Imam Khamenei

We should make and export movies to introduce our heroes

The following is the full text of a speech delivered on September 26, 2018, by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, during a gathering that entailed the recounting of memories from the Sacred Defense Era. The gathering took place in the Imam Khomeini Hussainiyah.


In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

It is 9:50 p.m... --This means that we have surpassed our time frame – which was quite a while ago. Forget about me; some of you are probably tired; we cannot take more of your time [at this point, participants ask the Supreme Leader to share his Sacred Defense memories]. Of course, I have some memories, but my memories are not very important. The important memories are that of yours, the soldiers because they are truly valuable, and I have written down some points to discuss with you with regards to this belief. Later on, if there is any energy left in me, I might recount a memory.

First of all, I feel it is necessary to thank the people who have raised this flag (Flag of Sacred Defense era and the Islamic Republic of Iran). 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 certainly great. What Mr. Sarhangi said is completely correct. --This is a kind of guarding borders with a great degree of significance.

How many memories can we count? How many events do we have? Iran 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 treasure chests have been buried under 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 down their own memoirs or those who think of collecting 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 among 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—out of this crazy, wild, and oppressive world which knows nothing about spirituality and justice. How did you manage to create this image? It is because you faced circumstances when our people could not even import barbed wires! I say this based on my own experience, and this was the situation in all reality. We wanted to import some barbed wires, but the dealers would not sell it to us. Besides, the country which should have allowed the barbed wire to pass through its borders would not cooperate with us. It would not allow us to import barbed wire.

We were on one side and the other side had the most up-to-date weapons at its disposable: it had them in abundance. The 92nd Army of Ahvaz 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 to – the brigade that was based in Ahvaz – had fewer than 20 tanks. However, whenever the tanks from the enemy’s side got stuck on the road, they would send in bulldozers to transport the tanks to the other side to clear 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 weapons were available to them.

They even received the green light to use chemical weapons. Notice the fuss that Europeans and Americans have thrown for the alleged use of chemical weapons [in Syria]. Notice the uproar they create and how shamelessly they behave! In those days, Saddam’s regime had permission to use chemical weapons, and not only on the frontlines but also inside the cities! Sardasht is still suffering from the consequences of those chemical attacks. Suburban areas of Sardasht continue to suffer from chemical exposure. Take note of such conditions in the world during those days. --This showed what was happening in the world. It showed the division and equation of power in the world. This bit of reality was recorded by the war, by the Sacred Defense, by those eight years, and by the selfless sacrifices of our soldiers!

It was France, Germany, and other countries -- not to mention some others -- which were helping Saddam. The Soviet Union during those days was playing its part in another way. Furthermore, not only were we under an economic and political siege, but we were also under a severe propaganda siege. In other words, we could not make our voice heard anywhere. World media was exclusively in the clutches of 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 get our voice heard. We were in such a trying situation.

Well, my question is, why should the people of Germany and France not come to know what their governments did to another nation, namely the Iranian nation, in the course of those eight years? Why should they not know about this? To this day, they do not know what happened, and this is due to 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 the result of our negligence, and we should work harder in 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 to this day. 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 a recent film by Mr. Hatami-Kia about Syria. It was given a good reception wherever it was screened. Why should it not 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 whom 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 about the Sacred Defense or on the Revolution. They display them with “wows” and “well-done,” but have they even shown one single movie on the Sacred Defense? Why not? 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 throughout the world. They are afraid. So, this is an efficient weapon. This (bringing to light the realities of the Iranian Sacred Defense around the world) 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 than those who have passed away. Allah the Exalted has preserved them as a provision. God is not finished with these heroes yet. Many heroes are in this position. These personalities (also known as living martyrs) should be introduced. The world should become familiar with these personalities. The world should understand and come to know about their greatness.

A translation movement on well-written works should be launched: a translation movement on good literature. Fortunately, we are not short of well-written literature. I would like to read – and I’ll do so – within the time I have. Many great literary works have been produced, and there is more room for some to be translated: it would be great to translate all the works that have been produced up to this day. When I say we should launch a Translation Movement, I do not mean translating works produced outside of the country, rather I mean translating from within and to the outside -- in order to present what already exists. You should let others know what happened in Abadan, in Khorramshahr, in the 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 [prior to that] we did not really know what had happened in our villages affected by the war.

I have said this several 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 allow people around the world to learn about them. They should be translated into Arabic, English, French, Urdu and other living languages of the world. You should let hundreds of millions of people come to 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 collect and increase the assets 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 in 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 a 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 children 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 is 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 is 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 realize 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 the martyrs’ voices. --This will wipe off our sadness and fear, and it will bring us happiness, courage, and action.

You should follow this task seriously. 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 act 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 carried out today in the area of war literature, Sacred Defense literature, 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 Front of 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 across 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 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 a.m… 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 to give a speech in a factory. I was sitting inside a room, waiting to give my speech. One could see a view of the airport through the window. I heard some noise, and I realized that the planes had arrived. 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 H.Q…--Everyone had gathered there. The late Shahid Rajai, Shahid Beheshti, and Mr. Bani Sadr were present there. Everyone was there. We went there to discuss what we should do. They said – I suggested as well – 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.

Thus, I suggested that we issue a public announcement. This happened at 2, 3 p.m. – just before Imam (Khomeini, may God bestow paradise on him) issued his message. So, they asked me to write the announcement. I went somewhere and wrote something. Later, it was broadcasted 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 or two hours, but we were mostly there day and night.

They used to call from Dezful, Ahvaz and other cities expressing their problems: lack of forces, ammunition 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 (Khomeini’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 relayed 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 could 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 two can go.” Then, I turned to Mr. Chamran and said, “Come on, what are you waiting for? Let’s go.” We went out and it was afternoon. My intention was to move at once, but he said that we should wait until the afternoon. I was alone, and I had not planned to take others with me, but he had company.

Later on, I saw that about 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’s wait until the afternoon and let’s go to Ahvaz instead of Dezful. Ahvaz is better than Dezful for the purpose.” I agreed with his suggestion. Well, he was more skilled and better trained, I agreed with him.

I went home and said goodbye. I had about seven bodyguards. 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 having bodyguards there 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 to. 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 Ahvaz. Ahvaz was completely dark. I have noticed that some people, who write novels and other pieces about the frontlines, have written things which are completely untrue. Well, I saw Ahvaz 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, Ahvaz 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 turba and robe aside, and they gave us a set of loose-fitting, ill-fitting uniforms, and we headed out at night. That was while I had not received military training beforehand, and I did not have good weapons. No one would go hunt tanks with a 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 upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings



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