Scorched earth


Title: Scorched Earth

Author: Ahmad Mahmoud

Publisher: Moin

Subject: Persian story

Age category: Adult

Cover: Paperback

Number of pages: 329 p

Language: Farsi

Categories: ,


Scorched Earth is one of the novels that many say can be one of the best Iranian novels. Scorched Earth and Zero Degree Orbit are the novels in which Ahmad Mahmoud spoke about war.

Ahmad Mahmoud is one of the realist writers who is from the south and has touched the war and its effects closely, so he can have a better description of the war than other writers. Also, because of his acquaintance with the southern tribes, he has always been able to use proverbs and poetry. He should use words and words that are specific to the South in his novels, because one of the characteristics of Ahmad Mahmoud is that he was very sensitive in choosing words for his descriptions.

Scorched Earth is the story of the Iraqi army’s 3-month invasion of the southern regions, which was published in 1982. The central issue is the effect of the resistance of the people against the invasion of the Iraqi Ba’athist army and the inevitable flood of immigration that has taken place. This novel is narrated from the perspective of an inner narrator and a hero narrator. Scorched Earth is also among the top 5 novels by Ahmad Mahmoud.

Ahmad Mahmoud was born on December 25, 1941 in the city of Ahvaz to Dezfuli parents, and perhaps for this reason he considered himself mostly Dezfuli. In some of his works such as Neighbors and Zero Degree Orbit, words and sentences in Dezfuli dialect can be seen and also the character of “Nemat” in the story of “Strangers and a Native Boy” is taken from a book of the same name by one of the residents of Dezful called Nemat Alaei. He was assassinated by unknown individuals around 1323 in Dezful.
Excerpts from the book Scorched Earth (text pleasure)

We can be the rock under Asia. We have to endure all the pain. The time of that grave was our grave of poverty and hunger. Prison and torture and the door to our children. Now I have cannons, mortars and khamseh khamseh. Those whose bellies are fat, then you were cute and blessed, and now you have a flanged neck and go where you left … My son who went to the front, the one who fired my son. That is, their factory was closed … I am the one who suffers. There is no work and no business.

I do not have the money or the stairs to take my wife and children by the hand and get out of the ruined one … so I have to stay and be crushed like the meat of a victim with the remains of a mortar … Are you moaning? What should I do if I do not complain? Do not think that I’m afraid. No, it’s not a word … Aq Ya’qub is not afraid of such things … but my heart burns. I am heartbroken that on happy days, the big heads eat and print and throw stones at the homeland, but now that it is time for their dogs and cats to come and go … then you say why are you grumbling!
A young man in a gray suit is standing in front of me and talking. I do not know what he says. I can not hear her voice. I look at his lips, which are moving fast. His misaligned teeth are found and disappear. My gaze slips from his lips to his nose. How big and irregular it seems to me. Then I look into his eyes as if it were a clap.

Now, the young man’s forehead is gray. Sweat and dirt are mixed and cover his entire forehead. Suddenly, from the top of the young gray-haired man, I see a hand that has been separated from the shoulder in the explosion and has risen with the blast wave, and is stuck in a dry cluster of tall palm trees at the base of the grandmother’s yard. The sun has cast a light shade on the palm tree. Dry blood covers the whole hand. The little finger of the hand has been cut off from the second strap, and its forefinger has been aimed at my heart like a pain, like a slander, and like a three-pronged arrow.
– O war, O damn war, it’s like a bloodthirsty animal that eats young people – Its heavy burden falls on the shoulders of a man in a cloak – You talk nonsense, brother. The war of imperialist-anti-imperialist war.
We are fighting America! – We are fighting the United States, but there are young Iraqis whose bodies are eaten by animals in the deserts – Do you feel sorry for Iraq? – My heart burns for all those who inadvertently fall prey to war. It does not matter … we can live together. Love each other. But now? Life is ruined … torn … every Khuzestani family is divided into three or four in the city … in three to four in the camp … the father there, the son in the front, the daughter in the hospital, the mother in the camp. .. spit!
Ahmad Mahmoud, author of the novel “Scorched Earth”
Scorched Earth is based on the real life of Ahmad Mahmoud during the war. During the war, he suffered a lot. He was not one to go to the front to defend himself from the beginning. He also wanted to move to another city with his family. But the people of other cities considered them cowards and fugitives. No one but the Ahwazis and Khuzestanis could understand them. He shows very well that only after the bomb hit Tehran did the people understand the atmosphere of the war. Mahmoud has shown well the fear that was in his heart at that time and spoke about the negligence of the people and the government of that time.

