Friday, January 15, 2016

Political Arabic Poetry in English: Selected poems by Ahmed Matar

Some of my recent translations from Arabic to English, for Egypt, Iraq, and Syria and Palestine and Burma.


We’re neither dead, nor alive!

لسنا من الأحياءِ في أوطاننا
و لا من الأموات
نهربُ من هروبنا
مخافةَ اعتقالنا
بتهمةِ الحياة !

We are not considered alive, 
among those who are alive in our home
nor among the dead,
We escape from our escapism,
fearing getting arrested,
with the accusation of being alive!


إن كان البترول رخيصًا
فلماذا نقعد في الظلمة؟
و إذا كان ثمينًا جدًا
فلماذا لا نجد اللقمة؟

If oil is so cheap,
then why are we sitting in the darkness?
and if it is so expensive,
then how come we can’t afford a bite to eat?



- ما تهمتي؟
-تهمتك العروبة
-قلت لكم ما تهمتي؟
-قلنا لك العروبة
-ياناس قولوا غيرها.
أسألكم عن تهمتي..
ليس عن العقوبة!

-What's my accusation?
- Your accusation is Arabism.
- I'm telling you again, what's my accusation?
-We told you it's Arabism.
-Oh, come on people! 
Tell me something else!
I'm asking you about my accusation,
not my penalty!

Poems by famous Iraqi poet: Ahmed Matar

For more translation, visit our project's website:

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