An interview with Mahdi Ajam about his book "Orange juice in Karbala 5 operation

Let’s keep the nurses' memories of the Covid

January 30, 2022 - 17:51

"Orange juice in Karbala 5 operation" is the first book by Mahdi Ajam that has been published by Soore Mehr and the first book about the memories of doctors and nurses during the Covid pandemic.  

The author has arranged the book with 135 short stories; it’s the result of having conversations for hours with the medical staff of Baqiyatallah Hospital in Tehran.

We had an interview with him about his book and the reason he chose to write it.

*What made you write this book and, how much did it take?

As we all can remember, the Coronavirus entered our country in 2019 and, we spent such difficult days in March and April. For two months or so, I went to the hospital to assist the nurses and I saw their hard and risky work personally during those days; that's where the idea came to my mind. With the help and advice of some friends at the hospital, the process of interviews started. Memories of about 70 doctors and nurses have been collected in the first wave of COVID-19 and took about 10 months with so many difficulties.

*Who do you think are the audience of this book and how do they like it?

Short, valuable, and amusing memories were selected and written for the general audience and I tried not to use medical and technical terms that are difficult to understand.

*There is always a special connection between the title and the theme of the story so, why did you choose this title for the book?

This title is taken from one of the memories in the book. During the eight years of the war, there were many votive stations that gave charity foods to worriers and, during the peak of COVID, the votive station in Baqiyatallah Hospital was the first one too. They gave patients, doctors, and nurses fresh and natural juice like orange and apple juice and when we compare it with the days of the war, we can still see the same bravery and sacrifices.

*Do you have any special memories from the process of writing this book? 

These whole ten months were full of memories to me, but one day that I went to the hospital, I talked with some of the nurses that I didn’t know their names and a month later when I came back to ask about their names, the supervisor listened to their voices and said that Shirin Safavi, the owner of the voice she was listening to, wasn’t alive anymore. After her martyrdom, they found her note to God Inside her personal closet which the supervisor of the department gave to me as a gift and I published it in the book.

* Are there any changes you would like to see happening in the world of literature today? 

As the Leader of the Islamic Revolution has emphasized, Narrating and recording memories of the medical staff has just started and should be continued; Thousands of hospitals across Iran were involved in these incidents, and artists in other fields have to record their sacrifice and efforts too.

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