Unsung Melodies

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I did not know anything about Mahmoud Aminpour. Just as many others. Through a friend, Hosein Valizadeh, a colonel of IRGC, I made the acquaintance of Mr. Aminpour. He is a father of four children. A short man with a frail body, having suffered from the hands of time, but he still keeps his head high and is full of hope.
Aminpour was born in 1964 as the firstborn son of his family. After finishing his military service, he volunteered to join the 4th Karbala and 5th Karbala Operations. He was taken captive in an Iraqi counter attack on July 5th, 1988 in between Changooleh and Mehran. After his release from captivity, he was employed in the Department of Justice in Ardabil and is currently retired, living with his family, contemplating the days he spent as a young man.
I made an appointment to hear his story. The first draft of the memoir did not exceed more than sixty to seventy pages. I did not push for more details because of his physical condition and the sickness inflicted on his body from the days of captivity and war. Oftentimes, he would come with medicine in his hands and sit beside me to open the forgotten chest of his life story. The stories we simply do not pay enough heed to in our daily life.
I sent the first draft of his memoir to Mr. Sarhangi. He suggested that it would be better to attain more information and complete it. This time I called Mr. Aminpour to see him again. He gave me an address. When I got to the location, I saw him putting bricks upon bricks, regardless of his ill condition. “What are you doing, Mr. Aminpour?” I asked him. He wiped the sweat from his forehead and responded with a smile, “I am building a bakery. We were hungry all the time in Iraq… I don’t want my children to ask for any favors to get some bread. Our neighbors won’t have to commute a long distance to get their bread either.”
There were so many hidden messages behind these simple words. One of his children brought us tea. We sat there right between the bricks and the dirt and had a glass of tea in remembrance of the days he would do construction work alongside his cousin, Bakhtiyar. I set another appointment for the following day. From that point forward, our meetings would last at least two hours, and he would try to dig deeper into his mind, unveiling forgotten bitter truths of his journey. Unsung Melodies is the result of seventeen hours of conversations documented word by word, sentence by sentence, in this book.
Aminpour’s memoir does not include pictures and is printed with a single photo from his youth, and this saddens me deeply because it reminds me of what he said. One day, after he read the final version, I told him that it is common to share a few pictures of the old days at the end of the book; he responded, “Back in those days when everyone loved me, they would share my pictures amongst each other to keep me in their memories. They were all proud of being my friends and my neighbors. Now that I have asked them to return the pictures or give me a copy, they all gave me some excuses in return. The truth is that they have lost those pictures and forgotten about me for quite some time now. That’s how we humans are; we forget about everything… I had almost started to believe that everybody had forgotten about me until you called and said that you wanted to talk to me about my life story, to hear about those days and write about them.”
Mahmoud Aminpour’s name is among the official veterans’ list with disabilities of twenty-five percent. The aforementioned was a piece of the memoir I wrote, dedicated to Mr. Mahmoud Aminpour. When the book was ready for its final editing before being published, Mahmoud had already departed this world. After suffering for many years from the wounds inflicted upon him during the war and captivity, and the illnesses that followed, he departed from this world to join his martyr friends in heaven, before his memoir was published. Since this book was officially planned to be published in October 2007, when Mahmoud was alive, I decided to keep the tense throughout the book as they were, as though he is still among us.


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