim in city of Rey near Teheran for pilgrimage of one of our saints. In return she had some sweets and even some toys for me made especially in that city. She was addicted to opium and because of her age she was able to get her opium free from the government. Because the amount of opium was not enough for her to smoke, she used to eat it, sometimes when I had earache she used to smoke the opium and blow its smoke into my ear, the smell of that smoke was horrible and when once I had stomach-ache and she gave me a very small piece of opium to swallow, I found out that it’s taste is as horrible as it’s smell. I never could understand why she does smoke or eat that horrible thing. Once she told me: “you know this was the present of British to us, before Qajar era, we were strong and powerful, about 200 years ago during rule of Nadir Shah we were as powerful as we could conquer India and no other country was able to stand against us, but the kings of Qajar dynasty were all capricious, weak, unworthy and incapable, so they let the British and Russians come to our country and without conquering it doing whatever they wanted to do, with our wealth and life. Among these two British were like serpent, ‘KHOSH KHAT ‘O KHAL’ (beautiful on surface) nobody could see and feel what they are doing, most of the times they were pretending that they are our friend, they were polite, merciful, and even one could think they are spendthrift. Standing against Russian was simple anybody could see how brutal they are they were rough and ruthless, they were straight and everybody even in the villages knew they are our enemy, those who were pro-Russians were easily hated by the people and could lose their friend in matter of days. When we were strong we fought with them and if it was not because of incompetence of Qajar kings, all people were ready to fight against Russians and we could defeat them, easily. Anyway after The Russian Revolution they left our country and left us alone. But the British never left us till they suck all our blood. They came here not by arm and fire but by smile and present for king and everybody around him, they told us that they are going to help us against Russian, but instead of helping us, they forced us to sign different agreements with Russians, to give up golden part of our country to Russian. They start sucking our land’s blood, our black gold, our oil and instead they brought opium and tobacco to our country, by using opium they wanted to make people impudent, shameless, and harmless, they wanted to take our wealth and not allow us to think about it, they wanted to change our brave people into incapable of doing any thing. With introduction of opium many greedy land owners started growing opium instead of traditional crops and then they created this habit of smoking opium, first among our intellectuals and rich families and gradually even among the common people, one could buy opium and smoke it and sell the burned remainder (SHIREH) more expensive than opium itself, yes the British cut our head by cotton (BA PANBEH SAR MA RA BORIDAND.)” This was the first time which I could feel some hatred toward foreigners, later on I found Aghbajie was not the only one hating British, but it was very common among people, as a matter of fact one could see that people very easily can rely somehow all their misery and their problems to British, most part of it true, but one could wonder what was their own role in all these events, why they couldn’t see their own weaknesses and disabilities for defending themselves and looking after their own rights!!
Once when my grand mother was telling me a story I asked her about her father, she told me her father was a land owner, “for him most people were either land owner or peasant (MALIK V RAEIT), being good land owner meant to look after your peasant, be kind with them not expect them more than what is capability of human beings, arrange marriage for their children and even give them some kind of trousseau (JAHEEZEH) to start their life with . . . He and his brother both were nationalist, and against foreigners, both were educated, his brother unlike him was not land owner, he was a successful merchant and even had some trips to Europe and always had many stories from there to tell us. My father and his brother had good relation ship, till constitutional revolution, during those years (1907-1911) they always had quarrel with each other, my father used to compare the country with his land and used to say: “all our problem is because of having weak and incompetent king, if we could have strong king like Nadir Shah or even Agha Mohammed Khan our problem could be solved easily, look at Russians and British they are ruling the world because of having strong king and Queens. Look at my land and me, how I manage it, not only us have every thing we need, but also our peasant are happy as well and have what ever they want. Now if you take me from this land and ask farmers to run it they will start fighting instead of working, how can they manage the land, who is going to decide about time for every thing? Who is going to sell the crops and whom can they trust? Bad shah is at least one person and can be changed easily, but look around shah, all of them are mercenaries of either British or Russians, who do you think is going to go to our parliament, all these pigs will become representatives of the people and soon we find ourselves in the situation of feeding bunch of people as thieves instead of one person as a shah. How these so called representatives of people are going to decide and act?!’ Totally opposite to my father my uncle was completely pro revolution and in favour of constitutional monarchy, and even Republic. He used to think all our problem is because of despotism of the kings, his example was French and American revolution, he used to claim that the secret of the success of the British is their own parliament and not their Queen or King. He used to think with constitutional monarchy all our problem could be solved in matter of months at most years. Our roads and cities would become secure which was very important for him; we will be master of ourselves and will not surrender every thing to foreigners. He was very in fond of new inventions and was hopeful to see all of them in Iran, especially the railway, he used to say: <OK we have gone a bit backward but still they are teaching books of our scientist in Europe, you can find Khyam’s Algebra, Zakaria’s discoveries in chemistry, Abyssinia’s discoveries in Medicine in European universities, they have learned from us and now is our turn to learn from them and try to reach them and perhaps take over. If people over there can rule them selves we would be able too. > He believed the first rule for progress is having good government, and believed rule of people is the most progressive kind of governing. He used to say: <by now there is no Asian or African country with this system of government and even in Europe there are few countries having parliaments. So if we win and could have democracy we easily can over take from all those countries. “He was telling us that if we unite we can revolt against the Shah and we are able to change him and bring new form of the government in power, governments working for people and be responsible in front of people and not being lord of the people and working for the interest of foreigners. He was sure of the victory and was reminding us about JONBASH TANBACOO, (tobacco’s movement). How people could unite and stand against decisions of the Shah and change it completely.”
My grandmother continued her story by saying that: “Their quarrel didn’t last long and after some times without much fight Mozafar ol Din Shah, son of Nasser Din Shah, (who was killed in 1896) agreed to the constitutional monarchy and signed it as the law of the country. This is why on the door’s head of the parliament building is written (ADEL MOZAFAR) (justice of Mozafar). Unfortunately after his death his son Mohammed Ali Shah who was considered as puppet of the Russians didn’t accept constitutional monarchy and his Russians friends bombarded the house of the Parliament and abolished the constitution.
So after some times first in Tabriz (capital of Azerbaijan northern province of Iran), then all over the country people rose against Mohammed Ali Shah and the Revolution started. Suddenly we found how rich we are considering having brave people, those who are ready to sacrifice every thing for goods of the people. The most famous revolutionaries were from Azerbaijan. Satar Khan and Baqar Khan, they stood against Russian’s soldiers and people could see their power. When they rose, not even strong army of Russia could do any thing against them, they were ready to do any thing for their new leaders, they could see how honest they are, they easily could trust them, this was the most important things for them, for long they didn’t have any body to trust, some body whom they could be sure is working for them and nobody else, some body who is like them selves and could talk in their own language, they could touch them and understand them, they could be sure that these simple people after the revolution are not going to become new tyrant. Revolution started and there was nothing to stop it, it was going to destroy all old bounds, which did exist in the society, neighbours, and families could become enemy of each other in matter of a day.
