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Sheikh Radha, 'Sulaimani, the Haven of the Babans'

Sheikh Radha Talabani (1836-1910), 'Sulaimani, the Haven of the Babans'

(translated from the Kurdish by Shadman Hiwa)

 

I remember Sulaimani when it was the haven of the Babans,
Not ruled by Persians, nor was under the Ottomans.
In front of Sira's Gate, all gathered: sheikhs, ascetics, mullahs
the Saywan Hill for the needy was like the Ka'aba for pilgrims.
The king's council was crowded by the marching of soldiers,
The sound of music and timpani reached Kaywan's Palace.
Nostalgia for those times, those instants, those moments, those days,
when Kaniaskan Square was full of archery and horse-racing.
With only one assault, he conquered and tore Baghdad down:
Sulaimani, you want the truth! It was Sulaiman's father.
Arabs, I won't judge your ascendance, you are transcendent, but
Saladin, who conquered the world, was the descendant of the Babans.
All the easterners and the Sultans in the west,
were surprised by the supremacy of that lion.
The lightened graves of the Baban's descendants be blessed:
the rain of their good deeds was like April's clouds.
When Abdulla Pasha defeated the Governor of Senna,
Raza was at primary school, aged five and six.

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