You Are Reading This Message…

I have no idea how to turn off this site for a day, nor do I really know how to make a proper image, but since I’m a member of the extended EI family:
libertiesTwelve newspapers and 5 TV channels are striking today. Ahram Online, which is in solidarity but continues to update, writes about it here.

And Ahmed Fouad Negm’s “The Strike,” trans. Walaa Quisay:

(The Strike) الإضراب

In the name of the People’s God
God of the strikers,
The fasting,
The deprived
All through the years

Chanters of the town
Come, chant of our town
We are here
Loyal as always to the promise

How sweet are the poems?
In times of bitter hardship…and the songs
How sweet are the spoken words of love?
In times of privation

We are the ones who lost the way and
Each other
But in prison we shall meet
Aah[1], comrades!
From the road’s labyrinth
When in the night,
The moon is strangled
When a friend walks
In the darkness
Colliding into his friend
And the journey is born from just two steps
But takes a year

Where are we today?
And how many are we?
How many will we be tomorrow?
And where will we be at?
Each day we visit a place
Our numbers grow

Each day
We open doors
And each day
We destroy obstacles
Each day
We set up buildings
Each day
We remove rubble
Each day
We’re impregnated with chants
Each day

We give birth to Madad[2]

We must be this way
Inside the prisons
Outside the prisons
How sweet are the poems?
In times of bitter hardship…and the songs
How wondrous is that green stem?
In the spring of ruins
We are the ones who lost the way and
Each other
We handwrite a page from the book

Cursed are the backs that bow in shame
To the leader of a government and the khan
Cursed are the words that dwell in the throat
Only to escape the expression of the tongue
Cursed is every moment of a life
That is riddled with subservience
Cursed is every piece of bread drowned in humiliation
Curse the coward

O comrades!
You who taught solid strength to stones
I call for you
In the midst of depression
Monotony….and boredom

You, who are nearer to dawn,
To its light and rise
Gather the sound
In the mosques
And Listen up
The chanting scream of a town that has awoke from oblivion

[1] It is an Arabic expression of pain and frustration “Aah from this world” means “What pain and frustration does this world beget”
[2] Sufi chant in Al Dhikr

1 Comment

  1. A moving poem. “How sweet are the poems? In times of bitter hardship.” How ironic the words, and lovely too.

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