As a result quarrel between my father and my uncle changed into fighting, my father was pro monarchy and as British were in favour of the constitutional Monarchy, he used to say: “this is new trick of the British and this is new fight between Russian and British, not us. “My uncle was a pro revolutionary. In this way some how his own brother killed my father.” I asked her, “So you must hated your uncle very much for killing his own brother?” She replied: “you see he was a very good man, he cried for my father more than all of us together. He looked after us and took care of us more than his own children. He was a revolutionary, revolutionaries live in the world of myth and legends, for them every thing is black and white, like life and death, there is nothing in between. So when he was fighting he was not thinking about any thing else. He was ready to sacrifice every thing. What ever was in front of the revolution, in his view was from devil and darkness and had to be broken and destroyed. He could not see that the real life is colourful and one has to find the best colour he likes, while realising, what ever he has chosen is not pure white and the rest pure black. It was middle of the fight, in that situation no one is able to be choosy about his target, when you shoot, you only think about your own goal and not the person, who is going to be killed, the only thing which you know about your target is that he was against your aim and objective, you can not say he was a good man or bad one, you are not able to know if the person who is going to be killed by you has a family, children or not and you can not think about what is going to happen for your victim’s family. You either has to shoot to kill or been shot at and killed. So we could not hate our uncle, but we could hate war and killing.
After the revolution my uncle had to face the reality of life and had to sorrow for lost of his brother, which could not be replaced. He used to say, “Iranians never have fought against each other, they have fought against their foreign enemies but not against each other, we have different religion, some Shia’a, some Sunnis, few Christian or Jew or Zoroastrian and even Bah’aie, we talk in different languages, Farsi, Kurdish and Turkish. But always we have lived in this beautiful country in harmony and peace, our only enemies were always foreigners who wanted to occupy our country and exploit our wealth, even if leaders of different tribes of different region for gaining more power have fought against each other, most of the time their incentives were coming from outside of our country, from foreigners.”
He was sad, very sad of what happened, their happiness of their victory didn’t last long and some how my father was right. They did whatever they could to keep the new gained democracy, but I guess majority of the people were not educated or ready enough to look after it themselves. You see, revolutionaries, intellectuals, however hard they try as they are very tinny minority of the society, they cannot become guardian of the right and freedom of the people. If they stay as good as their struggle time, at most they stay away from changing into new dictators, this is duty of the majority to look after what they have gained. Any way our heroes of the time were as honest as realising this fact and kept themselves out of power. So power again went into the hand of old bunch of people used to rule our country for hundred years, but this time under name of representatives of the people. Parliament became centre of the agents of the British and Russians. Foreigners easily could buy the vote of the people and send who ever they wanted to the parliament. After collapse of the Tsarist Empire in Russia in 1917, Britain became the only beneficiary of Iranian wealth and in 1919 through treacherous members of the parliament and Iranian ministers could dictate a shame full treaty to Iran, which made us virtual protectorate of Britain.
Ahmad Shah, son of Mohammed Ali Shah, who by will of the people became Shah, was too young and powerless and although they say he was a good one but he was not able to do any thing.”
One Thursday, I found my mother instead of her aunt who came after me; it was a very happy surprise, as they say I was not able to move in my skin from happiness. It was my birthday, so she travelled all the way to Teheran to be with me on my birthday, but instead of taking me to her parents house, she took me to her uncle’s house, apparently she had quarrel with her mother, and didn’t want to take me there. I felt it was because of me, week before when I was with my grandmother as usual I played with their furniture’s in their guest’s living room and as usual made a castle by their furniture, suddenly they received some special guests and my grandmother was very embarrassed in front of them and told me something, which I think I replied her badly. While I was with my mother’s family I was not ready to listen to any body, over there I had a protector like lion, and knew very well, because of my mother, no body dare to say any thing to me, but at the same time my grandmother was not a person to surrender her self to bad behaviour of any body even her beloved ground son. Any how we went to my mother’s uncle, it was more fun than what I could guess, her uncle was even milder and kinder and more intellectual and much younger than my grand father (his brother). He was a widower and was living with his mother (step mother of my grand father), who was the kindest woman, I ever have seen. Her sister, their servants which on uncle’s way of thinking were living with them on equal term, and at last but certainly not at least his two beautiful daughters, one the same age as me called Bitta and another two years younger than me called Bittak. All were living there with the uncle. They knew we were going there and they also knew it was my birthday so they made their living room prepared for my birthday party, Bitta and Bittak made many things with some kind of colourful papers, they bought some paper hats for guests, and prepared food, drink . . . As I remember it was one of the best days of my life, my first and last birthday party I ever had. From then on, till few months, instead of going to my grand parents house on Thursdays my mother’s aunt used to take me to my mother’s uncle, which was very pleasant, all day on Thursday and Friday, I used to play with Bitta and Bittak and their servants children which were almost the same age as us, and in the evening was story time which were told either by their father or their grand mother. By this time I was about nine years old, and I could ask more intellectual question from my mother’s uncle which I used to call him as my mother used to do, Ammo Jan (dear uncle), I could ask him any question, he used to look so open and clever which I could feel no restriction in asking any question from him, he was more like father than grand father or any thing else. Playing with his children was very delightful as well, Bitta was very pretty, much more intelligent than me, she looked very clever, she used to go to private school, so she knew some English and could write on her black board in English which was very impressing. My father although was much richer than them, as he was against private schools he registered me in public school with lower standard of education. Any how Bitta was one year ahead of me, and having father as hers, she could think cleverly and answer many questions, once she kissed me, it was very pleasant and strange, she also gave me some information about sex and how people make a child, she had every thing, I might wanted for my future wife, but there was a problem, she was much taller than me and as she was more clever than me, I couldn’t think that one day she might be prepared to marry me.
After few months, one Thursday when I asked my father may I go to my mothers house, he asked me: “are you sure you want to go to your ‘mother’s house’?” ‘My mother’s house’ for me was an expression, meant freedom and didn’t mean exactly my mother’s house; as for some times she was not living in Teheran. But my father didn’t know that and was on this impression that each week I am going to see my mother, so I replied yes. He suddenly became very angry and told me: “why are you lying to me, I know for the fact that your mother is not in Teheran for past six months, and nobody knows were are you going each Thursday and Friday.” I told him about my mother’s uncle, and showed some intelligence and told him that: “when my mother is in Tehran she goes to her uncle, and I didn’t ask you to see my mother but to go to her house.” He became even angrier, he told me, “Each week you leave us for two days to see your mother’s uncle!! While you know all your brothers and sisters and your own aunts and uncles will be here on Thursdays?!! The answer to your question is no, no you cannot go and see your mother’s uncle any more. Last week was the last time.” It was very dark and bad day for me and I felt I lost my only freedom, which I had, but some how I expected more. I think if instead of me it was my older brother Issa that was living with us the situation could be much worse, he certainly could be beaten badly for lying to my father, although I didn’t feel I have lied to him.
