Yassin's Poems

All poems, text, translations are from Son of Mountains, My Life as a Kurd and a Terror Suspect by Yassin Aref.  © Copyright 2008 by Yassin Aref. All rights reserved.


To my surprise, I am standing
on the top of a high mountain
I look back on my life
I can see it as though I am dreaming

                                    ––Kurdish poem


To them our mountains are big and hard
Rocks and jungles for the criminal rebel
For us they are the lion’s land
A castle of dignity for the strong
The mother protector of all peshmerga *
Fighting for freedom.
*Kurdish militia, freedom fighters



The beautiful Kurdish baby
Was nursing at his mother’s breast
Under the warm rays of the sun
While his mother quietly watched him
Thinking of his future
Hoping he would grow up faster.

Like a sudden crash of thunder
An army of hatred and evil
Rushed into the village
Kidnapped the baby
And dragged the mother with them,
Away to prison.


O Saywan Hill––
I am here looking for my mom’s grave.
Please tell me where it is.

I am really sorry.
I have all the stories,
I want to tell them to my mom.

Mommy, can you hear me?
I am very glad,
Thanking Almighty God
That you have lain down
In Saywan,
The hill of dignity,
The home of Kurdish poets,
The land of the murdered peshmerga,
The place of great scholars.


the Persian poet wrote:
In this world, no one is without sorrow and compassion.
If there is such a man, he would not be human.
Another Arab poet, Ahmad Matar, wrote:
In any Arab country,
If an educated person
Shows any sign of his intelligence,
He is a fool!

[by Insane Hussein]:
Oh stranger, Garibah, please don’t go
My dear, don’t leave me alone
Stay here and sit down
Let me put my head on your leg
Allow me to look in your eyes
Let me tell you my whole story.


Behold the lily (nergz)
With the sweet scent of spring.
How wonderful the spring
That starts with Nawroz.
Nawroz tells me of history
Shows me the way to victory
Teaches me the meaning of freedom
And of living proudly with dignity.



For you, a castle, gold, and joy
For me, the hard way of struggling
You live for yourself and you die for yourself
But I live for the Kurds, and I will die for Kurdistan
[by Kamaran Mukri]


Many tyrants by genocide
Try to erase the Kurds from memory
But their failure in these mountains
Has become an example for history.
This land is Kurdistan,
Cemetery of invaders!
[by Kamaran Mukri]
Note:  these two poems have been translated from Kurdish to English from memory by the author.



Not only me,
But all my fellow stateless ones
In our unknown country––
We say proudly
That whoever wants to know
Our bitter history,
Let them search––
It will not be fun.
All they will see
Is a dramatic tragedy,
A tear-filled calamity,
Of a homeless life’s memory.




Halajba––The running stream of tears
That flows like springs from Kurdish eyes
And cascades down our cheeks.
Halabja––Tells the history
Of how we faced the enemy
And how much Kurds have sacrificed
For dignity and freedom.

Bloody Halabja––The unhealed wound
Deep in the soul of Kurdish people
The Kurdish sign of national identity.




In all this world
I only own
My mind and heart
My soul and poetry
I want to sacrifice them all
For Halabja’s bitter memory.




When I hear about
A garden high and fertile,
For me it means: a high mountain,
Tall trees, mild weather,
Cold, sweet, running water,
Birds with many songs.

When I hear about
A desert,
Surely I expect to see:
A flat, wide, plain land,
Hot, dry, with tornadoes
Bringing dust and mirages.

But when I hear Anfal
I lose my mind with sadness,
Too much pain,
Because today Anfal
Means the genocide
Of 180,000 innocent Kurds.
An unknown nation,
A stateless people.



I don’t want to open those wounds,
I am not singing that old song,
But there is the Fact.
I will ask for all time––
Anfal’s victims,
A hundred and eighty thousand
Innocent Kurds––
Where are they?



Hama Rash

Half of your life
You gave to the mountains
Under the snow
In the cold and the frost

Half in Garmian
With the tornado
Hot winds around you
You slept in the dirt

Rocks were your pillow
The sky was your blanket
You took nothing yourself
But gave all to the Kurds.



Freeing the City

Never will I forget the day
When all of us joined together
And by singing and clapping
Freed ourselves and our city
From the grip of our enemy.


Real Spring

This is our birthday
The beginning of new life and new history.
Joyfully we welcome you
With all our beloved peshmerga
Back to your homes in our city.
Look at the smiling nergz [lilies]
Sending us the glad tidings
Nawroz is coming! Nawroz is coming!
Now it is the real spring.

Your face has the look of fear.
Forget the past.  It is over.
Our people––our nation,
Black and white, rich and poor
All are coming together.

