“Do Not Say, ‘Allahu Akbar'”

A poem by the famous and renowned Arab poet, Ahmad Matar. Translated by myself, today.

I do not interpret this poem as a justification for terrorism or political/religious violence, but rather as an expression of the desperation in the Arab world, and an opinion on the factors behind the violence of the region.
فهمت الآن ياولدي *** لماذا قلت لا تكبر ؟
فمصرٌ لم تعٌد مصراَ *** وتونس لم تعد خضرا

Do you understand now, o son of mine,
Why I said, “Do not exclaim ‘Allahu Akbar'”?**

For Egypt is no longer Egypt,
And Tunisia is no longer green.

وبغدادٌ هي الأٌخرى *** تذوق خيانة العسكر
وإن تسأل عن الأقصى *** فإن جراحهم اقسى

And Baghdad is another,
Which has tasted the treason of the military;

And if you ask of al-Aqsa,
Their wounds are even more harsh.

بني صهيون تقتلهم *** ومصرٌ تغلق المعبر
وحتى الشام يا ولدي *** تموت بحسرةٍ أكبر

The sons of Zion are killing them,
And Egypt closes the border crossing!

And even Sham, o my son,*
Is dying with an agony most great;

هنالك لوترى حلبا *** فحق الطفل قد سٌلِبا
وعرِض فتاةُ يٌغتصبا *** ونصف الشعب في المهجر

Over there, if you see Aleppo,
The right of the child there has been stolen.

And the honor of a young woman has been usurped,
And half of the people are in exile;

صغيري إنني أرجوك *** لا تكبر فأُمتنا مٌمزّقةٌ
وأٌمتنا مقسّمةٌ *** وكل دقيقةً تخسر

My little one, I am imploring you;
Do not say “Allahu Akbar”, for our nation is ripped to pieces.

And our nation is fragmented,
And every minute is a loss.

وحول الجيد مشنقةٌ *** وفي أحشائها خنجر
هنا سيسي هنا سبسي *** هنا حوثي هنا حفتر

And surrounding the neck is a gallows,
And plunged in its limbs is a dagger.

Here is Sisi, here is Sisi,
Here is a “Houthi”, here is “Haftar”.

هنا إيران وأمريكا *** وإسرائيل و ابن عمر
هنا عربي يخذلنا *** ومسلم جاء ينحرنا

Here is Iran, and America,
And Israel, and the son of Umar.

Here is an Arab, who forsakes us,
And a Muslim, who comes to slaughter us.

و إرهابي يفجرنا ولاندري لِم فجّر

And a terrorist blows us up,
And we don’t know why he blows up!

*Sham – can mean the Levant, Syria or Damascus. In this context it refers to Syria.

**”Allahu Akbar” – the phrase meaning, “God is Greatest”, used by Muslims in the call to prayer (and in other contexts).


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