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 Qleeshayawa *

Choman Hardi

Qleeshayawa, they would say and start running

the old, the young, men and women.

Qleeshayawa, they would say.


The young men joked about it between themselves

Its our marathon, it keeps us healthy.


They ran indefinitely

sometimes with no _expression on their faces

other-times covered with the sweat of fear

running, looking backwards

 running, looking backwards

or with humour.


Sometimes it was triggered by a gunshot

or the sight of vicious soldiers

jumping out from their tank into a square.

Other-times, accidentally, if somebody ran

they all followed.


Sometimes they would be surrounded by tanks

with nowhere to run to-

and forced to stand like a flock of sheep

witness the execution of a friend

and to clap and shout:

Long live justice!


*Note: Qleeshayawa means cracking open, it is used to refer to the land or pomegranates cracking open, in the 1980s this word was used to refer to Iraqi soldiers attacking the Kurds.












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