Balad بلد

by | Dec 19, 2020 | Stories | 0 comments

Farah

Farah

Author

When I was writing Balad (بلد : Arabic for country), I imagined actually living in the hearts of the people with whom I feel the most safe and at home. I thought of different cities while writing this piece, mainly: Beirut, Amman, Nablus, and Damascus, cities which are part of my story and that of my parents and siblings. Cities which none of us are currently living in, and which we are not sure we are ever going to live in.

This uncertainty may be what pushed me to imagine living in the hearts of certain people in my life instead. People whom I hold on to and who manage to give me a sense of safety that maybe these physical cities and countries fail to provide. Yet, it is no coincidence that the people who came to mind while I was writing, are the ones that remind me the most of these cities. They carry them and bring them along to our gatherings. They make Beirut, Amman, Nablus, and Damascus feel closer. They most probably carry them in their hearts, where I choose to live in this poem.

Balad is a 4-stanza piece written in Palestinian dialect.

 

قلبك بَلَدْ آمن ودافي وفيو طيور وشجر

قلبك بلد ما فيو حدود وما فيو قيود وعسكر

في قلبك في طريق صغير بياخدني عالبيت

في قلبك في شجر زيتون وورق عنب عالحيط

في قلبك في دُكانّة صغيرة و عمّو ختيار

في قلبك في سيرڤيس وأتوبيس بياخدوني عالدار

Your heart is a safe and warm country with birds and trees
Your heart is a country without borders or a military
In your heart there are olive trees and vine leaves on walls
There is an old man standing by his grocery stall
In your heart there’s a tiny road which takes me home
there is a shared taxi and an auto-bus which take me home

قلبك بلد آمن ودافي
قلبك نهره ونبعه صافي
قلبك مافيو نهب ولا نصب
ولاحرقة
قلبك كل جذوره متفرعة
مافيو سجون ولا ديون
قلبك بلد بصون
وكل سكّانه بخير
قلبك بلد آمن علمني أحب الغير

Your heart is a safe and warm country
Its river and source are pure
No corruption or theft
No heartburn
Its roots branch out
No prisons or debt
Your heart protects
All its citizens are well
Your heart is a country which taught me to love the other

في قلبك عشقت نفسي وعرفت أرقص عالنبض
في قلبك عرفت أغنّي وأصلّي وحتّى أشم الورد

في قلبك عرفت أغسل ثوبي
في قلبك عرفت أجالس عيوبي
في قلبك قلت لا للظالم حتّى لو كان أنا
في قلبك لقيت مكان في النُّص،
ما بين هناك وهنا

In your heart I learned to love myself and dance on the beat
I learned how to sing, pray, and even smell flowers

In your heart, I learned to wash my clothes,
I learned to sit with my faults,
I learned to say “no” to the oppressor, even if it were me.
In your heart, I found the middle ground,
between there and here.

قلبك بَلَدْ آمن ودافي وفيو طيور وشجر
قلبك بلد ما فيو حدود وما فيو قيود وعسكر
في قلبك في طريق صغير بياخدني عالبيت
في قلبك في شجر زيتون وورق عنب عالحيط
في قلبك في دُكانّة صغيرة و عمّو ختيار
في قلبك في سيرڤيس وأتوبيس بياخدوني عالدار

Your heart is a safe and warm country with birds and trees
Your heart is a country without borders or a military
In your heart there are olive trees and vine leaves on walls
There is an old man standing by his grocery stall
In your heart there’s a tiny road which takes me home
there is a shared taxi and an auto-bus which take me home

 

Farah
Farah

Farah is known for her powerful spoken word performances in which she combines orality, acting, and live music. Originally from Palestine, she has lived in Brazil, France, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

Her shows always incorporate several languages, especially Arabic, English, and French. Farah studied Philosophy and Sociology at the Sorbonne University, and later completed a Master’s Degree in Performance and Culture at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Chamma contributes stories and personal pieces in a series called Little Gems, where she recounts her discoveries walking the streets of her neighbourhood.

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