Comparing to Issa I was favourite son of my father, some how Issa was my teacher, or perhaps victim of my learning. Issa was five years older than me, his mother married immediately after divorcing my father and after sometimes left Iran for United States, so from childhood Issa was separated from her mother, and never had some body to love him and never had freedom of Thursdays and Fridays which I had, perhaps once every month, her grandmother could come and visit him, she used to bring him some sweets and cloths, and some money, these things were very precious for Issa, and he used to hide them from every body. Few times we found him in toilet while he was eating some thing hidden from us. This behaviour gave him a stingy character, which was with him for the rest of his life, opposite to him due to my mother, I always had more money than what I needed or knew what to do with it, so I remember, I used to change them and throw them into the sky and every body could take some. So I was known as a generous boy. My aunt (sister of my father) was reminding this to any body by saying “the difference between Masoud and Issa is that if you give Masoud one raisin he will try to divide it among who ever is in the room, while if you give a bag full of sultanas to Issa, he will take all of them to toilet and eat them alone.” I remember once Issa made syrup with mint and vinegar for himself, he used to eat it spoon by spoon every day in front of us and was not prepare to let us to taste it. Once I asked him if I can buy some, he told me, “OK, how much money do you have? “I showed him what ever I had. It was two Tomans (for me it was a lot of money, with that money one could buy 20 chewing gums.). He said: “OK give me your money, I will give you this syrup.”I did so and got the syrup, it was not as testy as I imagined, it was too sweet, it was testy as long as I didn’t have it, when I got it, it was mixture of sugar and herb, that was all. I immediately regretted for the unwise trade of mine, and surrounding myself to my desire, and losing all money, which I had for some time. So I asked Issa if I can have my money back, he told me: “no. You have had a trade, and you can not reverse it.”So in this way I lost my money. I learned that I, myself, have to pay a price for my mistakes and greed, and cannot ask any body else to pay it instead of me.
As I mentioned, unlike my parents I was religious and even superstitious. It was for some times which I was not permitted to go and see my mother’s family. So on one Thursday I was very sad, Issa came to me and asked me if I like to go to my mother’s family, I answered: “of course,”he told me I have to pray, I told him: “don’t be silly, I am doing it every night before I sleep, and I am prepare even seeing my mother in my dream.”He told me: “pray alone is not enough, there are billions of people who every day pray for having things which they don’t have, you have to do some thing, forcing God to hear you.” Then he told me there is one pray which he has found and one day might give it to me. From then on all my mind was toward finding that pray, once I saw him to hide a piece of paper in his pocked, I went toward his pocked and took that paper, while he was not in the room. But before being able to read it, Issa came back to the room; I gave him the paper, and begged him for telling me what is that pray. I told him I managed to read only number of hundred in the paper. He said:”OK I will tell you”, and told me that first I have to have hundred glass of water to purify myself, then he is going to tell me the rest of the pray, after drinking few glass of water, I couldn’t continue, I got stomach ache and was going to vomit, I told him “I can not carry on, but what is the next stage?”He told me that: “in next stage I had to go and share my food with our dog and eat with him from the same plate, to show God how much I respect all his creatures.”I asked him if he knows this pray, how come he never is permitted to go and see his grand mother? He answered: “because like you, I never could fulfil the different stages of the pray.”Then he added: “God for getting rid of different prays of all different people, has put conditions in front of them like a very large stone, which nobody can lift it easily, so he is free from listening to different people’s demands.”After that, I felt pray is not useful at all, if it is a simple one, God doesn’t care to listen to it, and if it is so difficult which nobody can fulfil it what is use of it?!!
Issa was in his puberty’s age, he was clever, but most of his talent was going towards how to deceive our father. He was not good with his education, but my father used to discredit him for every thing in front of any body, he used to beat him easily. As a result to see Issa’s nose bleeding was very common. Although I could feel and see he is jealous of me and some times is doing things to harm me, but I never could feel hating or disliking him, because I could see how unfair is our father behaviour toward him. He was never prepared to listen to our father even for things, which were in his own advantages. He could see our father more as enemy than father. He wanted to resist against suppression committed by our father in any way that he could. Normally as he knew our father is watching him he had his books all the time with him to pretend he is studying, while normally he had his story books or some times his nutty books under his study books. Once our father watched him from behind the window and found about his trick, so asked us to go to his room every evening for study and didn’t let us to study in our own room any more. So thanks to Issa we lost that little amount of freedom, which after school we had in our room.
Contrary to Issa during my primary school era I always was ahead of my classmates and number one student, so all my teachers liked me and I did like them too and was able to show my affection as well. As unlike my poor brother, Issa, I was one of my father’s favourite sons, while we had some guest he used to praise me, but being favourite and being praised, didn’t mean any privilege or free of occasional beatings. Even it was some how, harmful, as it was the sole source of jealousy of others towards me, which meant more harms and less sympathy from their side. So apart from other problem, I had to face their jealousy too.
In winter time we used to sit around Curcy which was an square shape of table, with short legs, which during winter time they used to put it in the room and put a Manghal, which was a large size pot full of half burned coal with fire, underneath of the Curcy, then there was a very large quilt covering it and around it, there were bedding and cushions all around it, so people could sit around it while their feet was under the Curcy and in this way they could keep them very warm, and as a result nobody could feel cold weather of the outside. While we were in my father’s room always there was a fight between us three, who is going to seat as far as possible from my father. Although there was no use as he used to ask us one by one to change our place and go close to him. Then he used to ask us about our study and usually asking some question that he was sure they are the most difficult one. Normally the first person was Issa and then my sister Sorya and some times me, I was lucky one as most of the times his question from Issa and Sorya was so lengthy which when was my turn it was so late which we had to have our dinner and go to bed. Sometimes I was wishing to be first as during his questioning and beating of my brother and sister; always I could see my self in their situation and could feel the same hardship and pain. Most of the time I was thinking that waiting and not knowing what is going to happen was more difficult and unbearable than facing him and be beaten by him. Unfortunately most of the time, questions were so difficult or misleading which nobody was able to answer them and result could be beating and blood running nose. Once while we were in my father’s room, I had nothing to study so instead, I was reading a storybook. My father asked me what am I reading, I told him the name of story book, he was angry of Issa before me so he asked me, why am I not studying, proudly I told him because I have nothing to study, He said: “OO so is this the fact?!”And asked Issa to bring my study books to see if I am master of it, I don’t know why? But Issa instead of bringing my own study book brought another one, well ahead of mine, as still, we didn’t have standard studies books for different subjects. I never could find if he did it in purpose or it was just his mistake. Anyhow my father start asking me questions from that book which obviously I didn’t know about them. I wanted to explain to him, but it was one of those nights that he was very angry, and was not prepare to listen to any body. So instead of hearing me, he starts beating me as hard as he could. I remember my sister had to take me to lavatory to wash my nose, which was bleeding. After that my father said: “I thought I can leave you alone and you are going to study without my supervision, now I found I was wrong and can not leave any of you alone.” I remember very well, he asked me how can we calculate area of ellipse, and I didn’t know, the latest which they taught us in school was calculating the area of square, which was very simple one. He taught me and asked me to study few pages of that book and told me that next day he is going to ask me about it. Next day during break time unlike my classmates I didn’t go to the school’s yard to play, instead of that I started studying those things, which my father asked me to do. It was difficult for me to understand so while I was reading them I was choked with sadness and anger. Some how my teacher saw me, she asked me what am I doing and why was not I in the yard? I told her I am studying and showed her what was I studying. She was astonished and asked me about what was going on? With some fear of the end result, I told her the full story, she became very angry and went straight to our principal room and asked him to call my father, and ask for explanation. His name was Mr. Nazami, he liked me as well, so didn’t hesitate to call my father at all and immediately called him and asked for explanation. Anyhow that afternoon when I went home every thing was different. Although my father never was prepared to admit to his mistakes, but it was clear that he is regretful of his mistake and his beatings, and was not prepared to look in my eyes. Any way although that beating was painful, but I think it was worthy as he never again asked about my study. It was very good, because for the rest of my life I studied for my self and not for any body else, stress free, in my own time, and free from any kind of competition, or worry of my father. At the end of this event I reached to this conclusion that many goods may come from bad, and things, which look bad at the time, might have a good end result. This was important conclusion that stayed with me for the rest of my life.
