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The Other Side of Darkness*
By Laila al-Othman
Gentlemen: Yes, yesterday has ended. The sun ended the joys of our weddings, our circumstances have deteriorated our thoughts retarded wolves have torn off our flesh
Gentlemen: The fruits of our fields are dried up, the heaven’s produce drained, no single rose no single cloud only night’s darkness remained and a fragment of a mirage...
Gentlemen: Yesterday has ended. The sun has set the birds flown away, the crows occupied our homes
dreaming of crippling us extinguishing the flame of youth in our spirits.
Alas, should cave–dwellers take over allowing the gouging of the eyes, amputating the noses, burying women alive subjecting us to the rule of the sword
Gentlemen: What will remain here? If they fetter the nightingale, disturb the day restrict speech, cut strings, and tear apart the drums of our weddings?
Gentlemen: What will remain if tumors spread, tunes are stilled pens are broken if the best of literature is burned?
What will remain, O’homeland abundant in wealth, lightened by the stars? The sparrows which became hawks deny us joy confiscate our morning and close the doors to guests.
Attention Gentlemen: They plant thorns in women’s ways counter enlightenment with darkness spread in our country as a plague. Come together and cooperate brothers. Protect “the country of light” from the evil of misfortune
Translated from the Arabic by the late Noel Abdulahad
This poem appeared in Al Jadid, Vol. 7, no. 36 (Summer 2001)
*This text by Laila al-Othman is part of her response to the charges leveled against her by Kuwaiti prosecutors.(For more on the case against the Kuwaiti author see Al Jadid, Vol. 5, no. 29, 1999.) The Arabic text appeared in the Lebanese daily As Safir.