Imam Khamenei

We should make and export movies to introduce our heroes

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on September 26, 2018 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, at a gathering recounting the memories of the Sacred Defense Era. The meeting was held in Imam Khomeini Hussainiyah

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

It is 9:50. This means that we are past the time we had – which was a quite long time. Forget about me, but some of you are probably tired and we cannot take your time [at this point, the participants ask the Supreme Leader to narrate Sacred Defense memories]. Of course, there are some memories, but my memories are not very important. The important thing is the memories of you soldiers because they are really valuable and I have written down some points to discuss with you in this regard. Later on, if there is any energy left, I might recount a memory.

First of all, I deem it necessary to thank the people who have raised this flag. I sincerely thank – from the bottom of my heart – those who have kept alive memorial nights, writing memories and the process of reviving the Sacred Defense events. I am truly thankful to them. Their work is really great. What Mr. Sarhangi said is completely correct. This is a kind of guarding borders with a great degree of significance.

How many memories do we have? How many events do we have? We had several hundred thousand soldiers, each of whom is a gallery of memories. Each of them had a number of friends, comrades, family members – parents, spouses and children – and each and every one of those individuals is a chest full of memories about those soldiers. Unfortunately, some of these chests have been buried in the past 30, 30-plus years and they are not available to us. What a pity, what a pity!

Those who think about – whether in the present time or those who did so in the past – writing their memoirs or those who think of writing down the memoirs of soldiers’ parents and spouses are in fact preventing an important and detrimental loss. They are preventing them from being wasted. They are reviving these valuable and irreplaceable treasures. They are national assets. Both the individuals – those who have survived: disabled war veterans, former prisoners of war, former soldiers and other such individuals – and their memories are national assets.

Well, the Sacred Defense has different aspects to it. One aspect is that it depicts the equations of power in the world of imperialism – the world of the dominator and the dominated. The Sacred Defense is this. In the course of those eight years, you and other soldiers managed to create and establish an image of your world – this crazy, wild and oppressive world which knows nothing about spirituality and justice. How did you manage to create this image? This is because you were in circumstances when our side could not even import barbed wire! I am saying this based on my information and this is how things were in reality. We wanted to bring in barbed war, but the sellers would not sell it to us. Besides, the country which should have allowed barbed wire to pass through its borders would not cooperate with us. It would not allow us to import it.

We were on one side and the other side had the most up-to-date weapons at its disposable and it had an abundance of them. The 92nd Army of Ahwaz had fewer than 20 tanks! This was actually one seventh, one eighth of the requirements. The brigade should have had more than 40 tanks. The army that we saw – the brigade that was based in Ahwaz – had fewer than 20 tanks. However, whenever the tanks of the other side got stuck on the road, they would send his bulldozers to transport the tanks to the other side of the road to open the path. They did not care about such small problems. They could have whatever they wanted. They had ground, air and sea resources at their disposal and all sorts of ammunitions were available to them.

They even had the permission to use chemical weapons. Notice what fuss the Europeans and the Americans kick up for the alleged use of chemical weapons. Notice what uproar they create and how shamelessly they behave! In that day, Saddam’s regime had the permission to use chemical weapons and not only in the frontlines, but also inside cities! Sardasht is still suffering from the consequences of that. The suburban areas of Sardasht are still suffering from chemical exposure. Notice that this was the condition of the world in those days. This showed what was happening in the world. It showed the division and equation of power in the world. This was recorded by the war, by the Sacred Defense, by those eight years and by the self-sacrifices of our soldiers.

It was France, Germany and other countries, not to mention some others, which were helping Saddam. The Soviet Union of those days was playing its part in another way. Besides, not only were we under an economic and political siege, but we were also under a severe propaganda siege as well. In other words, we could not make our voice heard anywhere. The world media were exclusively in the clutches of the Zionists. They were at the disposal of those who were enemies, not in the sense that they were advocates of Saddam, but in the sense that they were the enemies of the Islamic government. They would say whatever they could against us and we were not able to make our voice heard. We were in such a situation.

