Paveh: proud as the mountains of Houraman (Part I)
Paveh is located in the west of Iran and is 112 km far from Kermanshah and lies in a sub-region along the Iran-Iraq border commonly referred to as Hewraman situated within the larger geographical region of Kurdistan. The city is considered by inhabitants of the region as the capital of the Hewraman. The inhabitants of Paveh are mostly Kurds that speak Auramani.
We arrive at Paveh after having followed a long route of 620 kilometers from Tehran. There are a dozen buses, all full of students come to visit this charming city in the west of Iran, in the province of Kermanshah, just 40 kilometers from the Iraqi border. The coaches stop at the foot of a wide staircase that leads to the Memorial of Martyrs standing on a hill. These students are there as part of the Rahiyan-e Nour program. Very popular in Iran, it refers to an annual program, applauded by the state media, which aims to introduce the younger generations of Iran to places and events related to the war against Iran in the 1980s. the front was mainly in the west and south-west of Iran, the border provinces of these regions are largely covered by this program. We visit the sites that were the scene of military operations. The spaces have since been developed and are secured due to the presence of anti-personnel mines. The narrators, veterans, tell a story that merges with their story. For our team (or our "caravan", according to the expression used), it was a man of almost 50 years named Hajj Hossein Yekta, with a caressing and sad voice and a warm look and penetrating, even through his ocular prosthesis replacing his lost eye on the battlefield. Each edition of Rahiyan-e Nour often ends with the elegies of a preacher who evokes a scene of mourning and lamentation, inspired by stories of Shiite history paralleled by contemporary events. The ultimate goal of this program is to honor the martyrs of the imposed war and to celebrate the Shia myth of martyrdom in general. But that day, our destination was a little different. The memorial of which this text speaks shelters the graves of a group of Guardians of the Islamic revolution fallen in martyrdom during the siege of Paveh in August 1979.
The full description of this historical event goes beyond the limited scope of this article, but let us briefly recall that almost six months after the Islamic Revolution, the city of Paveh was besieged for eight days by more than 8,000 heavily armed members of a radical and rebellious party. anti-Islamic fueled logistically and financially by foreign intelligence services, Soviet and Western. The crimes committed by these militias against Kurdish and non-Kurdish civilians, men and women, particularly at the Papeh Hospital, were particularly brutal. Many testimonies and photos about these persecutions and rapes are available on the Internet and in public archives. In the face of this unprecedented savagery, a division of about 250 members of the Revolutionary Guards Corps and local volunteers, brilliantly commanded by the military genius Shahid Mostafa Chamran, PhD in plasma physics and a graduate of the Texas and Berkeley Universities, formerly researcher at NASA and cofounder of the Lebanese movement Amal with Imam Moussa Sadr, showed a spirit of sacrifice that so marked the memory of the inhabitants of Paveh that many newborns were after that named Chamran. The story of this heroic resistance is so well known in Iran that Errahim Hatami Kia, the great Iranian director, directed in 2014, the film Che staging these difficult moments of Shahid Chamran as well as the other commander Shahid Ali Asghar Vessali, the leader of a guerrilla group dubbed "red handkerchiefs".
In spite of this heroism, at the end of these eight days of resistance, the city had almost fallen into the hands of the terrorists, with the exception of the gendarmerie building which served as the last stronghold for the resistance fighters. But suddenly, the historical message of Imam Khomeini about the importance of Paveh encouraged the fighters and frightened the enemies so much that thereafter, even before the arrival of the reinforcing forces, a simple team of some Guardians of the Revolution remained alive to defeat a few thousand men belonging to the rebel militias. From that date, the epic release of Paveh became a symbol of the patriotic attachment of Huraman's inhabitants to Islamic Iran. The great Iranian authorities, including the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution himself, visited the Paveh Memorial to celebrate the courage, faith and patriotism of the Houraman Martyrs.
38 years later we are here. It is a hill that dominates the city and its surroundings. The mountains of Huraman surround us. We have a beautiful view of the city of Paveh, nestled in a valley on the slope of the mountain Shaho. The name of this mountain means "Mount Royal" or "King's Seat", according to the local language. Its highest peak is 3390 meters high (the highest in Kermanshah province). The other known summit is called Atash-Gah, which means "the place of fire" and is reputed to be the site of an ancient fire temple of the Sassanid era. The green mountains of Paveh are located on the western slopes of the Zagros mountains. Houraman's oak forests are one of the natural wonders of western Iran. Unfortunately, several devastating fires have recently disrupted the ecosystem of these forest areas. Due to lack of resources, local residents had to face these fires themselves without access to necessary equipment or concrete support from the government. The higher mountains of Paveh have rocky peaks standing proudly, like vigilant guardians. Everlasting snow is visible even in this spring season. The climate of Paveh is cold and snowy during the winter, and mild and cool during the summer. If it invested in the hospitality and tourism sectors, it could become a leading summer destination in the west of the country.
Annual rainfall amounts to 700 mm, favoring agricultural and livestock activities in the villages. On the banks of the river Sirvan Houraman, we also face the modern pools of aquaculture - large trout farms. The villages around Paveh also produce honey using their traditional hives. Add to that food products of a unique quality from local livestock. Most of these farms are run by the Huramani women. The traditional breeding of this region has a great influence on the crafts of Paveh. For example, the giveh (or klash according to the local language), a rustic model of shoe, is woven by the Houmaman women with sheep's wool. The insoles of the giveh are made by men with leather and animal skin. Tapestry is another art practiced by Houraman women from locally produced wool. The traditional clothes of the men and women Huramais were previously woven in the village workshops. Today, the fabrics are imported, but the models still follow the patterns of yesterday. A black, gray or brown tunic, with a shawl to surround the middle, a kind of long handkerchief looking like a light turban to cover the head, very wide pants and a thick mustache are the cliché that the Iranians have in mind about men from this region. Women wear colorful clothes.