الإثنين, 17 يونيو/حزيران 2019
الرئيسية
سيرة ذاتية
الاعمال الشعرية الكاملة
قصص قصيره
ديوانُ الأنهار الثلاثة
جِـــــــرارٌ بِلونِ الذهب
الحياة في خريطةٍ
عَيشة بِنْت الباشا
قصائـدُ هَـيْـرْفِـيــلْـد التلّ
طـيَـرانُ الـحِـدْأَةِ
الخطوة السابعة
الشــيوعــيّ الأخير فقط ...
أنا بَرلــيـنيّ ؟ : بــانورامـــا
الديوانُ الإيطاليّ
في البراري حيثُ البرق
قصائد مختارة
ديــوانُ صلاة الوثني
ديــوانُ الخطوة الخامسة
ديــوانُ شرفة المنزل الفقير
ديــوانُ حفيد امرىء القيس
ديــوانُ الشــيوعــيّ الأخير
ديــوانُ أغنيةُ صيّــادِ السّمَك
ديوان قصــائدُ نـيـويـورك
قصائد الحديقة العامة
صــورة أنــدريــا
ديــوانُ طَــنْــجـــة
ديوان غرفة شيراز
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المتواجدون الان
يوجد حالياً 131 زائر على الخط
English


MOCK EXECUTION طباعة البريد الإلكترونى

Saadi Youssef

Translated by Khaled Mutawa

Thousands and thousands of events occur in a lifetime. I mean in this life, which is mostly exhausting and painful, and only free and joyous every now and then.

It is in the nature of the sons of Adam that their minds can only store so much and that they are limited to a certain scope. One suppresses many incidents and facts, and then completely forgets what he has suppressed.

But there are some things that are never forgotten:

The face of the mother.

The name of one's firstborn child.

The color of the first beloved's eyes.

Etcetera.

There is more that is not forgotten, but it is like the dark side of the moon.

For example:

Being subjected to a mock execution.

*

In February 1963, I was in Basra, just returning from Baghdad.

Basra was under the control of the Baathist usurpers and the militia, dubbed the National Guard, which was armed with a mixture of Egyptian Port Said rifles, British Astons, and other light weaponry.

This militia had positions all over the city, the main squares, residential neighborhoods, and markets. And it had a free hand to arrest people,

torture or even kill them like stray dogs.

*

The so-called National Guard arrested me and brought me to their headquarters, near the Shatt al-Arab. They had taken over the Economists Association building, a professional organization that, a day before the Baathist coup, was run by Basra's communists.

The Economists Association was overflowing with young Baathists armed with rifles that could go off at any moment, as the safeties had been removed from them.

The building was also filled with detainees who were packed in a hall not far from the main street and the riverbank.

*

The next day, I was moved to a narrow room that had a bamboo chair in it.

At night a guard came to me.

"I will keep the door open," he said. "I will not close it. The corridor is in front of you, and it leads to the street. You might think of running away."

"You can try," he added, "but I will shoot you."

*

I spent my night in that little room.

I was tired. I slept a deep sleep.

*

The following day, an hour or so before noon, the commander of the headquarters arrived. I remembered that his name was Fathi, and that he owned a shoe shop in the Indian market in Basra. Fathi was proudly sporting a Port Said rifle, and he was dressed in the latest style.

He tied my hands to the back of the chair.

Then he blindfolded me.

My wristwatch fell to the ground; I heard the thunk of its impact on the floor.

Fathi ordered the door to be closed. I heard the door close.

He said quietly: "We will execute you!"

"Do you have anything to tell us?"

I was to weak to even the think of answering him.

He said: "So, you have nothing to say!"

Then I heard the sound . . .

A stream of bullets

thundered all at once.

*

I did not die.

And as Badr Shaker Al-Sayyab said in his famous poem "Christ after the Crucifixion":

Therefore

I did not die.

*

A few days ago I read an account by my friend Wassif Shannon (who is in Australia now) of the hardship he faced after the 1991 uprising in southern Iraq, when he was a detainee in a camp run by the Iranian organization Mujahidi Khalq, and how they used to

cover the heads of detainees with black bags to execute them.

They covered his head more than once, in mock executions.

Wassif Shannon has been in Australia for nearly twenty years, but he has not forgotten what he has been through.

Therefore, there are things from the dark side of the moon that also cannot be forgotten.

 

London, 25.12.2015

اخر تحديث الخميس, 18 أبريل/نيسان 2019 08:31
 
YOU ARE WITH PEOPLE, THEREFORE . . . YOU ARE THE PEOPLE طباعة البريد الإلكترونى

My stay in Luxor and my travels between the two shores of the Nile these past few weeks have given me an opportunity to reflect on what the artist should do as he contemplates the relationship—his relationship—to his surroundings, and those who surround him.

During my stay in Luxor, I made sure to widen my senses as far as they go: my eyes, my ears.

Time has pushed me further out, and the homeland has become more distant.