Give me your hand
We must go back to the mountains
To find uncle’s grave
Raise the flag above his head
Let him and all his murderers know
That now we are free
And this is the fruit of their blood.




Please don’t ask from where I come
It hurts and makes all my wounds bleed
I‘m a stranger since they took my home
I have no land and no country
I have no state, I have no flag.
My nation now lies anywhere
In all the world I choose to be
But still I am not living free
Nor do I carry an identity
That’s truly representing me.



O fascism, never try
To occupy this land again.
You must now know
That slavery’s done
And life has changed.

Not only children
And not just women
But even rocks and trees
Are all peshmerga
Against you.

This Is the Second Part of Imagine

You thought a Kurd
Was like the snow on a mountain
Which your hot rain would melt.
You did not think
About the anger in the wind.
When it starts it will break down
The black cloud of your time,
And blow it away.

As a Kurdish poet wrote *:
I swear by mountains
I will move the entirety of Kurdistan whole
To my tiny room
In the foreign land

I am like the poet Hemin Mukriyani; I say *
Oh friends, whom I will never forget––
I am a wanderer now, if you recognize me, if you see me!
* Note:  these two poems have been translated from Kurdish to English from memory by the author.


Let the People Enjoy Independence

When they say
“Kirkuk is Kurdistan’s Jerusalem”
They lie.
If not a lie, why did they not rise
Like Palestine’s children with rocks
To free Kirkuk for the Kurds?

It is enough. Shout no more.
Kirkuk is Kurdistan’s heart.
All Kurds know that,
For your own benefit,
You sold not only Kirkuk
But the rest of Kurdistan too.



Pashew* spoke out loudly against them
Crying and calling like a hawk,
“Our flag has become just an old piece of cloth.”
I joined my voice with his:
“Shame on you.  Shame on you.”
We recovered a little piece of our land
But you separated it into two.
*Abdulla Pashew, Kurdish poet



If you claim to be independent and free
Never be shy.
Before you obey any order that’s given
Always ask why.

Don’t imitate others, or copy someone
Or believe in a lie.
Try to understand first if it really is true
If not, then deny.

Sheikh Uthman

Today is the day of mourning
Kurdistan is quiet and sad
People are waiting,
Searching for the way
Looking always for news…news.
People all whisper to each other
Sheikh Uthman is on his way
Coming back from Damascus in Sham,
Coming home to Halabja.

Oh, great Guide––
Sheikh, Imam and teacher––
Open your eyes for one last time.
See how you plan has unfolded,
See what your preaching has brought

Oh Halabja, City of Peace,
Will it be poisonous gas
Or Sheikh Uthman himself
That will make you known to everyone
All across the world?

Oh Sharazur
Be proud and happy––
Tell Ibn Salah 
That the great scholar Uthman
Today is coming to be his guest

Oh Halabja,
Raise your head up
Even higher than Hawramans Mountains.
It is enough for you to be proud
That you brought up for the Kurds
And all Muslims and the world
Such an Imam and scholar.

Sham is the ancient land that is now Syria.
Sharazur is the area in Sulaimaniya Province in which Halabja is located. It was also an ancient city.
Ibn Salah was a scholar of Sharazur Province who lived 500–600 years ago. His most famous book is Ulom
   Hadith (Science of Hadith), the latter being oral traditions relating to the words, deeds, and teaching of
   Prophet Mohammad.
The Hawramans Mountains (the Avroman Range) are about thirty miles from Halabja.


Prophet Mohammad, may peace be upon him: 
Fear God wherever you are.
Do good deeds to wash away your sins.
Show the People a gracious manner.
Deal with them in the manner that you want them to deal with you.

the Arabic poem,
Don’t say goodbye,
Say, see you later.
If not on earth,
We’ll meet in heaven.

Martin Luther King

History is full of kings
Who sought power,
And all that power brings––
Palaces, food, women,
Drinking and pleasure.
I do not love these kings,
And put my faith only
In the King of heaven,
While on earth, humans need
A leader to serve––not enslave.

Martin Luther King was different.
He was a real king––a leader who
Served, and taught, and gave, and never
Took favors from others,
Or sought power for himself.

He was a victim of racism,
But still he kept faith
In his vision that all people
Are equal as brothers
Having the same father.

He had a dream to one day
See them all gathered together
Living free with dignity
Supporting one another
As equals under the law
Now and forever!
I love now two kings:
The great King in heaven
And my brother Martin Luther,
Who struggled on earth to bring
God’s justice and peace to all.


All poems, text, translations are from Son of Mountains, My Life as a Kurd and a Terror Suspect by Yassin Aref.  © Copyright 2008 by Yassin Aref. All rights reserved.

May 27, 2008

This site is maintained by Lynne Jackson of Jackson's Computer Services