Friday, February 25, 2011


These days I can't but remember Gamal Abdel Nasser.  The Arab people are now finding unity in demands, hopes and aspirations, real unity from the bottom up not from the top down. 

Was this his vision?  Even if it wasn't, he sure would have been happy and proud to see it.

English translation below original Arabic poem.  Audio of me reading the poem (Arabic) can be found here:


من بعيد لمحته في وسط الميدان
باين عليه تعب السنين
رافع العلم بإيده اليمين
وفــ إيده الشمال خريطة وطن

نظرة رضا مليا عينيه
باينه حقيقي الفرحة عليه
ما بيهتفش مع الهاتفين
بس الناس حواليه سمعوه
بيقول : ثورتكم جواكم
ما إتوأدتش سنة سبعين
مهما حاولت أقرب منه
أبداً ما قدرتش أوصل له
لكن غيري كتير لاحظوه
مش هنا بس في التحرير
في سيدي بوزيد
 من فترة شافوه
وفــ صنعاء قرب الجامعة
وعند الدوار في البحرين
وفــــ عمّان والدار والبصرة
وفـــ ساحة أول مايو في العاصمة ...
قالوا الأمن هناك ضربوه
وفــــ بني غازي
  فـــ الشارع اللي إسمه على إسمه
المرتزقة هجموا عليه
لكن ما قدروش يأذوه
شابين جريوا عليه وحموه
أخدوه ... خبوه
لـمّا الصبح طلع
سألوه :
شكلك مصري يا أستاذنا
ومصر دي دايماً بتعلمنا ،
الفقرا لو ليهم الجنة ،
في الدنيا دي نصيبهم إيه ؟
قال لازم تاخدوا حقوقكم منهم
وإبقوا إتحاسبوا هناك في الآخرة *
حتفضل مشتعلة
طول ما قابيل
ظالم أخوة

وأخد علمه
وخارطة وطنه
وقام يمشي مع الملايين
إيهاب لُطَيِّف
مونتريال ، 18 فبراير 2011
* مستوحاة من خطاب لجمال عبد الناصر أبآن التأميم في الستينات.


From far away I spotted him
in the middle of the square
Age apparent on his face
Carrying a flag in his right hand 
and in his left, 
the map of the Arab world

Calmness in his gaze
Content on his face
He wasn’t yelling with the masses
But those close by, heard him say
Your revolution was always in you
It didn’t die in nineteen-seventy

No matter how many times
I tried to reach him
I never could
Yet many others saw him
not only me
And not only here in Tahrir

He was in Sidi Bouzaid
some weeks ago
In Sana’a, near the university
At the roundabout in Bahrain
In Amman, Casablanca, Basra
In the Square in Algiers 
(where I was told a soldier beat him)
And in Benghazi
--on the street that bears his name-- 
mercenaries chased him
but couldn’t hurt him
Two young men whisked him away
and billeted him for the night

At daybreak over tea, 
they sat chatting:
Respected elder, you look Egyptian
and Egypt always was a beacon
if the poor own the hereafter
Do they get nothing in this world?
He sat up and replied:
Go and fight for your rights
and let them challenge you in front of God
There will be uprisings always
as long as Cain abuses Abel

Saying this 
he picked up his flag
reached for his map
and took off 
to march again
with the Millions

Ehab Lotayef
Montreal, Feb. 18, 2011

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