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  • Welcome to ALT Magazine & Press: Hazawi Prize Announces 2023 Shortlist: (Sana'a, Yemen) - The shortlist for the 2023 Hazawi Prize for Yemeni Literature has been revealed, announcing the ten writers who have been selected as finalists for this prestigious award.
  • Now in its second yearly round, the Hazawi Prize recognizes exceptional contributions to fiction in Yemeni literature. Organized by the Hazawi Cultural Foundation, this annual prize aims to promote Yemeni literature and support creative writers.
  • This year's shortlist features both emerging and renowned Yemeni authors. The ten works advancing to the final round of judging are:
  • - Abdullah Faisal shortlisted for his novel, Spirits and Secrets.
  • - Aisha Saleh shortlisted for her novel, Under the Ashes
  • - Farouk Merish shortlisted for his novel, A Dignified Stranger
  • - Ahmed Ashraf shortlisted for his novel, A Painful Belt
  • - Ghassan Khalid shortlisted for his novel, A Sky that Rains Fear
  • - Hosam Adel shortlisted for his novel, The Lord of the Black Dog
  • - Asmaa Abdulrazak shortlisted for her novel, Shrapnels
  • - Abdullah Abdu Muhammad shortlisted for his novel, The Road to Sana'a
  • - Najah Bahkeim shortlisted for her novel, The Final Decision
  • - Samir AbdulFattah shortlisted for her novel, What We Cannot See
  • The winner will be revealed at an award ceremony in Sana'a later where they will receive $1,500 USD. Second and third prizes of $1,000 USD each will also be awarded. All shortlisted works are celebrated for chronicling Yemen's rich culture and wartime experiences. This prestigious prize continues highlighting the nation's thriving literary community.

The Decisive Discourse – by Esa Al-Azab and translated by Hatem Al-Shamea

O Lord…
Your people have never clung to your rope alone
But strayed and leaned on ropes other than yours
And those ropes failed them

* * *

O Lord…
Our kings…
Our emirs… our leaders…
Trampled on consciences, discernment and bonds
And above them they spat!!

Who was said to be our scholars… oh Lord
They glorify in the name of rulers
And rule by their Sharia and lofty ones
And deem lawful what they deem unlawful!!
Our scholars, O Lord, steeds branded they are lead
Some in the ovens of the dignitaries and grandees
Are manufactured and baked
And over the people by the king’s command they subjugate!!

Some of them deem without understanding
And pretend to understand!!

Who was said to be our scholars… oh Lord
See religion only in clothes,
And in toothpicks and in beards!!
And see frivolity in applause,
In silk…
And in jeans wearing!!

* * *

All in the name of religion, how they lied
And spoke and spoke…
They said to us, O Lord, that Islam’s path is conquest by swords
And possession of slaves and prisoners of war
And looting and fighting…!!
And that the manner of the best of Allah’s creation
Was wives, raids, expulsions, robbery, and capture!!

They said to us, O Lord,
That their flesh is poisoned and our flesh halal by law!!
And they related to us, O Lord,
About the qualities of camel urine, that within it
Are benefits for drinkers and it is sweet nectar!!

* * *

They said that Saturday is a day of leisure without doubt
And that the Prophet’s birthday is an innovation
Not allowed to have celebrations for…!!

And they saw drawing and portraits absolutely forbidden
And drum beating as detested
And flutes and guitars and strings as corruptive and frivolity and libertinism!!

* * *

O Lord…
They said to us that surely the invader is the best of envoys
And indeed, O Lord,
He is God’s emissary to liberate our lands from us, and our remaining in it is occupation
And they saw: our blood is halal
And that our peace is war and our piety is aberration!!

* * *

Our preachers and sheikhs, O Lord,
Said to us that speech is forbidden in Friday’s two sermons
And deemed the illness in the fly’s wing,
And washing and immersing it twice, O Lord, in our cup to be enjoined!!