Some how I felt Issa is not just jealous of me, but he hate me. Once my sister told me: “it is because while your mother was living with us, she used to give the best of every thing to you, Issa was about seven or eight years old and used to feel jealous of you. This is why he wants to harm you.” I remember each week when we wanted to have a bath I had to prepare myself for a battle, unlike many people which used to go to the public bath outside of their houses, we had our own bathroom in the house, but it was in our basement, which was large and dark, a horrible place, the heater was working with oil and was not large enough to have water for two person washing themselves immediately after each other, and they used to turn it on once per week and every body had to have bath on that they. My stepmother used to send Issa and I to have a bath together and normally we were the last ones and had to have bath late in the night. In bath room Issa used to give me a pot of water and I had to wash my self only with that water, bathroom always even in summer time was very cold and all the time I was shaking from cold and fear, but this was not all, they used to say our basement which was very old has spirits. Issa used to make some noises which could imply the voice or movements of the spirits, he used to tell me the most terrifying stories while we were in the bath room, our bath room was full of beetles, very large one, some how I was afraid of beetles and Issa knew it, so in between he used to take some of them and throw them in the pot of water which was given to me to wash my self with, apart from that some times he used to throw them towards me. As after finishing my bath, I had to walk alone and go upstairs from our basement and I didn’t have courage to do that, to wash my self faster and leave the bathroom sooner was not my option. So I was prepared to pay the price and wait for Issa to finish his washing, so we could leave the bathroom together. Once while I was telling this story to my sister, she told me “TARS BRADAR MARGEH” (fear is brother of the death) and told me that I have to prepare my self for the worse and face my fear, so one evening I walked to our basement and went to our bathroom and took some of those beetles in my hand and very proudly walked back to upstairs. Although I used to run, I could leave the bathroom alone from then onward, it was quite a victory for me. Issa didn’t harm me any more in the bathroom. Gradually I learned how to disagree with my brother and don’t trust him easily, and stand on my feet.
Once when I was in the school, Issa came to my classroom and asked for permission to take me home, it was strange, but my teacher before end of school time, let me to go with him. He told me: “come on Masoud I want to teach you how to ride a bicycle.” He had a bicycle hired by himself, I hesitated and resisted to go with him, but he was not such a person to surrender easily, so I sat on bicycle in front of him while he was ridding, while we were passing the main street, we were unfortunate enough to pass from front of my father’s car, it was red light and we were certain he has seen us. So we forgot about ridding and whole afternoon we were thinking and planning about what to do. Issa was certain that we shouldn’t go home and have to run away; he even suggested to suicide that was not the first time and before that once or twice we three (Issa and my sister Sorya and I) ate some NAFTALIN to kill our selves. We were unsuccessful and the result was having vomiting stomach for few hours. So I couldn’t agree with him and started to prepare my self for some beating. When he heard my view, he said: “you are right our father is not going to beat you as hard as he beats me any way, so I go alone and I will find a job and never will return home.” We separated from each other and I went home, soon I found out that our prediction was wrong and my father had not seen us after all, but there was no way which I could find Issa and tell him. He didn’t come home till late, it seemed, he was not able to find any where to go, so he had to come back home, but my father was so angry of him, not because of riding but being late, he didn’t let him home, and poor Issa slept by the door, when we were permitted to let him in my father was ready for him with his whip which always was ready for us in the corner of his room, but this time Issa didn’t let our father beat him. When my father wanted to beat him with that whip, Issa took the point of the whip and pulled it toward him, Sorya and I were so happy to see that scene. For us it was some kind of victory of oppressed against tyrant. I remember later on when we were moving from that house to new one, Issa found that whip and throw it away with all his power with full anger. Soon my father realized he could not beat Issa any more, and he is going to lose his authority on every body, so he permitted Issa to stay with my eldest brother in Rasht (north of Iran) where he was working. Again I felt some thing good came from bad, Issa became a lucky one as he went somewhere which we couldn’t even have a dream of it.
Not long after that my father stopped beating us after all. My sister was about sixteen and my father was not beating her for sometimes, and I have to admit I was lucky enough to have an unfair beating some times before that, which became clear and it saved me from future beatings and made me even more beloved one. It was when my father lost some money; he was fierce and anxious to find it, from my good or bad luck day before that I bought some pens for my self. My mother was not in Teheran, but before leaving she left some money with principal of my school, so he could give me certain amount of money each week. Hence although she was not there, I always had some money to buy those things that I needed to have. My father was very against us having any money at all, he was not prepared to give us any thing and I think I was in third grade of high school when he started to give us one Toman per day which of course half of it was for our bus fare. He used to buy different things in large amount, so any time we needed any thing, he used to go to his room and like going to a supermarket, he could pick those things and give it to us. Unless we were so desperate, rarely we were ready to refer him for any thing, firstly because we had to answer many questions, why do we need that object? What had happened to the last one, which we received or had? And after answering all this questions we could end up with a half used pen or a paper pad, and even if they were new, they were so poor in quality and shape, which could not create any incentive for us to have them. Any way having that new pen could obviously raise a question of how have I got it?! So when I answered him that my mother has given me the money, he start laughing, as it was few months since last time when I saw my mother. I didn’t want to tell him the full story, perhaps because I didn’t want him to know my special privilege at school and how kind they are with me. Some how I was in this impression that my father is against any kindness towards us and if he was going to find out about my position in school he could again change my school. Still I had a lot of pain from leaving the last one and loosing my beloved teachers and school mates over there, and didn’t want those things to be repeated. But he was right my story did lack part of the truth and was contradictory. He was not prepared to believe me that I have kept that money for all that long, while he knew my character, not being able to save any money even for a day. It was unbelievable even for my self. So eventually after some beating and eruption of blood from my nose for few times, he told me if I tell him the truth he will leave me alone. So I decided to lie to him and say that money was stolen by me, in this way I could be saved from further beatings and could keep my secret as well. But I never could guess by saying that, not only I will not be saved, but I will be thrown in to the marsh land which what ever I do I will be swallowed more and more. After that he asked me how much did I take? My answer raised another question what did I do with the rest of the money which I didn’t take? why did I take that amount? where did I found the money? . . . obviously most of my answers were wrong and as a result they brought with themselves more and more beating and eventually he told me I have to go to our room and stay there till I decide to tell him the truth and the whole truth. I was not going to go to school or anywhere else till this problem is solved. Fortunately my aunt (my father’s sister)who did like me very much was in our house. She couldn’t believe that I have picked that money. Any way it was unimaginable any one of us dare to go to my father’s room and pick his money, so against my fathers denial and insisting that it is useless to search the room again, she start searching and fortunately found the money which was slipped under the carpet. This problem was solved, but still where did I get the money for buying that bloody pen was unsolved. My father called to tell my principle, Mr. Nazami about why I am not going to the school, through this conversion Mr Nazami told him about money which was left with him from my mother. After few minutes my aunt came to me with my lunch which was untouched and some fruit, she kissed me and told me that my father is sorry but it was much better if I was telling him the whole truth. That night while we had our dinner in my father’s room he was not prepared to look in my eyes, obviously he was ashamed of what he did but at the same time he was not prepared to say he was wrong. Perhaps he believed it is bad for our education. According to his way of thinking children had to think their fathers are always right, and never can make mistake. Perhaps he believed we are not capable of understanding it and will lose our trust in him. Any way if I remember well this was the last time which he beat me, after that incident some kind of trust was created between him and me, although I have to say I had to lie to him few times more, but always for minor things, I didn’t want to lie, I didn’t like it and always had very bad feeling about it, but it was part of law of survival for one who wanted to leave in harmony with my father. Once he asked me to go and buy some chicken, but strangely he insisted I travel by bus to other part of the city for buying one or two chicken as the shopkeeper there was fair and used to sell it cheaper, the amount of money which he wanted to save was almost equal to the bus fare and really I couldn’t see any point of doing that so I went to the closest shop and bought the chicken and put the difference of the money from my pocked, when I returned home, he was surprised to see me so early and I told him I found a shop close to our house as cheap as his favourite shop, he asked me about the address of the shop and I am sure he went there and checked the price, because from then on, any time we wanted to have chicken he used to say: “Masoud knows a place very cheap, let him to go and buy.” As a result I lost substantial money on chicken.
