Louis Esterhuizen. Digkuns as die vlam wat vure aanwakker

 

Heel dikwels hoor ‘n mens die opmerking dat die digkuns eintlik maar net soort van ‘n gemoedelike sitkamerspeletjie is; dat dit nou nie éíntlik iets wesenliks in die mens of in die samelewing kan verander nie … En tog wil dit voorkom asof dinge ánders gesteld is in die Midde-Ooste; ‘n streek wat nie net al kan spog met ‘n indrukwekkende lys digters nie, maar ook ‘n streek waar die digters baie ernstig opgeneem word; in dié mate dat die digkuns voorgehou word as die hoë-oktaan petrol wat die vlamme van verset aanwakker.

So was dit verlede jaar met die onluste in Tunisië en Egipte. En so is dit tans die geval in Sirië.

Presies ‘n jaar gelede het Mazen Maarouf soos volg in Al Jazeera oor die opstande in Tunisië geskryf: “The uprisings in Tunisia were started neither by political action nor a military coup led by officers or opposition parties. Instead, the blade raised against the regime was made of banners and chants. And none cut more deeply than Abu al-Qasim al-Shabbi’s poem, The Will to Live, which begins: “When the people demand freedom, Destiny must surely respond.”

 

Adonis

En nou het daar nóg ‘n artikel deur die Siriese digteres Ghada al-Atrash in Al Jazeera verskyn waarin sy juis die digkuns uitsonder as die dryfkrag agter die verset teen heersende magte: “Today there is literature coming out of Syria that we could have never even dreamed of just a few years ago,” skryf sy. “Rather than relying on metaphors and allegorical images, these new poems rely on literal, visceral descriptions, with a newfound emphasis on a united Syrian identity instead of religious symbols […] It’s not just the content that is new. Syrian poetry is also being spread through different channels. Instead of being introduced at formal gatherings or readings, Syrian poets often debut their work at public demonstrations, or on social networking sites such as Facebook.”

Maar dat hierdie ‘n gevaarlike stand van sake is, is gewis. ‘“Poets and writers are disappearing across the country,” het die Siriese skrywer Ghias al-Jundi aan Al Jarzeera gesê. “Syrian writers are caught between a double danger: the regime and the Islamists. It is a risk to write or utter a word. Most of the poets I talk to knew there was a risk of death, imprisonment or exile if you write the truth. And even if they flee, they can also be killed abroad.’

Gaan lees gerus die volledige artikel.

By wyse van groet wil ek egter nog twee gedeeltes uit Mazen Maarouf se vroeëre stuk aanhaal:

“However, the mission of the poet today, in the midst of mass uprisings and revolution, is different. It is more precise, direct and fateful. The poets must articulate their words clearly and sharply to agitate people while knowing it can be deadly. The agents of the regime may prosecute the poet at any moment, which means that the written poem might be a final word. The poet cannot deny it later.”

“Today even the most subtle poem in the Middle East has the power to incite, stimulate, excite, move, charge and nourish. Poetry is not a product of the bureau or the room, it is no more an ode recited between the walls of a classroom. It is now cultivated on the street, in the square and the alleys, in meeting rooms both real and on-line. The protestors are now the new paper for the poet, the medium of the poem. In the street nobody is silent, nobody is whispering the poem, they chant it defiantly.

For the Syrian poet Ibrahim al-Kashoush, known as the Bulbul of Hamah, his poem that begins “Freedom is at the door/ Bashar leave” proved not only fateful, but fatal. His body was found in the Assi River, tortured with his throat removed.

But even the death of a poet cannot silence his throat, as his words jump from mouth to mouth, floating on the breath of the protestors. It slips from the hands of the regime men; how can they stop a poem?”

Inderdaad. Hoe kan die impak van ‘n gedig óóít bereken word?!

Nietemin, nog verbandhoudende berigte oor dié aangeleentheid kan hier en hier gevind word. Die eerste heen handel oor die Islamitiese vrou en hoe die digkuns aan haar ‘n “stem” gee, en die tweede oor Günter Grass, Israel en dit was as die “crime of poetry” beskryf word.

Hieronder volg ‘n gedig deur een van die Siriese digters.

*

GOD THE UNBELIEVER

God! Tell me the truth!
My enemies say:
               “Everybody wants . . .” and so on.
And my enemies’ enemies say:
               “Everybody wants . . .” and so on.
As for me, since you created all of them and all of them,
I still – being assured of your integrity and justness –
Raise my hand
Like a schoolchild threatened with expulsion,
But, without end,
Getting no one’s permission to say a thing.

God! Oh God!
God of the worms, the vegetation, the cattle and the creatures that weep
Have you been mocking me, perhaps?! . .
What everybody says means that there’s an “everybody” which is right
               And another “everybody” which is also right.
What everybody says means that I don’t exist.
What everybody says means that nobody except everybody exists.
What they say means
              That you’ve been mocking me.

 
©
Nazih Abou Afach

NOTA: Hierdie gedig is in Junie 2011 deur Asad Jaber namens die digter voorgelees tydens die Poetry International Festival in Rotterdam.

 

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