Our scholars, O Lord, are preoccupied
With histories of peoples passed
A thousand centuries ago
Busy with “Hind” in Wahshi
Busy in the caliphs, the frees,
In dynasties and in genealogies,
And in nothing.

* * *

Our scholars, O Lord, differ in Islam’s prophet past companions
In the caliphate in leadership
In Yazid and Al-Hussein!!

* * *

Our scholars, O Lord, differ in Ameen and in the call to prayer,
And in hands’ embrace.
O Lord, they differ in washing after intercourse
In menstruation and in the doubled and tripled
And in divorce and in everything related to testes!!

Our scholars, O Lord, differ in rulings of hair dyeing
Armpits removal..
In trimming beards..
In circumcision..
And in rulings of removing testicles!!

* * *

Our scholars, O Lord, agree unanimously
That killing people,
Bombing our homes at night over our heads
And our children and women,
Good and agreed and not worth disputing!!

* * *

O Lord… surely our grand muftis are our pride
Who betrayed Your trust which
Made earth and the seven heavens and mountains cower

So place upon their necks, O Lord, shackles
And collar them with a rope of thorns!!

O Lord, torture them a torture like none
On the Day of Fire shall suffer such!!

And make Hell their home and resting place on Doomsday;
Truly they are most fit as fuel, and it their deserving lot

Forgive, O Lord, my every slip of tongue
For wounds cannot be poems recited or words related!!

3 thoughts on “The Decisive Discourse – by Esa Al-Azab and translated by Hatem Al-Shamea”

  1. ….. مرثاة كريم العراق…….

    هذا العراقي كريم في مناقبه
    فيه الشهامة والأخـــلاق والقيمُ
    هو الحكيم بما قد خط من أدبٍ
    أبياته كلها صــاغت لنا حِكَمُ
    هذا الذي ماأنحنى يوماً لمغتصبٍ
    أرض العراق وما غنى لمن هجموا
    ماغيرت فيه اخلاق الذين أتوا
    من ناهبي أرضه من فُرس أو عجمُ
    قد صاغ شعراً لكل العاشقين وما
    باع الأماني لمن بالظلم قد حكموا
    عانى كثيراً ولم نعلم بعلته
    ولو علمنا فمن يشــــفي له الألمُ
    هذا الكريم كريم في العراق ومن
    يهوى العراق يعاني الحب والالمُ
    أرض النخيل وأرض الشعر موطنها
    فيه الفــــرات مشاعر للهوى نغمُ
    هذا العراقي الذي ماخان موطنة
    ولم يكن طائفيا مثل ما رسموا
    قال العراق قوياً في توحده
    إن التفرق ضعفٌ ليتهم علموا
    بغداد تنزف حزناً من مواجعها
    على كريم ستبكي دهرها نــــدمُ
    ذاك العزيز الذي بالحب سطرها
    أبيات شعـــر بماء القلب والقلمُ
    إرحم إلهي كريم أنت تعلمه
    عــبداً عزيزاً صبر عـ القهر والألمُ
    ماذل يوماً ولم يخضع لمغتصب
    أرض العراق من الأوباش والعجمُ
    عانى كثيراً من الأوجاع متكلاً
    عليك وحدك كي تشفي له الألمُ
    وصار بين يديك الأن محتسباً
    صبر العزيز الذي تعلم به الأممُ
    فأرحمه يارب ياعالم بحالته
    وأرحم عبيدك إن زلت بهم قدمُ
    ثم الصلاة على خير الورى سلفاً
    وخير من رحلوا عنا ومن قدموا
    ✍️شعر : مهيوب حميد الشرعبي
    إهداء إلي روح فقيد الشعر العربي كريم العراقي
    2سبتمبر 2023م

  2. Faez Ahmed Mohammed Hasan

    In fact, you tried your best while renduring the text but the poem was translated using word for word translation. Therefore the aesthetic aspect is absent and a bad image of the Islamic culture has been portrayed.

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