Narratives from Life of Animals in the Imposed War

We Were Also in the War

Mahya Hafezi
Translated by Ruhollah Golmoradi

2023-11-1


Having been collaborated with Isfahan’s Hozeh Honari, the book “We Were Also in the War”, written by Morteza Soltani was published by Marzoboom Publications. The book includes the publisher's foreword, the author's introduction, 50 narrations from different narrators, an appendix of memories, sources and an index.

From the very beginning, when we pick up the book, it is clear that we are dealing with a different work both in terms of subject matter and presentation form. For the cover of this book, three types of paper are used, which are placed on top of each other, and the cover of the book is formed with the cuts given on top. The first layer is made of kraft paper with a symbolic image of a dove flying on it. The cover has a flap and an explanation about the book is written on it. The title of the book and the author's name are written on the second paper. The material of this layer is coated cardboard, and the turquoise blue color along with the knot design can be seen in its background. At the top of the third layer of the cover is the title “Narrative”, and the publisher's logo is printed at the bottom. All the inner pages of the book are enclosed in a black frame. In addition, the font used for the text of the book has also given the work a sense of fantasy.

 

This book contains 50 memories of the lives of various animals alongside the warriors of the Sacred Defense and is a well-founded attempt to examine how animals, from wild and domestic to migrant and indigenous, were present in the imposed war. These narratives were written by different narrators who included all sections of the society. Some narratives have been rewritten by the author.

In the introduction, the author spoke about the war and its consequences; then, referring to the abundance of books about the massacre of people and the destruction of cities in the war, he stated that not much attention has been paid to the destruction of animals and plants. He, who is also the author of the book “War, Man, Animal”, was employed in Aerospace in 1974 and did service in this unit for thirty years. In a part of the introduction, he explains what hardships he endured to write the book, including searching, interviewing, researching, writing, and processing the materials.

A title has been chosen for each of the narratives in the book, followed by the narrator's name. Memories are usually short and do not exceed a few pages. The titles of the memories are: “Donkey and Lookout”, “Ducks with Blast Injuries”, “Horse and Trolley and Baby”, “Baby Shark”, “Lamb and Girl and Grenade”, “Baby Wild Boars and Lunch”, “Goats, Buffalo, and Enemy’s Discovery”, “Rabbit and Bottleneck and Mirage”, “Refugee Rabbits”, “Tooth Counter and Chameleon”, “Fox and Hedgehog”, “Fox and Minefield”, “Fox and Wolves”, “Cockroach and Haft-sin of Eid”, “Black Dog and the Enemy's Corpse”, “Dogs and Minefield”, “Odonates”, “Dogfish and Ambush”, “Martyr and Partridge”, “Martyr, Mine, Ant”, “Fruitful Desert for Snake and Scorpion”, “War-stricken Parrots”, “Eagle, Owl, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, and Spy”, “Black Scorpion”, “Eagle in Boots”, “Eagle and Fox and Mule”, “Fumakilla and Crazy Mosquitoes”, “Frog and Blood-sucking Mosquitoes”, “Turkey and Fork”, “Massacre and Mule-centered Battalion”, “Pigeon and Jinn”, “Pigeon and Airplane and Pigeon Fancier Asghar”, “Pigeon and Charity”, “Playful Foal”, “Hungry Wolves”, “Buffalo and Armed Mosquitoes”, “Cooked Sheep and Chinook Helicopter” , “The Sheep and the Spy Shepherd”, “Vengeful Wild Boars”, “The Attack of the Ladybugs and Locusts”, “The Lizard and MiG”, “The Carnivorous Fish”, “The Missile That Shoots the Spiderweb”, “The Mouse and the Rifle with Camera”, “Snake and Partridge and Gifts of the People”, “Finger Eater Rats”, “Insane Snakes and Deadly Swamps”, “Quasi-Cat Rats of Sumar”, “The Fish and the Samoapa Valley”, and “The Centipede and the American Crime Document.”

The explanation of some words is given at the end of the book and in the section “Appendixes of Memories”; However, there are rarely footnotes on some pages, which detracts from the unification of the work. In front of the names of some narrators or the titles of the memories, there are numbers in parentheses that are not explained anywhere and it is not clear what the reason is.

The final part of the book is an album of images and an index. The index includes names of people, places, some military equipment, and operations, which are uncategorized and have been applied together. Even the indexes are not separated based on alphabet letters. According to the specific topic of the book, it was possible to add other indexes such as animal names to this list, and put each one in a special category.

On the back cover of the book, it is stated in a part of a narration titled “Massacre and Mule-centered Battalion” written by Morteza Soltani as follows:

Their cries were ear-splitting and their moans were heart-rending. No one could watch. They clawed their faces and got away while they were agitated. There was a heavy silence. There were jus it and I. We went towards them with two rifles and two bullet magazines. We load a magazine and removed the trigger lock and bolt. I placed the muzzle on the forehead of the first mule. The mule did not have limbs lower its barrel. When I placed the muzzle, its moans stopped and its big pupils starred in my eyes. I could clearly see the gratitude behind its eyes. As if it was begging tacitly: end it. I closed my eyes and pulled the trigger. When the carnage was over, the bulldozers arrived. We went to the side of the river to erase the traces of a war-sized massacre in our hands and clothes. I saw myself in the water. No, I wasn't myself, it was an executioner... Oh, what a bad disaster is war...

The book “We Were Also in the War” was published in 1000 copies in 2022. This book has 324 pages and costs 690,000 IRR.



 
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