Well, my question is: why should the people of Germany and France not know what their governments did to a nation, namely the Iranian nation, in the course of those eight years? Why should they not know? In the present time, they do not know what happened and this is our negligence. In the present time, the world does not clearly see the image of the scandalous system of domination that was created. Why? This is our negligence and we should work on this area.

In our literature, cinema, theater, television, journalism and cyberspace, we should do many things about the Sacred Defense that we have failed to do until today. Whenever, we did something and did it in a committed way, it proved to be influential even if it was not extensive and small in scope. An example is the recent film by Mr. Hatami-Kia about Syria. It was given a good reception wherever it was screened. Why should not it be screened in Europe? Why should it not be screened in Asian countries? Why should the people of Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and India not know what happened in this region and who we were facing? And this is just related to recent events. The Sacred Defense events were much deeper and much more significant and extensive.

In western film festivals, they display some Iranian movies: movies which are much lower in quality than many movies which are made on Sacred Defense or on the Revolution. They display them with “wows” and “well-dones”, but they do not even show one single movie on the Sacred Defense? Why? It is clear that they are afraid. They are afraid that this revealing image might be conveyed to the people all over the world and that it might influence public opinion in the world. They are afraid. So, this is an efficient weapon. This is a great possibility at our disposal. Why are we not utilizing this possibility?

Well, we should get down to work. We should make films about our heroes. We have certain heroes: Hemmat is a hero, Bakeri is a hero, officials and commanders are heroes. And some of these heroes are still living. It is not the case that the sincerity and endeavors of those who are living are less significant that those who have passed away. This is not the case. Allah the Exalted has preserved them as a provision. God is not finished with them yet. Many of them are like this. These personalities should be introduced. The world should become familiar with these personalities. It should understand and know about their greatness.

 A translation movement on good written works should be launched: a translation movement on good works. Fortunately, we are not short of good written works. I would like to read – and I do so – within the time that that I have. Many good works have been produced and there is really room for them to be translated: then ones that have been produced until today. We should launch a translation movement: I do not mean translating works produced outside, rather I mean translating into the outside in order to present what already exists. You should let them know what happened in Abadan, in Khorramshahr, in many battles and in our villages. I have written a commentary on the biography of the lady from Kermanshah – Farangis [Farangis Heidarpour, authored by Mahnaz Fattahi]. In that commentary, I wrote that we did not really know what had happened in our villages affected by the war.

I have said this many times: this picture is a beautiful picture, but we have seen it at a distance. The closer we get to it, the more we see its subtleties, the more impressed we will become. These events have been written down. You should let the people in the world know about them. They should be translated into Arabic, English, French, Urdu and other living languages in the world. You should let hundreds of millions of people know what has happened in this region, what we have to say about it and who the people of Iran are.

These are the icons of the Iranian nation. The movement of translating books and exporting good movies should be launched. The Ministry of Islamic Guidance, the Organization of Culture and Communications and the IRIB are responsible in this regard. The same is true of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and various other organizations.

Today, if you do not turn to collecting and increasing the asset of war memories, the enemy will take over. This is a danger, I am telling you. The war should be narrated by you who were present at the war. If you do not narrate it, your enemy will narrate it and he will do it the way he wants! And they will take advantage of some weak points. Of course, every military and non-military move might have some weaknesses and this is definitely the case, but they will take advantage of them and they will fabricate it the way they want. We should feel very responsible in this regard. We should work on it to a great extent.

In narrating the Sacred Defense, the spirit and grandeur of this message of defense must show itself. In general, this Sacred Defense has a united spirit, language and message. This should be reflected. That message and spirit is the spirit of faith, of self-sacrifice, of love, of jihad and of the invincibility of a nation whose teenagers – just like its youth, middle-aged people and elderly – go and fight in the arena with enthusiasm and excitement. This is very important. At a time when ordinary youth in the materialistic world used to satiate their excitement in other ways, our sixteen, seventeen-year-old youths would join the front lines, quenching their youthful excitement by engaging in jihad in the way of God. These are very important points. These are very valuable.

