The actors by Nizar Qabbani (excerpt)
Ever since there is a rule of law in our city
The pirates anchor ships in our ports
While people hide themselves under their beds
Mortified by terror and depression.
Ever since the tears were shed in our city
Those heavy tears that eyelids cannot hold,
Around us everything falls down:
The sun, the stars, the mountains,
The valleys, night and day,
the sea, the shore, the God, the man.
Ever since the helmets occupied the city
They act like Gods and
Issue orders to their slaves,
And make them satisfy all whims they have.
They squash, they grind, they kill and banish slaves
Who’re owned exclusively by them.
Ever since authority became a kind of prostitution
And our history is turned into a mopping rag,
Since then they change ideas oftentimes like shoes.
Ever since the wind blows solely by decree of Sultan
And grains of wheat in our fields
Don’t sprout if there is no decree.
And drops of water that we drink
Come only by decree of His,
Whole nation has become
A cattle fed in Sultan’s pen,
Our children choke to death in mothers’ wombs,
If they are not miscarried or aborted.
Since then black guillotine falls onto our squares
Disguised as sunlight.
Translated by ukranistani