1041 GMT January 17, 2022
“Those of our soldiers who were martyred or disabled were not just trying to defend the geographical borders of the country. They were also struggling to defend the borders of belief, morality, religion and culture and those of spirituality,” the Leader said in a speech delivered on November 21, 2021, in a meeting with the officials in charge of holding the commemoration ceremony of the Martyrs of Ilam in western Iran.
Ayatollah Khamenei’s statements in this meeting were broadcast on Thursday at the site of the commemoration ceremony.
Excerpts of the speech, according to khamenei.ir, follow:
In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful
During the eight-year (1980-88) Sacred Defense, Ilam was like a strong fortress. Although some cities of the province were lost for a short period of time – some areas of the province were occupied by the vicious Munafiqeen (Mujahedin-e-Khalq) – the province stood firm like a mountain, similar to the Meimak Summit which I stood on and where I witnessed the magnificent work done by our dear soldiers. The province of Ilam stood up to the vicious enemy, Saddam and his collaborators, just like that summit.
First of all, the province was attacked sooner than other provinces, as mentioned by the gentlemen in this meeting. The enemy attacked Ilam before it officially attacked Tehran and other parts of the country.
Later on, too, some unique events took place in Ilam. Unfortunately, our own people are not aware of these events, let alone other nations which are interested in knowing about the incidents and events that have taken place in our country. One of those events was the bombardment of a soccer match where children were playing soccer in the year 1987.
It is necessary for these events to be made known to people on a global level. They should be repeatedly mentioned here and there because this is the message of the innocence of our athletic martyrs whose only crime was that they had organized a soccer match for the Islamic Republic.
The same people who used to support that bloodthirsty wolf on that day are claiming to be advocates of human rights today! They describe themselves as the guardians of human rights throughout the whole world. There is so much brazenness and shamelessness in the actions of these powers. Our artists and our writers have a heavy load on their shoulders. These things should be presented to the world using art as the medium. They should make films about these events. In the case of the massacre at the soccer match, they should write stories, make films and compose memoirs.
At that time, those who could fight were present in the field and the masses of the people helped in the resistance. One of the gentlemen in the meeting stated that the people did not leave the city and stood firm.
It was during the time of those bombardments and in that difficult situation that a genius, namely, Martyr Rezaeinejad, grew up. Rezaeinejad was a nuclear scientist who was martyred. His scientific significance was so immense that the enemy felt his existence would help the Islamic Republic progress, and so they assassinated him. They martyred him in front of his wife and small daughter. In other words, the pressures brought by the enemy and the war could not stop the people of this province from showing their talents.
We should understand the concept of martyrdom correctly because martyrdom does not mean merely being a victim of the war.
Those of our soldiers who were martyred or disabled were not just trying to defend the geographical borders of the country. They were also struggling to defend the borders of belief, morality, religion, culture and the spiritual borders.
Our soldiers would take some of the enemy captive. This was the same enemy who would torture and harass our captives from the time they took them captive up until the time they entered the camp where they were to be kept. And it is clear what they did to them in those camps. But if our soldiers took those same people captive, they would heal them if they were injured and they would give them water if they were thirsty. They would treat them as if they were one of themselves. So, these are very important points.
The Islamic lifestyle seen in the behavior of our soldiers and our martyrs is too important to be disregarded. There are so many inspirational points to be seen in the lives of our martyrs that our artists should truly portray an artistic picture of this for the whole world. They should introduce the Iranian soldiers to the world. They should place our soldiers in front of the eyes of the people throughout the world with their great artistic works.
Well, the commemoration ceremony that you have organized should open our ears to the message of the martyrs. They tell us, “[The martyrs are] rejoicing for those who have not yet joined them from [those left] behind them that they will have no fear, nor will they grieve.” (Holy Qur’an, 3:170) This path is one that is free from any fear, worry and concern because it is the path to God.
We should be steadfast on this path and move with strength. We should not falter on this path with the temptations of the enemies. The Iranian nation should increase its unity, solidarity, motivation and efforts when it hears the martyrs’ message. When hearing the message of the martyrs, the officials of the Islamic Republic should feel more responsible toward society and ensure security in the way the martyrs did.