Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tahrir Poem: ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

Signs: ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves[1]

A leader ruled for thirty years and with him, the country sank down into the mud.

It became clear they were a gang and they organized a syndicate against the people.

The country’s condition is worsening; it reaches its hands out to other nations—and mews.

All of our weapons come from abroad, and Israel has put us in a jar.

They sold all of Egypt for their own profit; all that’s left is her skin.

They left her green land to be defiled, houses—factories—smoke

Only a few acres remained; Now they’re gone too, you cursed sons

Listen, oh people, to my words: Hang the pharaoh—and live in peace.

[1] Translator’s note: The original poem, written in colloquial Egyptian, looks as though it will follow the classical ‘umudi (dual hemistich) structure, which would be unusual for ‘ammiyya poetry. However, it is not the end of each line (bayt) that rhymes with the all others throughout the poem, as in classical poetry; rather, the first hemistich of each line rhymes with the second.