Some times my father used to take me to his friends with himself, once he told me: “come on today I want to take you to one of my friend who was once prime minister.” It was exciting for me to see one of the prime ministers of Iran; he was Seyed Ziaed Din Tabatabai. He was an old man which was very kind with me, he took us to his greenhouse, he gave me a pot of mint and told me: “If you want to have a long life like me you have to have mint with every meal which you are going to have, this pot of mint can grow and spread and can be enough for you to have from it for the rest of your life if you appreciate it and look after it.” We were there for some times he and my father were talking about their old memories and were laughing together, after we left I asked my father about him and when was he, the prime minister, he told me a long story.
He told me: “when Seyed Zia wanted to become prime minister my father had to face him and Reza shah.” His full story was like this: “during Qajar time, we used to have three different kind of armed-forces, the first one was police which officially was under control and supervision of the British and mainly was working in the south of Iran and was specialised on safeguarding the British interest. The second one was Persian Cossacks, which were under Russian influence, and supervision, after Russian left Iran some of them remained and became employ of the Iranian government. The third force was Iranian Gendarmerie, which although were under supervision of the Swedish officers, but were the only Iranian arm force and their duty was defending the capital and the court. I was employed by Gendarmerie and was captain and adjutant of colonel Glroop, commander of the central brigade. Soon after the First World War British wanted to leave the country but they had their concerns and worries about their interests in Iran and wanted to do some thing about them.
Ahmad Shah who was king of Iran then, was the only constitutional monarch, we ever had, all the kings before and after him were dictator and their rule was absolute. Although Ahmad Shah didn’t have any power, according to the constitution all laws passed by the parliament had to be signed by him, as almost all of the members of parliament except few, were servants of the British, most of the law passed by the parliament was in fever of the British. Hence, Some times, Ahmad Shah was not prepared approve them easily. I can say he was an obstacle in front of the British and they wanted to get rid of him, but didn’t have any body to replace him with. On the other hand after constitutional revolution, people, especially intellectuals were more aware, aware of what was going on and aware of the power of themselves in changing things. As a result controlling the country was not as easy as before, every day there was a demonstration and strikes here and there, there were some movements of different nature every where in north, north east and centre and south of Iran. Apart from danger, which these movements had for central government, they could create great danger for British interest in Iran. After start of extraction of Iranian oil by British in 1908, they used to get all their oil from Iran. At the same time most of the merchandise of Iran was monopoly of the British, and merchants wanted stability and security for flourishing and safeguard of their business. Also they needed to have some stability in the country for safeguard of their Telegraph stations that was essential for connecting Britain to the western part of their Empire, namely India and other countries west of Iran. British were tired of the weak and incompetent governments in Iran, and wanted some body able to create strong and stable government and at the same time be their servant.
By 1920 General Ironside became commander of the British forces in Iran, Nationalist feelings and hatred towards the British among Iranian in those days were at highest, there were clear and open sympathy towards new government in the Soviet Union, and attraction towards communism among intellectuals was growing fast, Russian influence was more visible in North of Iran and although Mirza Kuochack Khan, the leader of Jangle movement in North of Iran was a Nationalist and devoted Moslem, but communists were very active too. British were neither keen to see a nationalist government in Iran nor a communist one, but the latter one due to our neighbour, Soviets were more dangerous. From one hand British didn’t want to involve them selves in internal problem of Iran which meant sending new troops to the country and unimaginable lose of British life and wealth. On the other hand they were not able to leave these problems that could put their own vital interest in danger in the hand of the incompetent different arm forces of Iran. By the same time, some how, Reza Khan an Iranian Cossacks officer was introduced to General Ironside the commander of the British forces in Iran. Ironside felt this is the man who he was looking for. Reza Khan had all capability of an officer , courage, discipline and authority and although till late in his life he was illiterate, but he was clever and had strong will. At the same time from British point of view he was danger less. As except his immediate family, he didn’t have any relatives, which were essential for one to keep him in power during those days. Unlike many politician and high ranking officers he was not from Qajar family or upper or even middle class families, so British were sure he has to lean on them for support and standing against Qajar family. Illiteracy and lack of experience could make him even more dependent and vulnerable. General Ironside put Reza khan in charge of the Cossacks who were fighting with Mirza Kuochack Khan, and latter on he became head of all Cossacks. Later Ironside Through British agents and employees in the government and court and parliament prepared the ground for Reza Khan’s coup.”
My father told me detailed story of the day which coup occurred. He said: “on the 20th of February 1921, I was informed that council of the ministers and commanders of the Gendarme-Erie are going to have a joint meeting in the central brigade. As colonel Glroop was in charge of the Gendarme-Erie and defender of the Tehran I had to accompany him in this meeting. In the meeting one of the ministers told us that they have been informed that tomorrow some forces will attack the capital. As they are Iranian we don’t want to see blood shed of our own countrymen. So all different forces must be under command of the General Glroop and he will be in charge of the defending the capital. He will be under direct order and instruction of the cabinet. During those days there was a strong wall all around Tehran with three huge gates and each side of this wall there were two deep and wide ditches full of water, which could make it very difficult for any one to attack Teheran.
