A Blocked Way: by Sherko Bekas

Sherko Bekas

Sherko Bekas

Translation by Freeyad Ibrahim:

Dedicated to the soul of the acclaimed Kurdish poet Sherko Bekas who died this week.

Every time, wanting to meet God

I stand up…stand in the line… stand …

I am instilled in the ground… planted…

Shaking and fall down like leaves.

The queue is long….

Its head begins from my anfal, (1)

The other head from the Christ’s crucifixion.

And it ends not.

And when my turn comes,

as the last one of all

And at the very moment I have almost arrived

at his sacred throne,

suddenly, he gets up and goes away

saying unto me:

(I know who you are.

And why have you come?

Excuse me,

There is no solution for the Kurdish Crisis

Even by me! )



Two love stories to Kirkuk


It was not on purpose…and I don’t know why?

By writing the story of a tree,

I forgot a butchered branch,

in order to remember him,

at night, and in my dreams,

The tree came to my house,

said: my brother I blame you,

for writing about a tree,

without any mention of its big victim- bough,

looks exactly like,

talking about Kirkuk,

but without any mention of (Anwer) ! (2)

2 ـ

In the sky of  (Shorija) (3)

a song slipped away from a beak

of a passionate- charmed bird,

and it fell on a little thorny tree,

in a dead tune

And the spiky tiny tree has blushed.

And in the next season,

the thorny little tree has become in its very place,

a rose of a passionate love ,

and it burst in dancing on Merdan’s  voice .  (4)


(1) The al-Anfal Campaign was a genocidal campaign against the Kurdish people led by the Iraqi Ba’athists.

(2) Anwar was one of the Kirkuk martyrs.

(3) Shorija is a Kurdish quarter in Kirkuk city.

(4) Ali Merdan (1904–1981) was a Kurdish musician, born in Kirkuk and widely regarded as the man who revolutionized the maqam. He launched the Kurdish Radio Station in 1939 in Baghdad. His love for his homeland infuses his art.

Sherko Bekas (194o-2013) was a prominent contemporary poet born Sulaimaniya, Iraq-kurdistan as a son the Kurdish poet Fayik Bekas. He joined the Kurdish Libration Movement in 1965, and worked in the movement’s radio station (the Voice of Kurdistan). He left his homeland because of political pressure from the Iraqi regime in 1986. From 1987 to 1992, he lived in exile in Sweden. In 1992, he returned to Iraqi Kurdistan. He died of cancer in Stockholm, Sweden in 4 August 2013.

FreeyadFreeyad Ibrahim was born in Soran, near Erbil. He was forced to flee Iraq in 1997 and now lives with his family in the Netherlands.  While still in the homeland, he worked as a journalist, translator and essay, article and short story writer. He graduated from the Bagdad University English department in 1981 and a decade later got a masters degree in Arabic language and eastern literature. Today he writes and translates in Kurdish, Arabic, English, Dutch and Farsi. He has written two novels, in Arabic and in Dutch, and is completing two more, in English and Arabic.

Copyright © 2013 Kurdistantribune.com



4 Responses to A Blocked Way: by Sherko Bekas
  1. F.Sorani
    August 9, 2013 | 19:44

    I find it a very accurate translation

  2. Tim Upham
    August 10, 2013 | 04:48

    I taught English as a second language to refugees of the al-Anfal Campaign.

    • Faryad Ibrahim
      August 10, 2013 | 12:03

      Waiting for the second translation.

      Bekas deserves more..

    • Ari Ali
      August 13, 2013 | 02:03

      The refugees that you are teaching are more likely to have escaped the internal civil war between masoud and Jalal 1992- 2003 rather than Al Anfal . Since 1991 , Kurdistan is an american ”protectorate” . Hypocrisy is part of free world values .

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