Reading: Fatherland by Mansur Rajih

Mansur Rajih (b. 1958) is a Norwegian poet and human rights activist with Yemeni roots. I found this translation of one of his poems online:

Do not despair, my friend:
The light that shines on our land
will remain chaste.
We still have time.

Maybe next year, the year after-
it will be enough.
We will see
the new face of Eban

smiling over our lives.
This land is good
and its history teaches us
we must not despair.

This land is happy.
Look, see the girls
painting their cheeks?
This land is continuously giving birth.

Yemen is a happy country,
the people die standing tall.

Image from

The land cannot be desecrated: No matter how much terror the enemy (in this case the Saudi bombings and terrorist cells), the land is still a worthy place to fight for.

Eban could be the Israeli diplomat Abba Eban, who was in favor of a Palestinian state, but I doubt that. I just can’t find another Eban on Google. Perhaps my readers have an idea?

What do we make of this definition of happiness: To die standing tall? There certainly is no better way to die, but such a line can’t help but sound incredibly cynical from the mind of a former political prisoner.

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