Of course, war is a difficult thing. It is a bitter thing. Some of the friends in this meeting also pointed out that war is bitter, but the Quran derives the message of elation, greatness and enthusiasm from this bitter incident. Notice that in the eyes of all – of most – people in the world, being killed and departing this world is a loss. It is a loss, but what does the Quran say? “And with regard to those left behind, who have not yet joined them in their bliss, the martyrs glory in the fact that on them is no fear, nor have they cause to grieve” [The Holy Quran, 3: 170].

It derives a message of happiness from being killed, from dying, from passing through this world and being deprived of it and it gives promises to those who have been martyred: “And with regard to those left behind, who have not yet joined them in their bliss, the martyrs glory in the fact that on them is no fear, nor have they cause to grieve.”

My dear ones, dear brothers, dear sisters, you should know that if we get the message of martyrs today, it will take fear and sadness away from us. Those who are afraid, those who are sad do not receive and listen to this message. Otherwise, if we hear the voice of martyrs, our fear and sadness will disappear in the shade of martyrs’ voice. This will wipe off our sadness and fear and it will bring us happiness, courage and action.

You should follow this task in a serious way. The officials in charge of artistic affairs, the Ministry of Islamic Guidance and various other organizations should do so. I have seen some organizations in various cities take action in this regard. Just recently, I read a book from Qazvin. I also read a book from Mashhad and another from Shahinshahr by Mr. Boluri. Everyone – people, youth, those who are motivated and those who love these tasks – from throughout the country can enter, and they have entered, this arena and they can work on various issues.

You should increase this a hundred times. When I say a hundred times, I am not a person who is interested in exaggerating. What is being done today in the area of war literature, Sacred Defense literate and other artistic and literary works on Sacred Defense should increase a hundred times in the true sense of the word. If this is done, then we can feel successful in this area.

I hope that by Allah’s favor, we can foil the comprehensive plot of arrogance in this way. From the first day, the plan of arrogance has been to uproot and rip up the sapling which had grown in the land of spirituality and which was yielding promising fruits and they were trying to do this in a world where all global materialists, all those who were drowned in the quagmire of materialism, all Zionists and everyone else had joined hands to create a purely materialistic world which would drift away from spirituality on a daily basis. The entire arrogance was trying to do this.

In the first days, they would think that it would be easy to do so. And when they made Saddam attack the Islamic Republic, they were cherishing the same hope. However, they were slapped in the face and they retreated, but they are trying anyway. We can foil this plot with our determination, our reliance on God and our trust in divine grace, as we have done so until today. By Allah’s favor, we will continue to completely foil this plot from now on too. One of the ways to do so is for you to keep the issues of the Sacred Defense alive.

Well, it is 10: 05. What memory should I recount? I would like to recount a memory about the beginning of the war. When the war broke out – in the very first hour – I was somewhere close to the airport. I had a speech in a factory. I was sitting inside a room, waiting for my speech. One could see a view of the airport through the window. I heard a noise and I realized that the planes had come. In the beginning, I did not realize what the noise was. Later on, they said that it was an attack on the airport. I went to the meeting where laborers were waiting for me to go and deliver my speech. I spoke for as long as four, five minutes and I said that I have to go because there is an attack on us.

I went to the Joint Staff. Everyone had gathered there. The late Shahid Rajai, Shahid Beheshti and Mr. Bani Sadr were present there. Everyone was there. We went there trying to discuss what we should do. They said – I myself suggested – that we should speak to the people because the people did not know what had happened. And we were not aware of the dimensions of the attack exactly. We did not know how many cities they had struck. We only knew that they had struck other cities as well as Tehran.

