“Boycott”

One of this blogger’s favorite Arab poets is Mutran Khalil Mutran. Mutran was also famous for translating several of Shakespeare’s plays into Arabic He was born in Ottoman Syria but moved to Egypt where he did much of his work. His peers included Ahmed Shawqi, Mahmoud El-Barudi and others. He was one of many fine Arab poets in the late 19th and early 20th century.

“Boycott”  مقاطعة , written in a tone of exceptional defiance, is worth reproducing given recent events.

شـرّدوا أخيارها بحراً وبــرا

واقتلوا أحـرارها حراً فحرا

إنما الصـالح يبقى صالحاً

آخر الدهـر ويبقى الشر شرا

كسروا الأقلام هل تكسيرها

يمنع الأيدي أن تنفش الصخرا

قطعوا الأيدي هل تقطيعها

يمنع الأعين أن تنظـر شزرا

اطفئوا الأعين هل إطفاؤها

يمنع الأنفاس أن تصعد زفرا

أخمدوا الأنفاس ، هذا جهدكم

وبه منجاتنا منكم…فشكرا

A quick and crude translation:

Displace our best by land and by sea!

And kill our free, freedman after freedman [one by one]!

But in the long run good will remain good

And evil will remain evil.

Snap our pens! Will breaking them

Stop our hands from carving into stones?

Cut off our hands! Will hacking them off

Keep our eyes from casting our glare upon you?

Poke out our eyes! Will blinding us

Stop our chest(s) from breathing exasperated sighs?

Smother our breathing!

For that is the extent of your powers [For that is your effort or power] —

And in it lays our salvation. Thank you.

Forgive excesses and erors in the translation.

2 thoughts on ““Boycott”

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