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The motherland will always be in his heart

  When Iraqi exiled poet Sadie Youssef walked into the academic exchange venue, accompanied by the British poetess Joanna and the young Chinese entrepreneur and poet Ni Lianbin who funded their visit to China, we noticed his openness and half-heartedness. In the old suit, the black sweater is close to the heart, and the golden necklace has fallen. Ordinary people may not notice that this is not an ordinary pendant, it is clearly a figure of Sadie Youssef’s home country of Iraq. Before and after the Gulf War in 1991, we lived and worked in Iraq for nearly 4 years. There was a map of Iraq hanging on the wall of the office, and we faced it every day. Are you familiar with it? , Hanging the pendant of the figure of the motherland on the chest close to the heart, it must have a special meaning…
  Iraq is the kingdom of myths and poetry, the well-known “One Thousand and One Nights”, the night sky shines like a constellation The “hanging poems” in the Arab and world poetry circles are all produced in that ancient and magical land. Moreover, there is no shortage of famous poets in every era. When we were studying at Peking University in the 1950s, we heard Professor Ma Jian and Professor Liu Linrui introduce the internationally renowned poet Bai Yate. In the early 1960s, our classmate Jing Yunying brought back a copy of Bai Yate Poems from Baghdad, which we have treasured to this day. At that time, the Turkish poet Hikmet, who was as famous in the international poetry circle as Bai Yate, also mentioned in the “Preface” written for this collection of poems that after the fall of the Faisal Dynasty, Bai Yate finally ended his exile and returned to Iraq. . However, in the late 1980s, when we went to work in Iraq, we couldn’t see Bai Yate at the poetry festival held every year. I heard that he still moved abroad all the year round. Once we were invited to attend the Babylonian Art Festival and met Bai Yate’s sister, a famous Iraqi TV host, and when we asked Bai Yate, she looked around vigilantly and said in a low voice: “He is a A free bird, longing for a free sky…” Then he added: “However, even if he lives abroad, he still has no freedom…” This means that he is still under surveillance abroad. From this, it is not difficult to imagine the difficulties and helplessness encountered as a “poet in exile”.
  Sadie Youssef, born in the southern provincial city of Basra in 1934, should be a poet from a later period of his time with Bai Yatien. They were all former members of the Communist Party of Iraq, and Sadie Youssef often described himself as “the last communist”. During the Ba’athist coup in 1962, many Iraqi Communist Party members shed blood on the streets. Years later, the people of Baghdad still have lingering fears when they recall that bloody scene. Neither he nor Bai Yatie was willing to stoop to the “birdcage” and sing praises for the dictator, which was naturally not tolerated by the authorities. Since the 1970s, he has lived in exile in West Asia, North Africa and some European countries until he settled in London in 1998. Since he published his first collection of poems “Pirates” in 1952, he has published more than 40 collections of poems. In addition, he also authored novels, plays and translated a large number of works, including translations of poetry collections by Whitman, Lorgar, Cavafy and more than a dozen contemporary European and American writers. His poems have won many awards, such as the Sultan Avis Poetry Award in the United Arab Emirates, the International Poetry Award in Italy, the Cavafy Poetry Award, etc., and are recognized as the contemporary Arabs of Adonis in Lebanon and Darwish in Palestine. The world’s most influential poet.
  Sadi Youssef talked about the current situation of Arab culture. He said that in the past, there was always a center for Arab culture, such as Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq… But now due to changes in the international situation and various cultural trends that follow Interaction, influence, penetration, and the international role and influence of Arab things are ignored and marginalized. There is no such thing as a whole Arab culture, and no Arab country can represent the whole Arab culture. At present, some institutions in Arab countries, including the Arab League, are just a symbol, a symbol, without much practical significance. Talking about the current situation in Iraq, he said that after the Iraq war, Iraq has actually been divided into three religious and political entities: Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni. He and his relatives are Sunnis and have been living in Basra in the past. Although there is a Shiite settlement there, they have been peaceful. After the Iraq War, the sectarian conflict intensified and his relatives had to move to Baghdad. However, after the Iraq War, Baghdad, even in the “Green Zone” tightly controlled by US troops stationed in Iraq, was frequently attacked by mortars and car bombs. It was one of the areas with the worst security situation in Iraq. Faced with this situation, he could only spread his hands and let out a long sigh… When we asked him to write a sentence or two about his insights into life, he wrote two poems: “Life should let Survival of the fittest – if we were its fittest.” Humans have an inalienable right to live, yet no one living in Iraq today can escape the gloom of death that hangs over their heads. What kind of life is that?!