The next day we heard group of Cossacks under command of the Reza Khan have moved from Qazvin (in north west of Teheran) towards Tehran, according our information we easily were able to attack and defeat them. We asked cabinet to leave the capital and go toward them, so we can fight with them out of the capital and easily win the battle. But we were instructed not to move and let them come closer. Again we heard they have reached Karaj (about 40 km from Teheran), we asked for permission to attack them. Again the answer was the same, eventually we informed them that they have reached to the walls of Teheran, what should we do? Strangely they ordered us to open the gates for them and let them in and latter on they told us to surrender ourselves and let the cabinet solve the problem peacefully. Later on we found out that British representative in Teheran had compelled Ahmad Shah to accept to see Reza Khan and appoint him as head of the joint Iranian army and minister of the war and give him the title of the Sardar Sepah (chief of the army). British knew Reza Khan is unable to run the government so they asked him not to abdicate Ahmad Shah and as prime minister they asked for appointment of Seyed Zia Ed Din Tabatabai. Seyed Zia was very well known as pro British journalist, so he had two character which was just right for the job, one, he was known as pro British so was no danger to British interest, two he was journalist and had a liberal mind and point of view so was different from traditional politician of Iran, he could communicate with intellectuals and with security provided by Reza Khan, he could create central political power and put an end to the traditional rule of the country. Reza Khan gave promise to British not to abdicate Ahmad Shah or Seyed Zia. But after some times he forced Ahmad Shah to abdicate Seyed Zia. It was not very difficult as Ahmad Shah knew he is pro British and was not very in fond of him and also there were many of his families who as a result of premier ship of Seyed Zia and changes which he brought to the government, lost their job and even some of them were in prison. So in 1923 Reza Khan became prime minister and Seyed Zia had to go in to exile, and didn’t come back to Iran till Reza shah was send to exile by the same British during second world war. By 1925 Reza Khan forced Ahmad Shah to go to Europe for so called vacation. Reza Khan never could imagine without any family history or family support and not being leader of any tribe he can claim to be Shah. He also was very in fond of Ataturk in Turkey and what he was doing over there, so he decided to copy the same thing in Iran, he had to change the constitution of Iran and make Iran a Republic country, and proclaim himself as first president of Iran.
Turkey under Ataturk became a secular and western country; he even changed Alphabet of Turkey from Arabic to Latin, and made religious leaders restricted and powerless. So for mullahs and many traditional members of the parliament, change of Iran into some thing similar to Turkey was nightmare and they could see all this changes under slogan of Republic, especially in those days many writers and poets and intellectuals started writing many articles and poems in the admiration of the republic, and Reza Khan’s Idea. So Mullahs started using their muscles in the parliament and announced their opposition towards republic and some politician suggested to Reza Khan to ask parliament for abolition of the Qajar monarchy and proclaim himself as king, so on October 1925 pro-British parliament deposed Ahmad Shah and announced the end of the Qajar dynasty and on December announced Reza shah as new king of Iran, he chose the family name of Pahlavi for his family and era of Pahlavi dynasty begin. On 25 April 1926 he crowned himself as first king of Pahlavi dynasty. “My father said: “When Reza Shah wanted to gain the vote of the representatives of the parliament for becoming shah, although every body knew he was nobody if British didn’t want him, nobody in parliament except few members dared to stand against him. One of them was Mossadeq and another one was friend of my father Modaress, he used to come to our house and tell us what is going on in the parliament, he used to say that British want to make a new dynasty and a King for us from wood (MEKHAHAND AZ CHOOB BARAI MA SHAH BETARASHAND), he used to call him not Reza Khan, but Reza Gholdor, (bully), and used to say: <he (Reza Khan) thinks he can do any thing by bullying, swear to God I will stand against him till I am alive. >. One day he came to our house and told my father that they want to kill him and said: <Reza Gholdor has employed some thugs to kill me. Those club-wielders were standing in front of the parliament, when I saw them and heard them who were saying death to Modaress, I went towards them. They even didn’t know me, and were repeating their slogans. I told them why do you want Modaress be killed if he dies who is going to give you money for shutting against him?!>. Few months later as he predicated it, he was beaten and, they moved him to army hospital, there, Dr. Ahmadi famous physician of Reza Shah killed him by strangulation.”
I was surprised how come if Seyed Zia is NOKAR ENGLESIEHA (servants of the British) is friend of my father, what ever by that time I was heard about British was that they are like ‘snakes’ and all our misery and backwardness is because of them and their mercenaries in Iran. My father told me that he knew Seyed Zia after he came back to Iran from exile. He told me: “you never can chose your friend due to his political view, those who have your political view might be your comrade but may not be your friend, friend is a person which you like him as he is, with his bad and goods, you don’t want to change him and he doesn’t want to change you. Your political view is part of your character, but not all of you.” My father told me, Seyed Zia was intellectual and he learned a lot of different things from him although he was against Seyed Zia’s political view. He said: “judging people is not so simple for example Reza Shah himself, he was an absolute dictator and killed many who were against him in cold blood, many died while they were in prison, under torture, and by Dr. Ahmadi. He came to power by will and help of the British and as a result he as his predecessors had to give most of the profit of our oil to British, every thing was in their hand and we didn’t have any say on any thing. He confiscated most of the valuable lands for himself. When he came to power he was a poor army officer, who like me and all officers some times used to get mad bricks instead of monthly salary, but when he left he was richest man in Iran. People used to say we got rid of thieves, who were full and faced the hungry one. But at the same time he did many good things as well. During Qajar we were a backward country we didn’t have any hospital, infection diseases were very common in Iran. No proper road, no rail way. Electricity and clean water were luxury and just for elite of the society, most of the people were illiterate, we didn’t have a united and powerful army, so who ever was powerful enough could rule part of our country. Kings in the capital were only thinking about their enjoyment and even if they cared they were so incompetent and powerless who couldn’t do much to change any thing. My father said: “now you can judge your self how things have changed, most of it was done during Reza Shah. He was as much nationalist and keen taking our country to twenty’s century, which the same British who brought him to power, felt he is not useful any more and might allied with Germans, to build our country. So they start broadcasting in their BBC radio that he is a dictator and reminding us how brutal he is and eventually they asked for his abdication and exiled him to South Africa. Now how do you want to judge him? It is easy to read history and have knowledge of afterward events and judge history makers, but you have to consider yourself in their era, with knowledge and understanding and obstacles of the time, and judge what could be done at the time. He add: “About people you can not be categorical and say he is good or bad you have to judge them according their goods against their bad.”
I was about ten years old, it was day of Ashorra, the day, which Imam Hussein was killed by ruler of the time. Usually people celebrate this day by demonstration and certain ceremonies. Every body wear black cloths and walk in the street, while repeating what ever MAREKEH GARDAN (the person or persons who give slogans and ask people to repeat it after them)was asking them, While they were beating themselves, occasionally very hard with GHAMEH (some thing like sword)and ZANJIR (some metal chains fasten together). People have different opinion about this ceremony, some believe it is VAHSHIGARY (savage habits) , and some do cry with them and say this is the way which they remind themselves of Imam Hussein and his goal. He stood for Liberty and equality among people under slogan of Islam and lost his life and his family’s life for those cause. So it seems people by beating wanted to remind them how far they should go for defending freedom. Usually we used to go to the orchard of my God-uncle Mr. Mafei. he was not real brother of my father, but there was a custom in Iran, which they used to say PAYMAN OKHOVAT, (brotherhood oath). He used to give free lunch to those who were in demonstration, in his orchard. Each year more than thousand people used to gather in his orchard close to Tehran and could have free lunch, and used to take some for their families too. We used to go there mainly to respect my uncle, my father didn’t believe in that kind of ceremony and was forbidding us to join the people who were demonstrating. Any way that year my uncle told us not to go there and said: “this year some thing is going to happen which is dangerous for you to come to the orchard.”. He himself as usual was there preparing every thing for feeding thousands of demonstrators.
