Persian Poetry: For Rosenbergs

A Column

By Mehdi Bagheri

News was brief
They executed them!

Little girl grieved
Her lips twitched
Tears filled her weary eyes
She cried

And I, in a sore endeavour
Hid my tears

With teary eyes, she asked
Why did they execute them?

My girl, my dear
It’s a surprising world there
Lies and hatred rule there
Gold, the elixir of mans’ life
Is granted godhood there

In a surprising world
Many centuries ago
The infamy of tormenting Blacks
still the stain on their past,
Humans and rights
Are the vain words there,
Bloodshed, theft, murder
Is what’s allowed there
And Freedom’s hands
Is what is chained there

My girl, my dear
Because of their feud with me
Because of their feud with you
Because of their feud with truth
They executed them

And the time when comrades
With chants of life
Were going towards death
A familiar promise
Smiled like a flower in their gaze

They were singing in delight of life
And ‘till the end
They remained loyal
To their clear way

My dear
Stand, wipe the tears off your face
You live in me, I live in you
We never die

You and I with thousands of others
Are going to follow this way
Victory is going to be ours
The future is going to be ours
With all the welfare and joyfulness

My dear
The world is becoming prosperous
And today from the blood of martyrs
That each tulip comes to breathe
Is the promise for the freedom days

Houshang Ebtehaj (lit. Sayeh)
(Translated by Mehdi Bagheri)

The Poem “For Rosenbergs”, was written by Houshang Ebtehaj, one of the most famous contemporary Persian poets, more than 65 years ago during the cold war era, after the execution of Julious and Ethel Rosenberg in the United States of America. The poem is a pure dedication to those who fought for freedom and social welfare. Politically, it speaks against capitalism and global power structures. However, without having any political attachments, the poem can still touch the readers` hearts on the subject of human rights. It is depicted through Rosenbergs and all those who had sacrificed their lives for the future generation’s freedom and their fundamental human rights. 

I want to dedicate this translation to all the freedom fighters around the world, especially those in South Africa who sacrificed a lot for my generation to enjoy the fruits of the freedom tree that they had planted during the horrors of Apartheid.

Let us not forget about the human rights activists and political prisoners around the world and their voices of salvation, when it does not even come at a cost to us. Let us not forget women’s rights activists who are fighting for their rights and with faith in their hearts that our daughters will not have to go through what they had to experience.

Together, with blends of art, poetry and politics we can defeat oppressors.