  ”I am an Arab from Iraq/I am Basra, my home, I am the date palm/I am the river named after me/Allah’s sand is my way, my tent/The pale salivary is My roof, my play space/ And the promise of pearly bays/ Belong to me, sea and sky…/ I am the Euphrates/ It gathers a people, a nation, a nation, every inch of it Water / is a promise of eternal paradise…” (“Certificate of Nationality”). Although he is far away from the motherland, what he cherishes and cannot let go of is still his motherland. Reading his poems for the first time is like listening to a distressed old man babbling on about things in life that are not important to people. For example: “The flowers and plants in the house hang down in the dreary air / Between a table full of ashtrays and a pack of cigarettes / Gas and electricity bills / Boats sailing on the wall / Birds peck the singer’s head (The cover of a CD). / My room is tired of me / It becomes cramped…” (“The frozen life”); another example: “The tiny drops of water begin to lighten the glass windows / There is a kind of air in the air The fragrance of soil and water / Thunder roars in the distance… / I see ants building fortifications in the cracks of the sidewalk / The garden is silent, no birds fly / No leaves sway. / The last sky is also lost in the clouds / The thunder is near In an instant, it started to rain! “(“Summer of Britain”). His poems do not have the traditional Iraqi style of poetry: the boldness and restraint of Mutanabi; the luxury and grace of Abu, Nuwas; the heroic feelings of Abdul Ghani Jamil, Rusa Fei’s mockery and sneering; not even his contemporaries since Yapa, who used traditional metrical poetry and modern free style suddenly, smooth, graceful, straightforward, hazy, full of emotion and colorful. He doesn’t write about grand themes, and he doesn’t use gorgeous words to deliberately create a “poetry” mood. However, this is precisely the quality of his poetry. Taking the two short poems cited above as examples, it can be clearly seen that he is the only one who Only the exiled poet can use such stern and helpless eyes and simple and plain language to view and describe what he has seen, heard, thought and felt. Naturally, such poems are those of high officials, dignitaries or naive and worry-free life. Young men and women disdain. Sadie Youssef, who has always regarded himself as a commoner, said: “Perhaps my real contribution has been to democratize Arabic poetic texts. I try to make poetry less elitist, free it from rhetoric, and use poetry to narrate and write about the lives of ordinary people. At the seminar, Sadie Youssef, Ms. Joanna, Ni Lianbin and Professor Zhong Jikun recited “Berlin, May Day Night”, “A Man Pushing a Cart” and “Neighborhood” in Arabic, English and Chinese respectively. and The Last of the Communists, both embody the qualities of his populist poetry.
  However, in the bland narrative, there will also be aphorisms protruding from the peaks, which are as alarming as the explosion of thunder. As in “Neighbors”: “The retired soldier/(he was almost paralyzed)/every morning, sitting on a chair in front of his house/to smell the faint fragrance from the orchard/and to enjoy the sun…/his wife Sitting next to him too, opened the years/magazines, and the bills…/The retired soldier/(he was almost paralyzed)/His eyes slowly closed/In order to say goodbye to this chair/this home, and him Wife…/ To go to the jungles of Indochina/ To travel through the fields of minefields./ The next mine, which will eventually explode/ One day in the years…” ThisThe first poem was written in London in July 2007. The poet reminds his neighbor, a bleak evening scene of a British veteran who had fought in the Indochina War and was almost paralyzed by landmines, and thinks of those British soldiers who are still mired in the Iraq War. “The next landmine” that “explodes suddenly” in the end?! “America, America”, written in August 1995, is probably his most influential poem, which has been widely featured in many international conferences and poetry festivals recite. He bluntly stated in the poem: “I also love jeans and jazz and Treasure Island / And John Silver’s parrots and New Orleans’ terraces / I love Mark Twain and the powerboats on the Mississippi and Abraham Lincoln’s Dogs / Love the smell of wheat fields and cornfields and Virginia tobacco. / But I’m not American, / Could the ‘ghost’ pilot send me back to the Stone Age just because I’m not American? / I don’t want oil Neither America, nor an elephant nor a donkey/Pilot, leave me a house with a date palm tree branch/I want this wooden bridge, my village, not New York/You soldier armed to the teeth, why? From Nevada to far Basra / To where the fish used to swim to the steps I stay/Take your roaring Phantom planes, take your Tomahawk missiles/Never mind my damning doom, I don’t need your Resurrection Day…” Despite his dictatorship of the Ba’ath Party and Saddam Hussein They are deeply disgusted and inexorable, but in the face of the “Gulf War” and “Iraq War” launched by the United States and the United Kingdom, they unequivocally resist and oppose: “Don’t worry about my cursed doom, I don’t need your Resurrection Day! “Opposition to dictatorship in no way means that a soldier “armed to the teeth” with Phantom planes and Tomahawk missiles “from Nevada” can occupy his homeland at will and “send him back to the Stone Age”! To him For their homeland, they are occupiers. And the fate of the occupiers, he predicted more than once, waiting for them is “The Noose Fastened”: “Baghdad, in every era, barbarians come to covet / But she fastened the noose.”; ” It’s also a landmine”: “The next landmine will eventually explode / One day in the years…”
  At the symposium, we said that although he was in exile abroad, judging from his poems such as “Certificate of Nationality” and “Umm Qasr”, he and his motherland have always had an eternal bloodline. Sadie Youssef said with a smile: “Of course! It was the Euphrates and the Tigris that raised me, my nation, my country. Although I became British, I will always be Iraqi!” , he picked up the pendant hanging on his chest and showed it to everyone. It was given to him by the owner of a gold jewelry store when he learned that he was an Iraqi poet when he and the British poetess Joanna visited Sweden in 2000. Since then, he has kept this Iraqi figure pendant hanging on his chest at the place closest to his heart…

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