Yassin's Poems


A Prose-Poem

In Kurdish we say “Bnwa Deta Xawt,” which means, “Sleep in order to reach it in your dreams.” 
We say this for people who talk about things but have no way to get them. 
In my culture, when they say that something is just a dream, they mean it is just imagination and it will never become reality. 
That is why I do not like to dream about what I want and what I am searching for. 
If I see any dream, it is like Dr. King’s dream. 
I see these dreams while I am awake. 
My dream becomes my goal––what I live for and struggle for. 

But the dream you are asking about has an international language. 
Language is never a problem in a dream. 
You find yourself talking to everyone and they understand. 
Never in any of my dreams is someone not speaking Kurdish, even if the person is from China or Germany. 
My cell door is always open in my dream. 
The guard never says no to anything I do in my dream. 
I have contact meetings with my family almost every night. 
I hug my children, I talk to my wife, I play with my baby, and nobody stops me. 
Sometimes I fly. 
I go back to my country, I visit my relatives, I speak to my friends, I carry my flag. 

There is no limitation in these dreams, no borders, no boundaries, and there is nothing called a language problem in these dreams. 
Whatever prevents you from reaching what you need and love in your life will be demolished in these dreams. 
I wish you could travel and take a trip to Kurdistan in your next dream. 
You would find yourself speaking Kurdish like the Kurds, or you would find the Kurds all speaking your language better even than you.

For the second part of your question, about which language I use to express myself when I am writing––
people who know many languages usually express themselves in the language in which they are most fluent.
Generally this is their native language. 
Only when they were inspired by something they heard or saw or read in another language would they be likely to express themselves in this other language. 
My problem is that I did not complete my study of Arabic when I started English. 
It is just like what happened to Mr. President, who before completing his mission in Afghanistan, went into Iraq. 
As we see, he lost both of them. 
That is exactly what happened to my Arabic and English. 
Being isolated in prison from my family and from any native Kurdish speaker has caused me to forget many words in Kurdish too. 

Now I have no real language. 
So I speak from my heart. 
Those who know me and love me and refuse to accept the injustice that was done to me––they understand me. 
And you are one of them. 
You do not care about my misspellings, you don’t worry about my grammar mistakes, and my nonsense sentences do not bother you. 
But still you understand me, because we are human beings. 
We can have a common language, and it is easy to understand each other. 
All we need is a clear heart and pure intentions. 
If not, we will never understand each other, even if we speak the same identical language. 
Keep dreaming.

by Yassin Aref

September 12, 2008

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