Hossein Fahmideh was a 13-year-old Iranian who—at a time when Saddam’s forces attacked Iran in 1980—knew of no other option, but to block the enemy tanks from entering the city of Khurramshahr by wearing a grenade belt, while blocking their path. Saddam’s forces overtook the young boy. With this shocking brave move, he blocked the tanks and turned himself into a great hero among Iranians.
For the martyrdom anniversary of Hossein Fahmideh, review the following to become more familiar with this Iranian teenage martyr:
In September 1980, Iraq initiated the invasion of Iran via air and land, sending five armoured and mechanized divisions across the Shatt al-Arab (Arvand Rud) waterway to invade the oil-rich Khuzestan Province in southern Iran, quickly seizing several towns in the area, and, on November 10, attacked the city of Khorramshahr.
According to his official biography, Fahmideh was a 13-year-old boy from Qom who, at the outbreak of war in 1980, left his home without his parents knowing to go to southern Iran and aid in the defense of Khorramshahr, the front line of the war.
In the besieged city of Khorramshahr, he fought side-by-side with older Iranian soldiers. Fahmideh was among the Iranians who engaged in fierce house-to-house battles in which thousands of Iraqis and Iranians were killed.
At one point, Iraqi forces pushed the Iranian troops back as they were passing through a very narrow canal. Due to a lack of RPG rockets and the sensitive formation of the Iraqi tanks, Fahmideh, seeing that his older comrades were already dead or wounded, wrapped himself in a grenade belt from a nearby body, pulled the pins out, and jumped underneath an advancing Iraqi tank, killing himself and disabling the tank.
This led the Iraqi tank column to believe that the Iranians had mined the area, ceasing their advance. Later, Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran broadcast a breaking news story describing the incident.
His story inspired many Iranians during the war to risk death to save their young republic and has been heralded by leaders in Iran from Ayatollah Khomeini to President Mohammad Khatami. Ayatollah Khomeini declared Fahmideh an Iranian national hero, and made references to him in several of his speeches:
‘Our leader is that 13-years-old child who threw himself with his little heart against the enemy. He is worth more than a hundred pens and a hundred tongues.’
Fahmideh is buried in Behesht-e Zahra cemetery in Tehran. A monument to him was erected on the outskirts of Tehran and has become a place of pilgrimage for young Iranians.
In the years following Hossein’s death, murals have been erected throughout Iran, book bags displaying Hossein were sold to children, and, in 1986, a postage stamp was issued in his memory.
Streets, hospitals, schools, and a sports stadium have been named in his honor.The day of his death, October 30, marks the “Student Basij Day” in the official calendar of Iran.
Fahmideh was posthumously awarded the 1st grade Fath Medal on September 27, 1989 after the Iran–Iraq War, becoming its first recipient.
Khamenei.ir has presented selections from speeches that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei made about Fahmideh:
A young man who once fought for the sake of God in Bosnia, told me that when young Bosnian men saw an image of the Martyr Hossein Fahmideh—the sacrificing 13-year-old boy–on Iranian currency, they realized he was wearing a headband.
They asked, “What is it for?” I replied, “This is a symbol used by our mobilized forces (Basijis) who wore headbands in the battle field, fighting for the sake of God.”
Then the young, Bosnian, Muslim men stood in rows, tore their shirts into pieces and brought them to us, asking us, “Please write the same exact sentence from his headband, on our pieces of clothing.”
We wrote it for them and they wore them around their foreheads; such actions echoed the message of “Allah Akbar” (God is the Greatest) throughout Europe. The entire world fought against them. Last year, it was said that the Bosnians would soon be defeated, but this year you can see that the Bosnians are progressing. This is what fighting while having faith in God brings about.
Wikipedia and Khamenei.ir contributed to this report