Art And Culture

Iranian Woman POW’s Narrative in Russian

Iranian Woman POW’s Narrative in RussianIranian Woman POW’s Narrative in Russian

The Iranian novel ‘I’m Alive’, a narrative about Iranian prisoners of war during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war (known in Iran as Sacred Defense) has been translated into Russian and released in Moscow.

The book is written by Masoumeh Abad who was a prisoner of war (POW) during the 8-year bloody military conflict imposed on Iran by the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, IBNA reported.

As the narrator of the story, she describes her ordeal during her 40-month captivity in the dungeons of the former Ba’ath Party.

The book was first published in Persian by Borouj Publication Company in 2012. It has also been translated into English, Arabic, Urdu, German and French.

The Russian translator of ‘I’m Alive’ is Madina Sokhiva. Faezeh Karimian edited the book which is the first from the series of ‘Prose of War’ on the issue of Sacred Defense. It is published by the Iranian Sadra Publishing House, based in Moscow.

  Distinct Literature

In modern Iranian literature war prose represents a separate and distinct dimension. Many authors have described the events firsthand as they have fought on the frontlines.

At the beginning of the war, Abad, who was 17 then, worked with the Iranian Red Crescent Society to construct and manage hospitals and medical clinics. She was captured by Iraqi forces in 1980.

In her non-fiction book, Abad recollects the days she spent as a captive. Together with three other Iranian girls, she was sent to one of the prisons of the Ba’ath party. For 40 months they were tortured in the most infernal ways, physically, mentally and morally.

They did not see sunlight for many months and had no information about their families; yet they held out. They were lucky to come back home alive three and a half years later, but the memories of those days in hell have been haunting them for more than 30 years.

But the book is not just about suffering. It narrates resistance and in some parts is comic making the reader laugh.

  2014 Award

‘I’m Alive’ is among the bestsellers in Iran and has been reprinted many times. It won the Sacred Defense Year Book Award in 2014.

Some critics believe the book is the most influential memoir and successful narrative of the Iran–Iraq war.

Abad, 54, holds a PhD in hygiene from Shahid Beheshti University. She is also a university teacher and director of the health division in Tehran City Council.

The Russian translation of the book has been published with the support of The Islamic Culture Research Foundation in Russia and Iran’s Embassy in Moscow.

The book has eight chapters on childhood, youth, revolution, war and captivity, Baghdad’s al-Rashid Hospital, waiting, Mosul and Anbar Camps. The eighth chapter comprises images and documents.

A photo of Abad is printed on the book cover. It is the same photo registered by the International Red Cross in al-Rashid Hospital and was sent to Iran in 1982.

The title of the book is taken from a letter Abad sent in an envelope of the Red Cross. A sentence in the letter said: “I am alive. Baghdad’s al-Rashid Hospital”.

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