The Most Recent Words by Hedayatollah Behboodi

Documentations Are Not From the Same Genus

Translated by Ruhollah Golmoradi


As reported by Iranian Oral History Website, closing ceremony of 11th period of award of Jalal Al-e-Ahmad was held in Ghalam Hall of NLAI on December 8, 2018.
In documentation part of the award, two works were jointly selected, "Alef-Lam Khomeini" by Hedayatollah Behboodi published by the Institute for Political Studies and Research, and "Pedaling for Seeking Shams: From Tabriz to Konya, from Konya to Damascus" by Hasan Karami Qaramaleki published by Sotoudeh Publication. In addition to these two works, candidates who arrived at final stage of this section were books of " For Mrs. F: Memories of Seyyed Ahmad Nabavi", compiled and wrote by Rahele Sabouri from office of Resistance Literature and Art of and Sooreh Mehr Publication, "Eternal Jerseys of Football Men: Monographs" by Hamidreza Sadr published by Cheshmeh publication and "Mamosta[i]: Biography and Memories of Mamosta Mullah Qader Qaderi, Paveh's Imam of Friday Prayer" compiled and wrote by Ali Rostami from Hozeh Honari of Kermanshah and Sooreh Mehr Publication. Jurors of part of documentation of the 11th period of Jalal Al-e Ahmad Award were Mustafa Rahimi, Golestan Jafarian and Maryam Baradaran.

At the end of the award, Hedayatollah Behboodi, who has been active in field of Islamic Revolution Historiography for many years and office of Islamic Revolution Literature in Hozeh Honari was formed in result of his efforts, stated after receiving his prize, "It seems to me that documentation heaven part is more blurred than other parts; as now that the jurors put cat-like (feliformia) in one row; from wild lion to domestic cat! Juror troubles are many here; one of them is that sometimes these books are not from one genus. So you cannot compare them and give points. If a good travel book was arrived at this part, how would we compare it with a historical book and a memorial book? These cannot be set in one range, to be considered in one genus and one type. Here is a hard part. In my opinion, if executers of Al-e Ahmad prize make a reasonable resolution on logical separation of books which are entered into the documentation sector, authors would be more assured of selecting, comparing and the best book. A sentence from words of Mr. [Mohammad Reza] Bairami [scientific secretary of 11th period of Jalal Al-e Ahmad Prize], remained in my throat that I could not swallow it and it was a sense that he had about memory and story. But I think story is more magnificent and sober than to be jealous of memory. His interpretations reminded me some of interpretations on Iran and Islam. I think it's good to talk more about their mutual services before we put them against each other. Thank you."

Then, Hedayatollah Behboodi said in an interview, "I cannot comment on why "Alef Lam Khomeini" in the documentation part of Jalal Al-e Ahmad's literary award was recognized as the selected work. Here, opinions of respected jurors are criteria of selection. But I use this opportunity and tell some statements about the documentation section of this literary award, because both this book and book of "Explaining Noun", which had been appreciated in the past few periods by respectable judges, were in a special situation that emerges in this section.

For what I am saying, it is good that views of Jalal Al-e Ahmad literary prize executers should be also taken into account so that I don't judge one-sided. As I said after receiving the prize in place of holding the ceremony of this year, documentary sky is not as clear as other parts. In three other parts, we are faced with straightforward and definable titles: short story, novel, and literary criticism. These three are clear, obvious and identifiable. Books that enter these three groups are of the same differentia and have not multiple definitions. But the books that come to the documentary section have the same genus, but they differ in differentia.

Memories, Travelogues, Reports, History etc. all are documented and from one genus, but they are various in differentia and aren't identical. When we want to select and measurement is raised, the books from one differentia are comparable and measurable, but books from one genus cannot be compared. If I want to say some examples that are presented here for being close to the mind, I could say for example shape of all books of short story is square, shape of all books that arrive to the novel section is triangle, and all books that come to literary critique are rectangle. Judges do not encounter problems in identifying these shapes and try to choose among them the best square, the most complete triangle and the best rectangle. But books that come to the documentation part have not the same shape; some are elliptical, some trapezoid, and some are hexagon etc. Shape and form of report is not the same with travel book, memory and history are not also in the same range and level. What should judges of this section do? Analogy in phenomena of the same differentia is possible, but it is not possible in phenomena of the same genus. Now, when the best work in writing a report, the best book in travel book, the best book in memory, and the best writing and research in history advance to the highest level, judges should compare on what and which criteria and select one? The problem with literary award of Jalal-Al-e Ahmad is here. Because of that, I say rights of writers and authors, and compilers of documentation works in this literary award are not properly and completely discharged, and this is related not to respectable judges, but to written rules of literary prize of Jalal. I think this section needs to redefine, modify and identify.

What has happened in memory telling and memory writing during the one or two last decades has been unprecedented in history of literature in our country. Here, I do not mention causes of this movement, but welcoming this literary type is because of several factors. First, widespread and comprehensive feature of the war and participation of all geography of Iran in it; naturally, effects of this incident are as wide as extent of Iran and its audience; second, abundance of organizations and institutions which address preparation, compilation and dissemination of memories from the war; third, government support for these centers, either by paying the budget or by purchasing and distributing their charters; fourth, attention of the Supreme Leader to these books, either in support of authors, book agents, book publishers and relevant centers, or by writing his own views on these books and allowing to publish his views.

The fact is that memory telling and memory writing of the war and its shadow, the revolution, has become an honor to the revolution, because other literary forms do not as much as reflex Islamic aspect and nationalism of the revolution, and if they are, they would not as easy as communicate with the general audience. It is in such a situation that documentary literature or type of memory, while taking a governmental color, is jealous by story writers.

Requirements of our country are not such that we can balance between government and private sectors in field of culture and economics. The government and power institution in both parts have a strong presence. Well, what should we do in such a situation? Do we close all cultural affairs that are directly and indirectly depended on government money? Given the fact that whatever the government involves in is condemned? Should we do neglect the government's encouragement for development of culture and here movement of memory writing? Here, what matters is the manner in which institutions and cultural agencies work, not being dependence or independence from institution of power.

If we look at the selected books of this period of Jalal Al-e Ahmad literary award and dialect of some of those who were worthy to be appreciated, justice and fairness is observed by experts in the selected works. When such a character is practice of the foundation for Iranian poetry and story literature, it is not matter whether it is depended on Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance or on the private sector. However, we know the private sector cannot afford financial support of such work. I also say that the bias injected to separating cultural affairs into two public and private sectors and insisting on it was started from 1960s and have lasted to the present time; and I have not seen, heard or read that believers of this bias criticize donating badges, awards and encouragements made by European or USA governments for Iranian artists or men of letters, or reject it.

I return to the original point; yes, some friends put documentary books against story books and evaluated them not lengthwise but widthwise, and object about spread of type of memory in print, distribution, sale and promotion, in relation to story works. In this year ceremony of Jalal Al-e Ahmad's literary award I told words of some of my friends in encountering memory and story remind me of putting  Iran and Islam against each other or Iranian-ship and Islam-ship; while these two phenomena have been in peaceful coexistence for centuries, and have always been serving each other. Mutual services of memory and story are also so much that they cannot be seen in two antagonist fronts. Experience of the war is the most valuable reserve for our today professional writers, and ironically, the best story works have been created through this.

It should be accepted that judges of various parts of Jalal Al-e Ahmad Literary Award have started and completed their judgment based on fairness and experience. In some years, incorrect interfere of faculty members in judges' decision in result of make the matter public by the judges themselves created unpleasant margins that it would hope not to be repeated.”


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