Write your memoirs of quake!

M. A. Fatemi
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


The book “Silent groans: Memories of the students of Rah-e Zeinab (SA) Girl School in Manjil from the quake happened on 21st of June 1990 in Gilan Province” was released in this province in 2018. The book has been published with the attempt of Fereidoon Haqani Kalashtari in the Art Centre of Gilan Province by Nekoo Afarin Publications in Rasht.

We find out from the book’s introductions that when its compiler was the teacher of English language and literature and one of the victims of the 1990 quake and taught in the pre-fabricated chambers of Rah-e Zeinab (SA) Girl School in Manjil, asked the students to write their memoirs. He has kept more than 800 pages of the writings since some thirty years ago so that a selection of them related to the memories of 35 students turned into a 180-page book titled “Silent Groans”.

Before the memories of the students, according to an interview with Fereidoon Haqani Kalashtari, his memoirs of the 1990 earthquake has been brought. About the memories he had collected at that time, Haqani says, “I had asked the students to write the memories of the night the quake happened. After a period of three months since the earthquake happened, I wanted them to record all events of earthquake as it had happened. When I brought up the subject of the composition, I said, “I don’t want to write literally like a composition for describing the spring. I want you to write what has happened, define the same for me…the guys who had written the composition are now in different social positions…” 

The book covers the texts written some 30 years ago. The passage of time has added to their value. They were also written at the closest time to the event and this is another value.

The main part of all of the writings pays attention to the moment when the quake happened and the first reactions to it and the damages that are seen at the same very first moments. But in the context of the texts, more domains of the impact of the earthquake on the life of the narrators and their various reactions to this effect are also seen. One can find them together to find out another value of these writings about 30 years ago.

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