It was about noon when I asked to accompany my brother, Issa to the bakery for buying some bread, I wanted to see the demonstration. Usually that ceremony was not just a demonstration, one could say it was a theatre, and much more. Some people used to dress as they used to dress during Imam Hussein time and had swords and other armament of that era and were playing what ever had happened on that day. Their slogan was very rhetoric, like poem. Our servants went to attend the demonstration, Hussein Agha was gone as well, but as I mentioned we were not allowed to attend it, so with excuse of buying bread I wanted to see what is going on. Well bakery was closed, but what we saw was unimaginable. It was not like other Ashorra, people instead of walking slowly were running and instead of giving slogans against Shemer and Yazed (rulers during Imam Hussein ), they were shouting death to Shah and giving different slogans against the shah. For us it was fun, every thing that could disturb usual order of life was fun. They used to attack government’s offices, banks, cinemas, and even public phone and break their windows and some times burn them. Soldiers were after them shooting them and were trying to beat and arrest them. They were brutal and after few minutes we felt sympathy towards demonstrators and without knowing what was going on we joined the demonstration and start giving the same slogans and running like others in the streets. For the first time I could see beating and killing and bloodshed of the people, it was like what I could imagine about Imam Hussein and stories, which Hussein Agha and my grandmother used to tell me about that event. It seemed that year Ashorra was not history but real and alive. After moving few streets with the crowd , as soldiers start shooting towards every body, people start running toward different direction. We too came back home while for days we were talking about that incident. I heard an Ayatollah named Khomieni was behind this upheaval, what he wanted I didn’t know.
That week my father permitted me to go to my grandparent’s house, over there the main talk was about demonstration. My grandfather believed whatever mullahs do there is a British goal behind it, he used to say: “they are dummies of the British.” He adds: “time has changed and now American want to get our wealth, they have asked Shah to change things. So he is doing land reform, and with land reform many landowners who were in coalition with mullahs and tools of the British power in the parliament will lose their power, so British who are loosing every thing have asked their mullahs to create this riot. My grand mother had her own opinion and was not agree with my grand father. She was not agree with him that all mullahs are tools of the British and was reminding him about JONBASH TANBACOO. In that event mullahs asked people to stand against agreement of the REJEI for giving monopoly of selling tobacco to British. Later on she told me her own interpretation of the event. She told me: “after Reza Shah came to power, he was proclaiming he had more nationalist feelings than religious one and believed, that our suffering is because of our religion and power of the mullahs. As matter of fact I think he knew the power of the religion and mullahs and knew the only thing that can stand against his dictator ship is power of the religion, so he wanted to crush this power. He thought by copying what Etta Turk did in Turkey, he could change every thing in matter of days and make us European. He didn’t care if people wanted to become European or not, he felt he is the owner of the country and knows what is good for the people and is able to do any thing. Nobody dared to oppose him and those who did, found themselves either in the prison under torture or in the grave. The first thing, which he did, was enforcing the law of KASHF HAJAB,(1935) according to that law, he ordered every body to wear European clothes. Up to then although some used to have European form of dress, it was their own choice. Among them your grandfather that used to wear European dress and used to buy the same kind of dress for your mother and your aunts and uncles. But what Reza Shah wanted was that we burn our traditional dress and wear European one, which many found it not modest and comfortable enough. The main problem was that he ordered women not to wear Chador (veil ), or have Heajab (covering of hair and face and whole body with dark colour dress ), this was not matter of taste or like, this was for many their religion, their chastity and principle. From then on soldiers were free to attack any women who had chador any where in the street and take their chadors.” She add: “for few days we didn’t dare to go out side, we heard stories of people, who had been beaten and arrested because of their cloths, even your grand father was against it and used to say: this is not dress which is matter, this is freedom, if one as human-being doesn’t have choice of his or her dress and principles, so what does one have?! It is the last droop of our freedom, it is not important if he takes us to heaven itself, if we can not have our freedom, there is no major difference between living in hell or heaven. Is like putting a bird, in wooden or golden cage, for that poor bird, both of them equally means captivity. Nobody dared to oppose him, and some surrounded themselves to what ever he was ordering us to do. In this respect your grand father was happy, as he didn’t have any more quarrel with me about dress of your mother and your aunts. I had to wear European dress too. He bought me European hat which I could have it instead of scarf, for few days I used to wear it at home to get used to it and then one day I went outside as far as closest street, as I was so ashamed, I returned home as quickly as possible. Gradually I got used to it, but I know many who couldn’t. So they never moved out of their houses. As matter of fact for some women what he did was not freedom, but more restriction. Many were ordered by their husbands or fathers not to go outside, and poor women were not able to see out side world for many years till Reza Shah left the country. You see dictators think they can do any thing and as matter of fact for a short time they do it, but whatever they do and gain is in the surface, they don’t see the depth of the problems, which they create. They create a huge fire for burning things, which they disapprove, then instead it burns every thing, good and evil, all the same. Reza Shah wanted to rule a European country, and he wanted to see all changes during his own lifetime, while many things, including traditions some times are thousand years old and nobody can change them in matter of days. After Reza shah, his son as in the beginning had to be a constitutional monarch, didn’t have any power. All power according to the constitution was in the hand of the prime minister and the cabinet and the parliament. He wanted became an absolute ruler, like his father. He thought by uniting with mullahs against intellectuals and ruling elite, he can gain the power. So he answered the mullahs’ call and abolished many of those laws, which according to mullahs were against our religion. After he gradually gained the absolute power, which he wanted to have, he thought he is powerful enough to restrict mullahs again. So what ever we see these days are consequences of that fire which was under ashes, this is reaction to what Reza shah did and thought every thing is finished and as we have European dress we have changed into European.”
What ever was my liberal minded grandparent’s view about Reza shah, my father’s one was totally different. He believed progress and independence are more important than any thing else. He used to say: “when one is hungry, he forget every thing, love, freedom, religion . . . and this is why British believed if they want to rule Iranian, they have to keep them hungry, they used to say: “keep Iranian hungry and Arabs full, they are not going to create any problem.” Because of progress which country had during Reza shah, my father was supporting Reza shah for what ever he did, even his actions against liberty and freedom that made the situation even worse than Qajar’s era. My father was employed in this new army of Reza Shah, with rank of captain and as his education was in economy and accountancy, he was transferred to financial department of army. He told me: “In those days every thing in the army was under close supervision of Reza shah himself, even slightest things could not be done without his approval, still army was full of thieves, and nobody cared for discipline, or training of army personnel. Once I got an order from Shah to go to the eastern division of the army, and see what is going on financially. As the commander of that division, General Khazaie, was asking for 250,000 Toman which he claimed has not been paid to the division in the past, I found this amount was wrong and the real amount was 100,000 Tomans, as you can see the situation was like that and easily one could claim twice of their expenses and it was very possible that they could get away with it. This was not all, I found although it was in the middle of the week many solider were on leave, but they were asking money for their food and other expenses. I found out, most of the time, instead of getting training and education, they let soldiers do what ever they wanted out of barrack. So they can steal the money, which was supposed to be spending for their expenses. I did some calculation and found out even for that short period which I was there, the stolen money was about 12,000 Tomans, which was allot of money. I wrote a report to the Shah and told him every thing, soon those people responsible of stealing were arrested. They admitted to their crime and told to the commission under my supervision that most part of the money was going for general Yazdan Panah. But I have to admit in this situations always punishments was for lower ranking personnel, so nothing happened to Yazdan Panah. As matter of fact some times later I was refereed to him for some job and I found out, he not only hasn’t lost any of his ranks but has gained one. He joked with me and told me: “you gave a report about me and as a result now I am one rank higher, if you give another one, I assure you, I will even be a rank higher.” As I was unlucky the same thing happened.”