I suggested that we should issue a public announcement. This happened at 2, 3 p.m. – just before Imam (may God bestow paradise on him) issued his message. They asked me to write the announcement. I went somewhere and wrote something. Later, it was broadcast on TV with my voice. This should naturally be available in the archives of the IRIB. We used to attend those meetings for a few days – four, five, six days approximately. I did not go home most of the time. Sometimes, I would go home for one, two hours, but we were mostly there day and night.

They used to call from Dezful, Ahwaz and other cities expressing their problems: lack of forces, ammunitions and resources. When there was talk of forces, it occurred to me that there was something I could do: going to Dezful, issuing public announcements here and there and asking youth to join. Something like this crossed my mind. Well, it was necessary to obtain Imam’s permission. I could not go there without his permission. So, I went to Jamaran. I thought that he would probably disagree. This was because Imam was sometimes hesitant about such courses of action – trips and other such issues. I relay my intentions to Hajj Ahmad and asked him to help me gain his permission for joining the frontlines when I make my request. Hajj Ahmad accepted.

We went inside the room. I saw a number of people there. The late Chamran was sitting there. I said to Imam that I would be more useful if I would go to the war zone rather than staying there. I asked him to give his blessing. Imam said without any hesitation, “Yes, yes, you can go.” I thought that his answer would be a no, but without any hesitation, he said that I could go. When he said that I could go – and I became very happy at that – the late Chamran said, “Agha, let me go as well.” Imam replied, “You too can go.” Then, I turned to Mr. Chamran and said, “Come on, what are you waiting for? Let us go.” We went out and it was afternoon. My intention was to move at once, but he said that we should wait until afternoon. I was alone and I had not planned to take others with me, but he had company.

Later on, I saw that about 60, 70 people had accompanied him. They had worked and trained with him and he wanted to bring them with him. So, he had to collect them. He said to me, “Let us wait until afternoon and let us go to Ahwaz instead of Dezful. Ahwaz is better than Dezful for the purpose.” I agreed with his suggestion. Well, he was more skilled, more trained I agreed with him.

I went home and said goodbye. I had about six, seven body guards. I said to them, “You are dismissed because I am going to war. You are with me to prevent others from killing me, but I am entering the arena of war and there, having bodyguards makes no sense.” Those poor individuals began to cry and they said that they would not leave me alone. I said that I would not take them with me. They answered, “Very well, do not take us as bodyguards. Take us with you as comrades. Let us come because we would like to go to the frontline. Take us like this.” I agreed. They accompanied me to the area that we went. They were with me until the end.

We set off in the afternoon with the late Chamran. We got into a C-130 and headed to Ahwaz. Ahwaz was completely dark. I have seen that some people, who write novels and other writings about the frontlines, have written things which are completely untrue. Well, I saw Ahwaz up close on the first days of the war and I stayed there for a while. Those honorable non-revolutionary novelists wanted to prepare a report about the war and they wanted to write something. However, what they have written is completely untrue. What they have written about other cities are untrue as well. One of them has written about the events in Tehran. That is untrue as well. In fact, they did not want to reflect the issues correctly. Our own writers and novelists should enter the arena and write these things. If we do not write, others will write it differently.   

Well, Ahwaz was dark. We went to the 92nd Army in darkness and after that, we went to the governor general’s office and we stayed there. On the first day when we arrived there, the late Chamran gathered his people and said that he would carry out an operation. We said, “What operation?” He said that they would be hunting tanks!

 I too had a Kalashnikov. It was mine. I had a personal Kalashnikov which I had carried with me. I said, “Can I come too?” He said, “Yes, why not? You can come as well.” So, I put my turban and robe aside and they gave us a set of loose-fitting, ill-fitting uniform and we headed out at night. That was while I had not gotten military training beforehand and I did not have good weapons. No one would go hunt tanks with Kalashnikov! Of course, they did not have RPGs and other such weapons either, they too had come with such weapons. We went there, we did not hunt tanks and we returned [Supreme Leader and audience laugh].

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings



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