I have been in Europe for two decades now. In sterile, cruel, silent Europe with its insular people and its silent dogs.

No friend, no companion.

Even my countrymen have become like the living dead due to the extremes to which they go to imitate the people they now live among.

I say: I made sure to open up my senses while I am in Luxor.

I sit in the three-pound cafes. I take in the faces, happy or wretched. I listen to the passing chatter and the cutting jokes.

I savor the eloquence of the people of Upper Egypt, how their dialect so closely resembles that of old Basra's before it was undone by migration and wars.

In the alleys of the western shore, which descend toward the great Nile, I meet children and women, and I am invited to tea at this or that modest house.

My strange-looking clothes pique the curiosity of the people and they ask about my identity. They try to speak to me with the English they use to address strangers. It's then that I remember the poet Al-Akhtal Al-Saghir, on his way to Baghdad

A flock of grasshoppers peeps through their burrow's eyes,

ask about the Arab boy dressed in foreign clothes.

They recall Qais al-Mulawwah seeing my pallid face

how the songs on my lips are tinged with dirge.

*

In the markets, between Television and Al-Medina Al-Munawara Streets, here in Luxor, I find myself among my kin. No incident shocks me and no scene phases me.

Even their assumption that I am a foreigner does not surprise me.

As soon as I speak Arabic, sweet laugher surrounds me.

*

So let me now after this long preamble, come to the idea that has been occupying me:

I enjoy the company of people.

But "intellectuals" repel me.

And when I look back at my life, I see that my most creative periods were those when I did not meet "intellectuals."

In Algeria, between 1964 and 1971

I met none of them. It was a deeply meaningful time, rich with experiences that brought about my book Far from the First Sky.

And in London now, where I live like a hermit in the suburbs and where I visit no one and I'm not visited by anyone, I have been writing with a productivity that I've never experienced before. I published my collected works in seven volumes, amounting to three thousand five hundred pages, which corresponds to the entire corpus of classical Arabic poetry, from the age of Jahiliyah to the third century after the Hejira.

The reason?

In all this time I did not meet any "intellectuals"!

*

These days, "intellectuals" have proven to be the worst, by their actions and their character.

They are the tongues of the rulers and oppressors that flicker like snakes'.

They are the lickers of the rich sheikhs' and sheikhas' shoes.

They are the fiercest censors of free thought.

Double-crossers and snitchers who inform on those who write with a clean pen.

They are nothing!

*

It's true that when I meet them I am not meeting "intellectuals," but politicians!

It is so, because I know the golden rule, which says politics is the art of lying.

I know that I am in the company of liars. I let them lie to me again and again, to analyze what they said, later. This is the best way to deal with politicians.

*

I am with the people . . .

Therefore: I am the people!

Poets, remember that you are people as well.

But: Where are the poets?

Have they become "intellectuals" too?

 

Luxor 22.02.2017

Translated from the Arabic by Khaled Mattawa

اخر تحديث الثلاثاء, 26 فبراير/شباط 2019 09:18
 
A HOUSE OF POETRY IS A NATIONAL MONUMENT, NOT A FURNISHED APARTMENT FOR RENT طباعة البريد الإلكترونى

I believe that the best "House of Poetry" in Europe is the one in the French capital, Paris, followed by the House of Poetry in Nantes, also in France.

Paris's "House of Poetry" is located in the heart of the capital, near Les Halles.

It belongs to the municipality of Paris. That is, it belongs to a local organization. Not the government, or individuals.

And it is run by a well-known French poet.

In spite of all this, the French poets maintain their individual character, negatively or positively, in this house.

In the early 1990s, I used to visit the last of France's great poets:

Eugène Guillevic (1907–1997)

at his home.

One evening there was an event at the House of Poetry.

I asked him if he would attend. "No!" he answered. "I will not go there as long as Jacques Chirac is mayor of Paris!"

The old poet was a leftist young man.

I should mention that Guillevic visited the Democratic Republic of Yemen, and I accompanied him to Hadramout, to its valley and its renowned city Mukalla.

In Aden, an official car rushed through Al-Tawahi district, carrying Eugène, and his wife, Lucy, with a police motorcycle riding ahead of it.

"This is the first time in my life I have been in a cavalcade," said Eugène.

Here is a poem by Eugène Guilvic:

An Acute angle

 

To be an angle

is better than being a circle.

 

And if you do not live quietly

to attack your surroundings,

 

You will then

find comfort

in a dream that closes

 

always on the open side

Always outward

*

In the Arab world, I can say that the house of poetry, as an institution, has been of no importance, except for the one in Morocco, which has as its foundation the blessings of UNESCO as well as the poets of Morocco and the Arab world.

The “House of Poetry" in Morocco was funded by a local organization.

I think the funding now is from other sources.

In Amman, the late Habib al-Zuwaidi founded a house of poetry. It was originally a royal guesthouse, and it closed shortly after al-Zuwaidi's death.