Perhaps this is what makes this work one of the different works in the field of the Iraq-Iran war. Ahmad Mahmoud is a real war veteran who understands the pain of losing his brother well and has transferred it to the pages of the book “Scorched Earth” with the tips of his artist.
The book “Scorched Earth” was first published in 1982 by Nashr-e No. This book was first published in 10,000 copies and its second edition was 22,000 copies. The third edition was published in 7,000 copies. There was a long gap between the third and fourth editions, but finally in 2001, the fourth edition was published by Moin Publications. It is interesting that this book was published in the fourteenth edition in 2009.

Other works of the author include the story of a city, a visit and a living person.
Before beginning the book, we are confronted with such sentences, and we know very well from the beginning that we are going to read the writings of a war wounded man. The first interesting point about the book “Scorched Earth” is the use of tense in prose. Whatever happens, it’s like it’s happening right now, and you seem to be in the audience.

Critics consider this book a realist work, which is quite true. When we read Charles Dickens’ book “Big Dreams”, we even get acquainted with the shape and image of London cobblestones! In the book Scorched Earth, we will get acquainted from the atmosphere of war to the dialect of the people of Ahvaz. So even though the novel covers only the first three months of the war, it is a long and detailed novel.

At first, Mahmoud shows the natural reactions of the people of the city and, of course, the negligence. That the air smells of war, but no one is willing to use his breath well. Cleverly written simulations:
– I am not a rumor either. Now everyone knows that Iraq is on the border, it does something… everyone knows except the government!

The author not only shows these negligences in the dialogues, but also shows them in the thoughts and behavior of the characters:

-… You should know him. You saw it here a hundred times. He was here yesterday. He said Iraqis were camping on the border. He said that the nights illuminate the sky with firecrackers. They get on a boat and check through Iran and everywhere through the reeds of Hor Al-Azim between you and everywhere. He said how big they have tanks! Each one is the size of a refinery!

From inside the mirror, I look at the face of Mash Mohammad
As you can see, the first character of the story does not want to believe the words of Mash Mohammad. So he prefers to focus on his stupid face instead of listening to him. Or old age… or…?

This point is well repeated in another section:

– They say that their spies get on a motorcycle and measure distances for them.

Mash Mohammad smiles. Smallpox, as if it has cut its eyelids. Her eyelashes look burnt and her ears are broken and bent.

And what exactly does the lead role think? This can be clearly seen from the descriptions. Of course, it is not just the first role that prefers all these words to be expressed in the language of an illiterate old man and is just a rumor.
-The newspaper? گفتم Did I say that? خ Sheikh Ta’imeh himself saw the tanks. He was here yesterday. He said that…

Mohammad Mechanic takes his word and says

– How long have you been open?

But people wake up from their slumber. People are finally forced to accept the truth. People who sleep in their veins instead of blood and this indifference works for them:

I’m going to get up and go hover over them, but I’ve not gotten up yet, so I’m lying down again. I take a cigarette and roll it over. I have lost sleep, but I am still weak and lethargic. Saber knocks on the door
-are you awake?

Saber’s voice trembles. As if excited

-I’m awake

He opens the door to the room and says hurriedly

Hit the airport!

Suddenly, all lethargy disappears from my body. I sit down and ask quickly

– Did you say where to hit?

And after that, you enter into the fear of the characters, as if the war is taking place right next to your ear. The atmosphere of the story is described by the people, their panic, their influx to migrate to another city, begging to get gas at gas stations, people’s insistence on getting guns, inviting people to calm down and other problems in detail.
Problems that are due to the negligence of the people and the negligence of the government. In one section, this problem is well described. The problem of thatched houses that turned Bam and Ahvaz into ruins:

The roof of all the houses in Nanehbaran neighborhood is made of white wood, mat and thatch. One by one, here and there, the houses have iron frames. Like the house of Amir Suleiman, who himself died at the feet of the workers to finish his building.
Perhaps this novel can be read with the same differences. You are not just going to read the story of the victims and the brave resistance. Next to it, you are going to get acquainted with the fear that existed in the hearts. You are supposed to get acquainted with the lifestyle of the people of Ahvaz and taste the full-bodied tea that Madarjan presents, and with the help of nicotine, which enters the bloodstream, you too can calm down and wait until you see what happens next.

And is not the situation of the people of the scorched earth book similar to the situation of the Iranian people in the face of the Corona virus? داریم We well remember that in those early days, no one believed that this deadly virus had entered Iran…

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