Story was like this:”During those days Reza Shah wanted to get help from other countries and free us from total domination of the British. One choice was American, so Reza Shah wanted to give them right of extraction of oil in north of Iran, this was against British interest that had the same right for southern oil field of Iran. They wanted to destroy that deal between Iranian and American. Those days people used to make some kind of place with the fountain of fresh drinking water and a place which people could light candle, they used to call it SAGHA KHANEH and it was considered as holly place which later on people could go there and ask God for some thing and light the candle. One of this Sagha Khaneh was in a place called Sheikh Hadii, soon we heard a rumour that the water of that Sagha Khaneh has a magical power and who ever drinks from it, if he is blind he can see and if he is deaf he can hear. One day British consul asked American consul to go together to that Sagha Khaneh and see what is going on, on the other hand, it was arranged by the British through their supported mullahs that when they see American consul they shout that foreigners have come to pour poison in the water, and ask people to attack them. The same thing happened and of course British consul was vanished immediately, and left the American one alone with the mob. He was captured by the people and they wanted to kill him, unfortunately I was driving from there and I saw the event, so I got off the car and asked my driver to come with me to see what is happening. I saw American consul and his driver and saved them from the crowd, we took them to the car and as he was injured we took them to the police Hospital (Bimarastan Shaherbani ). After we left them over there I returned for dealing with the crowd. Later on I found that some body had showed people how to enter into the hospital and kill them. As a result progress of the relationship between Iran and United State was halted and American asked for punishment of the responsible of that murder. Government had to do some thing fast, they announced curfew in Teheran and a special military court was established to find responsible of the event, the main judge of the court was the same person who I found him guilty of stealing money, general Yazdan Panah, so it was clear what is going to happen in that court. Although I had to be thanked for what I did as it was not my responsibility and it was police responsibility, but court ruled that I did not do enough to save life of the consult and they took one of my rank, by that time I was Major. I complained to the Shah, and I think he himself knew what was going on but they wanted to show that they have punished every body, so he didn’t do any thing about it and it took me another ten years to reach to the same position. shah instead of that gave me grant to go to France and get some degree in the subjects, which we needed them in the army and I got degree in management and higher degree in economy. When I returned to Iran they asked me to go to the military school and become lecturer over there. One of my student over there was Valiahd (crown prince )Mohammed Reza Shah.”.
My father’s feeling was that by teaching he could change things, he believed the main reason of corruption is that people are not educated enough. So he translated and wrote different books for the army. By 1938 while he was 42 years old and had lost ten years of his life, he reached to the same rank of colonel, and became head of the accountancy department in second division of the army. Over there again he found that some thing is wrong with accountancy and while they are making some buildings for the army they are stealing money under pretext of expenses of the material for those buildings. When he reports that to the major general of that division, he insisted that my father is wrong. After my father could not agree with him, he become angry and start shouting and swearing to my father. My father said: “I was so angry as, I found out that the head of thieves is he himself. So I took the inkpot and throw it towards him, and left his office. I heard that he with that face went to the shah and complained about me. Although he was major general, but during Reza shah nobody was any body, every thing had to be dealt by shah himself and nobody was able to do any thing on his own, including my superior who was not able to do anything against me by himself. By the order of the Shah they took my rank as colonel and put me in jail. I knew that as I was guilty of attacking my superior, I might even be sentenced to execution, so through my brother I sent a letter to crown prince. As I was his teacher I told him the story. Later on I found out that after receiving my letter, he went to his father and persuade him to agree a tribunal re-examine the situation, the shah agreed and after few months they ruled that I was right and innocent. They gave me my ranks back and this time Shah agreed to my suggestion for establishment of the army co-operative. Of course nothing happened to my superior, I found out that Shah knew about every thing from start. Soon I had to accept that he himself is behind many miscarriages in the army and else where. I lost some of my incentives for working in the army, or government, but after all my concern was the end result. Although shah himself was thief, although he was a dictator, and absolute ruler, although he ordered execution of some good people, but we had progress, for the first time many children even from poor families could go to the school. Again for the first time people, not just elite of the society but every body, at least those who used to live in the cities could have electricity and clean running water, he introduced public transport, and build many factories, even with help of Germans he wanted to establish steel refinery which they say it’s parts was shipped from Germany but was sank by British, if we had that refinery then, perhaps our industry was as Japan by now. So after all I believed in him and wanted to work and do my share in building of the new Iran. But unfortunately big powers couldn’t see even this amount of progress for us and again we found ourselves in the middle of major quarrel of big powers.”
• He said: “During world war two Iran announced its neutrality. Although generally people were in favour of Germany but it was not our war, during those days there were few thousand Germans who used to work in Iran, mostly as archaeologist. According Hitler Ideology we were from the same race, Iranian and Germans both are from Aryan race, so many German historian and archaeologist were working in Iran for exploring the past history of Iran, glory of Aryan race. In this way Hitler could prove how advance we had been and what happened when our race mixed with Samii race namely Arabs which are from the same race as Jews. Hitler was looking at us as a natural partner, and for us he was a person that was helping to advance our industry, army, and so on. Also they were fighting against British and Russians that every body hated them and we could see them as the root of all problems. Perhaps if Reza Shah was stronger he could dare to make a coalition with Germany, but he knew we cannot stand against British or Soviet forces. So he announced our neutrality, but British were not satisfied with that, they had their own plan. They wanted to have some excuse and attack Iran and through our country help Soviets to fight against Germans, so they asked Reza shah for extradition of Germans who were working in Iran, and also for using our rail way for reaching from south of the country to the north (i.e. Soviet Union). Reza Shah couldn’t agree with these demands but any way the final stage was arranged in a way which even if he wanted to agree, there was no time to save the country from war and occupation, in matter of days suddenly according to BBC radio Reza Shah became a worst dictator the same as Hitler, murderer of Iranian people and some body who has rubbed the country. Well how ever people hated British but they didn’t have any sympathy for Reza Shah either. Reza Shah, was looking at people as his property, he used to think that he owns people, their wealth, their future and their family, all belonged to the Shah, even defending of the country was responsibility of the Shah’s army, and not people. So when British and Soviets from south and north of the country attacked us, people went to their home and waited to see what is going to happen to the war between Reza Shah and British. They used to say that British brought him for us and when they found he is not useful any more, they exiled him to South Africa and made his son as a King. After they send him to exile the leaders of Allied countries, Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin came to Teheran and decided about the future of the war. As they could use Iran as some kind of bridge for giving help to the Soviets, they called it the BRIDGE OF The VICTORY. After occupation of Iran by the Allied forces, every thing, which was made by Reza Shah, was vanished and we went back to the first step. Suddenly life become so miserable and difficult, greedy merchants were selling all produced goods in Iran not to Iranian, but to British soldiers and Russian and later on to American Who joined others, so we were on the edge of famine, later on most of the food was purchased and was sent to Russia for saving them from hunger and there was nobody to care about hungry people of Iran. People start eating roots and leaves of the trees and one could hear that the people have eaten even dog’s meat. Many poor families had to leave their children in the street because they couldn’t see them die from hunger, every thing was in the service of occupier of the country. Our beloved railway, our roads as well as our wealth, our oil, all were for foreigners. Although we were first producer of oil, that winter many people died because of cold and in many cities people used to cut all trees to make themselves warm.” After the occupation of our country my father the same as many other army personnel left the army and started working for himself.
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