The hard and sweet memoirs of narrators of the book which has an attractive idea

"War Brides", Oral History of Awaited People

Elham Saleh
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan

2016-10-3


They have been forgotten for many years but now suddenly are remembered. They are the brides of war; new young brides who were supposed to live beside their husbands until death, but the war shortened this life. "War Brides" is about this group of people; suffered but patient women play the major role of the book's story. Perhaps, it's because of this, there is no name of the operations in which their husbands had taken part (except one and that is Operation Mersad and only as less as one name in page 46). These new brides have been searched for city to city and the first volume has been allocated to the women of Kermanshah.

 

Narrations

The book's narrations start from simple lives and reach slowly to the marriage of a marriageable girl, talking about the interest between the bride and groom. Another commonality of the narrations is the description of the moment the news of the martyrdom (or captivity or missing) of the grooms are informed. In the story of Zahra Khodadadi, the wife of martyr Kazem Darvishi, the mourning of men and women are described in this way, "I also clutched my heart and liked to take my heart out. Kazem with his brown eyes was looking at me. The women were mourning. The men a little farther had hidden their faces in their hands and their shoulders were shivering. Snowflakes were falling on my face as if the sky was pouring Noqls (a kind of pastry) on the head of me and Kazem."

As it has been referred to in the book's introduction, "War Brides" is the story of the suffering of the women whose common life lasted a very short time. They tolerated many sufferings with the death of their husbands, but some of these sufferings were for the people's words and behaviors. The story of Esmat Emami, the wife of martyr Rostam Mataee is about this, "Why have you kept her here? Why don't you kick her out? I've heard these many times. Everyone was talking about of my ominousness. I was crying while hugging my mother. Am I ominous? Am I ill-fated?"

 

Awaiting

"War Brides" is the story of the women who were waiting for their husbands. There are stories in the book's second chapter about the life of the wives whose husbands had been either missed or taken as captives. Fatemeh Mahidashti the wife of the missing Ahad Mahidashti tals about her awaiting, "I was asked to marry again and had suitors, but did not accept. Is it possible that I do not wait for Ahad? One day he'll put his bag on his shoulder and come to me. I have waited for him for a long time, but still continue to do that. He is my love. He is my entire world. We have married for just three months."

The book's third chapter is about the brides of the freed POWs. Fahimeh Rezaee, the wife of the freed POW Taimour Rezaee waited for his husband to be freed for many years. She stayed beside her husband's family during all these years and now she is nursing his ill husband caused by the captivity, "When I take him for dialysis, I try to talk about those days for him. Then he can be relived and endure the suffering easier. His body is sickly and tried, but we still love each other. We have told each other the memoirs our separation many times. We review the memoirs of our lovely life forever. I nurse him these days. It's hard but sweet."

 

Popular aids during war

During the eight-year sacred defense, the people across Iran tried to do something. Kermanshah was no exception. In addition to depicting the life of the girls of Kermanshah, "War Brides" refers to the activities of the people behind the war fronts. Soheila Faraji, the wife of martyr Gholam Ali Khazaee is the narrator of this section, "The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) had rented a house for the women active behind the war. The sisters made jams there. Wrapped the nuts inside nylons, washed the bloody blankets with which the wounded were taken to the hospital, and things like this."

"War Brides" explains about the hardships the young girls from Kermanshah were suffered as well the consequences of these hardships. As a result of the suffering, Soheila Faraji took anti-stress pills for a long time and was in the hospital. However, she was recovered after three years and started studying, "When I was in the hospital, I was not fine. When I slept, I saw the palce full of comfort because nobody was disturbed and asked me about my past. Nobody asked me to marry again. They knew that I was not fine and left me alone."

 

The book's attractive idea

So far, a number of books have been released about the wives of the martyred commanders of the eight-year sacred defense. The feature of such books is the popularity of these martyrs.  But just a few books have been written about the wives whose husbands have not been famous. "War Brides" has been allocated to such women. The husbands are not the lead in this book, but these are the women who bear the burden of life with all the hardships and sufferings. The main feature of "War Brides" is that it talks about the young brides who lived along with their combatant husbands for only a short time: Soheila Faraji the wife of martyr Gholam Ali Khazaee (two weeks), Zahra Khodadadi the wife of martyr Kazem Darvishi (six months), Azam (Shahnaz) Qazi the wife of martyr Ali Akbar Qorbani (one year), Zahra Hadidi the wife of martyr Ezzatollah Dashti (seven months), Esmat Emami the wife of martyr Rostam Mataee (forty days), Fatemeh Mahidashti the wife the missing Ahad Mahidashti (three months), Monireh Nikouee the wife the free POW Habibollah Morad Beigi (the length of common life until captivity: five months), and Fahimeh Rezaee, the wife of the freed POW Taimour Rezaee (the length of common life until captivity: three months). Each of them spent a short with their husbands. They narrate their own life, but in these short narrations, we can found out the situation of the life of women with similar conditions.

 

Sympathetic with subjects

The book's author Mahnaz Fattahi has lived in similar conditions. Her father was martyred at the young age and her mother was left alone with eight children. Due to feeling this kind of living, she understands well the suffering of her subjects and has been able to transfer the suffering to the audience very well. Moreover, she in the introduction has referred to problems for compiling the book. Lack of comprehensive information about the new brides of the war caused her to recognize such brides in smaller cities, but conducting interviews with them has not been so easy. Since they had married again and because of legal problems, they were not ready to be interviewed. So, she has interviewed those who either had not married again or had no problem for the interview. Referring to such problems in the book's introduction paves the way for the people who are working in the area of oral history and forces the audience to set his or her expectations according to the problems. For compiling the book, the author has passed through a hard way. Lack of access to photos was another difficulty of this way the effect of which can be seen in the low-quality of the photos.

 

Book's title

And the book's title "War Brides" is a straightforward title.  The title has been chosen in view of the book's subject and is very close to its goal, because it connects the audience to the subjects of the war and marriage very fast.teh book is about the girls who married during the sacred defense years and on this basis, the word "brides" is seen in the title. It is correct that the book is not about just one bride, but it was possible that the title "War Bride" was chosen for it instead of "War Brides" so that both the rhythm is kept and has amphibology. At any rate the current name is nice but ordinary.        



 
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