Soreklî

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?ahîn B. Soreklî  was born in the Kurdish region of northern Syria bordering Turkey [West Kurdistan]. He has lived in Sydney since 1968 and has been working as a teacher / education officer since 1978 and joined the SBS Radio in 1985. 

In addition to Kurdish and English he speaks German, Arabic and Turkish.

The Flag and The Flame

By Shahîn B. Soreklî (Chahin Baker)

Full of pride I watched you my Sydney

Opening your heart to the world

Of lively youth and colourful flags.

As the ocean kissed your shore

And your rivers flowed with joy

Millions witnessed you being crowned

The queen of all cities.

You are the city of water and life,

You are the garden of many parks,

Proud of your Aboriginal heritage,

Cosmopolitan, yet Australian.

Your harbour offered hope to millions,

Like the family watching TV the other night: 

When the Olympic Parade began

And the flags passed one by one

A child whispered to her mother:

“There was a flag for Andorra,

There was flag for Aruba,

Why wasn’t there one for Kurdistan?”

Her mother, hiding her warm tears,

Kissed the child and proudly said:

“But Australia has a flag

And you are an Australian Kurd.

Maybe one day, like Cathy Freeman,

You too will light a big flame

And those who govern Kurdistan

Will wake and feel the shame.”

The child felt so very happy

To know she too had a flag

And in her heart a dream was born:

To one day light the flame.

TO FADIME

In your eyes I see one of my sisters

buried in a marriage at fifteen

In your face I see the despair

of a thousand Kurdish girls

with wings colourful but broken

yet lively and wanting to fly

In your hair I see the nights

of our country Kurdistan

mysteriously beautiful 

yet full of dangerous waves

that can give or take life

Your lips are sealed in the photograph

but the words reaching me from you

are enough to fill a book with poems

expressing the agony of many migrant girls

loved to the point of suffocation

by those who mean well

yet their limitless love can kill

When the bullet broke your life

many hearts in Sweden bled 

and in the country of your father

a star fell from the sky

but the clouds were too thick that night

no one could see it passing by

In my garden I saw roses weeping

or maybe the tears were mine

greeting your soul from Sydney

and begging your forgiveness at the same time

When your heart stopped beating

and the stream of your dreams were blocked

when your wishes were buried in dust

and the windows of the world got shut

many of us got drowned in shame

for failing to find the answers 

Who should we curse for crushed roses

we were not able to protect?

How can we free birds from cages

without them being caught and slain?

Should we search for the lost answers

in the books of the prophets?

Are the answers in the law book

or are they hidden within cultures?

I look at your photograph again and again

your face looks so familiar

I KNOW HER I keep on saying

with a feeling of guilt deep in my heart

tormenting me for having failed 

to lend a hand before you fell.

(In 2002 a Kurdish girl was killed by her father in Sweden. This poem is devoted to her and all the girls who lost their lives in the name of “honour”)

ARE YOU FREE?

"Are you free, son?" asked the old man.

"Yes, I am," answered the young man carelessly.

"And what about your neighbours, son, are they free?" asked the old man again.

"I don't care," replied the young man.

"Then you are not free, son, nor do you deserve to be free" said the old man and continued his way. 

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