via NPR, All Things Considered:
Tunisian Poet's Verses Inspire Arab Protesters
January 30, 2011
Among the chants and slogans of protesters on the streets of Egypt are the words of an early 20th century Tunisian poet. The poem has become a rallying cry both in Egypt and in Tunisia.
Our top story this hour, of course, the ongoing demonstrations in Egypt. Thousands of protesters are still gathered in cities across that country despite a government curfew. Demonstrators are vowing to keep up the pressure until President Hosni Mubarak steps down.
And among the chants and slogans in those crowds are the words of an early 20th century Tunisian poet named Abdul Qasim al Shabi.
One of his most famous poems has become a rallying cry both in Egypt, and before, in Tunisia. The poem is called "To the Tyrants of the World"
To the Tyrants of the World
"To the Tyrants of the World"
Lover of darkness
Enemy of life
You have ridiculed the size of the weak people
Your palm is soaked with their blood.
You deformed the magic of existence
and planted the seeds of sorrow in the fields.
Wait, don't be fooled by the spring,
the clearness of the sky or the light of dawn.
For on the horizon lies the horror of darkness
Rumble of thunder and blowing of winds.
Beware, for below the ash there is fire
And he who grows thorns reaps wounds.
Look there, for I have harvested the heads of mankind
and the flowers of hope,
and I watered the heart of the earth with blood.
I soaked it with tears until it was drunk.
The river of blood will sweep you,
and the fiery storm will devour you.
[Special thanks to Adel Iskandar for the English translation.]
Ela Toghat Al Alaam (Arabic: الى طغاة العالم, English: To the Tyrants of the World) is a poem written in the early 1900s by the Tunisian poet Abo Al Qassim Al Shabbi (Arabic: أبو القاسم الشابي) during the French occupation of Tunisia. [Via Wikipedia]
ألا أيها الظالم المستبد
حبيب الظلام عدو الحياه
سخرت بأنات شعب ضعيف
و كفك مخضوبة من دماه
و سرت تشوه سحر الوجود
و تبذر شوك الاسى في رباه
رويدك لا يخدعنك الربيع
و صحو الفضاء و ضوء الصباح
ففي الافق الرحب هول الظلام و قصف الرعود و عصف الرياح
حذار فتحت الرماد اللهيب
و من يبذر الشوك يجن الجراح
تأمل هنالك انى حصدت رؤوس الورى و زهور الأمل
و رويت بالدم قلب التراب اشربته الدمع حتى ثمل
سيجرفك سيل الدماء