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Iranian author tasked to remind world pacifists about Gaza catastrophe


Habib Ahmadzadeh

TEHRAN, Jan. 3 (Mehr News Agency) -- Iranian author Habib Ahmadzadeh sent the English version of his novel "Eagle Feather," recently translated by U.S. translator Paul Sprachman, to world pacifist groups on the occasion of the recent Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Written years ago, the book narrates the story of the Abadan siege by Iraqis during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88) and civilians' resistance against the invaders, which is the same as what is happening in Gaza these days.

"Regarding Gaza massacre, I decided to send my book to world pacifist groups to make them aware why Gaza's citizens are defending their land without any armor. I attached a letter to the books before sending them," Ahmadzadeh told ISNA.

In the letter, he mentioned that 400 citizens of Gaza have lost their lives in recent days and how the book is a true story which he himself experienced in his youth and how his experience resembled what is now going on in Gaza.

He mentioned in his letter that he wants to share his experience with other people throughout the world and also expressed his hope that the world will be filled with peace and justice in near future.

Chess with the Doomsday Machine

Habib Ahmadzadeh (Author)
Paul Sprachman (Translator)

268 pages
Publisher: Mazda Publishers (November 30, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN: 1568592159

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Description (Source: Mazda Publishers)

Chess with the Doomsday Machine (Shatranj ba Mashin-e Qiamat) is a novel by Habib Ahmadzadeh (b. 1964) about the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88). It is set in Ahmadzadeh's native Abadan, a city located on an island near the Persian Gulf. Because of its importance to the Iranian petroleum industry, Abadan was the target of heavy bombardments during the early stages of the conflict. Using an advanced radar system developed in Europe, Iraqi forces were able to hone in on Iranian artillery emplacements almost as soon as they fired. It is the task of the narrator, a young Basiji (volunteer paramilitary) spotter, to locate the radar so it can be destroyed. The novel paints a striking tableau of a city under siege, not only inhabited-as one would expect-by a variety of soldiers, but also by two Armenian priests, a retired oil refinery engineer, and a prostitute and her young daughter. Chess with the Doomsday Machine avoids the kind formulaic patriotism and hagiography found in much of "Holy Defense" (defa'-e moqaddas: an official Iranian term for the conflict) fiction in two ways. First, it indulges a type of black humor used in such war satires as Joseph Heller's Catch 22 and, second-and more profoundly-it examines how wartime conditions throw the ephemeral nature of human existence into high relief. As the novel progresses, the narrator's journey evolves from a simple search-and-destroy mission into a quest for meaning among the surreal sights of the besieged city: an improvised "shark aquarium"; a ravaged farmer's market; rows of bombed-out homes; an ice cream freezer that doubles as a morgue; and an incomplete seven-story building that miraculously survives the Iraqi shelling to become the stage for the novel's chief theme.

About the Author

Habib Ahmadzadeh is a veteran of the Iran-Iraq War, whose military career began when he served as a teenage Basiji and ended after he attained the rank of Captain in the regular army. He has studied theatre arts and is an accomplished scenarist. Ahmadzadeh is also the author of a prize-winning collection of short stories called The War Involved City Stories (Dastan-ha-ye Shahr-e Jangi), one of which became the basis for the film "Night Bus" (Autobus-e Shabaneh; directed in 2007 by the well-known film and television artist Kiumars Poorahmad). Ahmadzadeh also provided the research for Conversation with the Shadow (Goft-o Goo ba Sayeh (directed in 2006 by Khosrow Sinai), a study of one of Iran's greatest writers Sadeq Hedayat (d. 1951). Part biography, part literary criticism, the film is an original contribution to the voluminous literature on Hedayat's most important work of fiction The Blind Owl (Buf-e Kur).

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