In 1983, an estimated 8000 men and boys as young as 13 from the village of Barzan were killed under Saddam Hussein’s Al-Anfal campaign; a genocidal campaign against the Kurdish population. Most, taken from their homes, on their way home from school, or at random.
Throughout the night they sing,
Songs from 8000 nightingales waiting for dawn,
For their song will foresee, if she remembers his cry,
His valorous soar when he teared above mountain lids,
Or perhaps her bare nest, laid unadorned with August’s lament.
Love notes ascend across skies, declaring a tale of sorrow, innocence and pride,
Cherishable their ballad to her endured mind, her jaded ears,
Yet only at sunrise she hears him bewailing in the wind,
His essence flickering past twenty one gleams to reach her vacant heart,
For he knows he would never have learned to fly, had he not left her nest.
8000 nightingales touched the sky to sing for them at dawn,
Towards the golden sun they flew, amidst a yearning beneath their wings,
Throughout the night they sing, for their song will foresee, if she remembers his cry or why he left her nest to reach the sun in the sky.
NOTE: The nightingale bird represents love and longing, a symbolic bird that sings in the dark – in fact, only male nightingale birds sing. The most lyrical of all birds, their songs suggest to the female nightingales that they would make a great father to their children if given the chance.
Translated into Kurdish by M. Bakr.