Oh Warrior of My Sacred Land


This brilliant, powerful poem was a real delight to translate, especially since - for the first time in five years - we were able to welcome back leading broadcaster Dawood Azami, one of the BBC World Service's finest correspondents.

'Oh Warrior of My Sacred Land' was written by Durrani on 6th December 2001, only weeks after the US and Coalition forces entered Afghanistan, ostensibly in response to the events of 11th September. In the poem, Durrani asks his people to recognise that they are being manipulated by foreigners who foment unrest and flood the country with guns.

As usual with translations, it was the tiny details we grappled with. For example, we chose to go with 'mutual enemy' rather than the more usual 'common enemy' because of the echoes of Dickens's Our Mutual Friend and the irony that brought.

We were really impressed with the way in which Durrani, by personifying guns and saying how these inanimate objects steal the human agency of those conned into using them to wreak havoc on their brothers. A deceptively simple poem with a powerful, resonant message.

Sarah Maguire, Workshop Facilitator

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