Posted by: hevallo | November 14, 2007

The Kurds have been struggling for thousands of years for their freedom.

The Kurds have been struggling for a nation for thousands of years.

Ehmede Xani, the Kurdish philosopher and poet, put it very well in 1692, when writing of the situation of the Kurds then, he wrote the poem, Our Trouble:

Our Trouble

Bartender, for the love of God, please
Pour some wine into the crystal glass. [6]

Let the glass of wine reveal to the world.
Let there appear here whatever we wish.

Let events ahead of us come to light.
Let us know if the future holds promise for us.

Look, our misfortune has reached its peak.
Will conditions improve, do you think?

Or will they remain,
Until upon us comes the end of time?

Is it possible, I wonder, that for us, too,
A star will emerge out of the firmament?

Let lady luck be on our side for once.
Let there emerge from within us, too

One to shoulder the earth.
Let there be a king of our own.

Let his sword attest to our might.
Let the might of is pen be known.

Let there be an answer to our trouble.
Let there be a demand for our knowledge.

If we had an exalted leader,
Of good deeds wanting a poem,

Our bullion, too, would be stamped.
It would not be so unwanted and suspect.

However pure and clean they may be,
Value is added to gold and silver with a stamp.

If we had a king,
If God saw him deserving of a crown,

If a throne was appointed to him,
Our luck would turn around.

If he was provided with a crown
O course, for us, there would be respect.

He would feel sorry for us orphans.
He would set us free from bondage to the craven.

They would not be victorious over us, these Turks.
Ours would not turn into ghost towns.

We would not become fugitives: dispossessed, wretched.
We would not bow our head in defeat to the Turks, the Tadjiks.

Although it is disgraceful to be their subjects,
This disgrace belongs to the persons of repute.

This is a matter of honor of the chiefs, the leaders!
What can the troubadours and the dispossessed do?

Whoever took the mighty sword in his hand,
Established in manly manner a state.

Because the world is like a prize bride,
Its fate, too, determined by the mighty sword.

But its dowry, trousseau, jewels and wedding presents
Are goodness, generosity, kindness and forgiveness.

I asked the world, “What is your dowry?”
“Benevolence”, it said to me.

In short, “With the sword and goodness,
The world submits and bows its head to man.”

I am puzzled by God’s wisdom:
In this world of states,

Why have the Kurds remained stateless, dispossessed?
For what crime have they become fugitives, condemned?

Like a great wall, the Kurds stand between the Turks and the Persians.
Here and there are the Kurds, occupying all four corners. [7]

Both sides make the Kurdish clans
Targets of their poison-tipped arrows.

As if the Kurds hold the key to crossing the borders,
Each clan is as strong as a great wall.

Yet however rough and stormy they get,
This Turkish ocean and Persian sea,

It is the Kurds who are spattered with blood
And, like a rampart, separate the two.

Generosity, benevolence, bravery,
Chivalry, guardianship and valor,

All are credited to the Kurdish clans.
The fame of their sword and their benevolence is far-flung.

To the same extent, they cherish freedom and independence.
It is submission and obligation they detest.

Yet this spirit of independence and exalted benevolence
Has become the obstacle to shouldering the burden of obligation.

Because of this, they are always without unity,
Divided and pitched against one another, they stand.

If we had unity amongst ourselves,
If we all, together, obeyed one another,

The Turks, the Arabs and the Persians
Would one and all be in our servitude.

Then would we perfect the art of government and religion.
Then would we acquire all wisdom and command all nature.

Wheat would be separated from the chaff
And the real achievers would come forth.

1: Xani refers to the tradition of writing in Arabic and Persian

2: ‘Books’ refers to the Holy Books of the Torah, the Bible and the Quran

3: Ciziri, Heriri and Teyra are three masters of the Kurdish Literature preceding Xani

4: ‘Counterfeit jewels’ presumably refers to Arabic and Persian words

5: Mirza is Kurdish for ‘prince’ and is also used as a name for a male

6: Xani refers to the legendary crystal ball of the ancient King Jamshid who could see into the future

7: ‘four corners’ relates to the saying ‘Four Corners of the world’



  1. Thank you for this one…Best Kurdish poem I have read…

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