Iraq has no real "House of Poetry."

Nor in Syria or any other Arab country.

Egypt has a "House of Poetry" in Cairo, and it has a branch in Luxor as well.

*

When I say that a "House of Poetry" is a national institution, not an apartment for rent, I am hinting at what the Gulf countries are doing, perhaps in good faith, when they open and finance "poetry houses" in several Arab countries, including Morocco and Egypt, and where they strangely insist on emblazing the name of the funding sheikha on the door of the house.

There is no relation between Arabic, modern and classical, and the Nabataean folk poetry favored in the Gulf.

And there is no relationship between an evening of poetry and the embarrassing ruckus called "the poet of the millions."

A house of poetry is not a furnished apartment for rent . . .

Or where the rent is cheap.

 

London on 09.10.2017

اخر تحديث الثلاثاء, 26 فبراير/شباط 2019 09:17
 
MOCK EXECUTION طباعة البريد الإلكترونى

Saadi Youssef

Thousands and thousands of events occur in a lifetime. I mean in this life, which is mostly exhausting and painful, and only free and joyous every now and then.

It is in the nature of the sons of Adam that their minds can only store so much and that they are limited to a certain scope. One suppresses many incidents and facts, and then completely forgets what he has suppressed.

But there are some things that are never forgotten:

The face of the mother.

The name of one's firstborn child.

The color of the first beloved's eyes.

Etcetera.

There is more that is not forgotten, but it is like the dark side of the moon.

For example:

Being subjected to a mock execution.

*

In February 1963, I was in Basra, just returning from Baghdad.

Basra was under the control of the Baathist usurpers and the militia, dubbed the National Guard, which was armed with a mixture of Egyptian Port Said rifles, British Astons, and other light weaponry.

This militia had positions all over the city, the main squares, residential neighborhoods, and markets. And it had a free hand to arrest people,

torture or even kill them like stray dogs.

*

The so-called National Guard arrested me and brought me to their headquarters, near the Shatt al-Arab. They had taken over the Economists Association building, a professional organization that, a day before the Baathist coup, was run by Basra's communists.

The Economists Association was overflowing with young Baathists armed with rifles that could go off at any moment, as the safeties had been removed from them.

The building was also filled with detainees who were packed in a hall not far from the main street and the riverbank.

*

The next day, I was moved to a narrow room that had a bamboo chair in it.

At night a guard came to me.

"I will keep the door open," he said. "I will not close it. The corridor is in front of you, and it leads to the street. You might think of running away."

"You can try," he added, "but I will shoot you."

*

I spent my night in that little room.

I was tired. I slept a deep sleep.

*

The following day, an hour or so before noon, the commander of the headquarters arrived. I remembered that his name was Fathi, and that he owned a shoe shop in the Indian market in Basra. Fathi was proudly sporting a Port Said rifle, and he was dressed in the latest style.

He tied my hands to the back of the chair.

Then he blindfolded me.

My wristwatch fell to the ground; I heard the thunk of its impact on the floor.

Fathi ordered the door to be closed. I heard the door close.

He said quietly: "We will execute you!"

"Do you have anything to tell us?"

I was to weak to even the think of answering him.

He said: "So, you have nothing to say!"

Then I heard the sound . . .

A stream of bullets

thundered all at once.

*

I did not die.

And as Badr Shaker Al-Sayyab said in his famous poem "Christ after the Crucifixion":

Therefore

I did not die.

*

A few days ago I read an account by my friend Wassif Shannon (who is in Australia now) of the hardship he faced after the 1991 uprising in southern Iraq, when he was a detainee in a camp run by the Iranian organization Mujahidi Khalq, and how they used to

cover the heads of detainees with black bags to execute them.

They covered his head more than once, in mock executions.

Wassif Shannon has been in Australia for nearly twenty years, but he has not forgotten what he has been through.

Therefore, there are things from the dark side of the moon that also cannot be forgotten.

 

London, 25.12.2015

اخر تحديث الثلاثاء, 26 فبراير/شباط 2019 09:10
 
Amnesty lnternational طباعة البريد الإلكترونى

Hamra Night

by Saadi Youssef

A candle in a long street

A candle in the sleep of houses

A candle for frightened shops

A candle for bakeries

A candle for a journalist trembling

in an empty office

A candle for  a fighter

A candle for a woman doctor over patients

A candle for the wounded

A candle for plain talk

A candle for the stairs

A candle for a hotel packed with refugees

A candle for a singer

A candle for broadcasters in their hideouts

A candle for a bottle of water

A candle for the air

A candle for two lovers in a naked flat

A candle for the falling sky

A candle for the beginning

A candle for the ending

A candle for the last communiqué

A candle for conscience

A candle in my hand.

--------------------------------

Saadi Youssef (first published in Modern Poetry of the Arab World'

translated, and edited by Abdullah  Al- Penguin'1986)

اخر تحديث الخميس, 21 فبراير/شباط 2019 06:10
 
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