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The Arabat Tragedy IV-A Ballad*

By Loman Suleyman

Azov (The Sea) surges with sorrow, and
with rage in her heart.
As if the blood in her body
wishes to transcend by overflowing the fields.
Displaying anger at times, at times she cries
slamming her head on rocks,
as the shores turn to mourning.
My eyes full with tears,
I walk to the shore,
rhyming my poem
(with) the waves themselves.
The lightning hits as if it splits
the bosom of the clouds.
It is thundering, and my bloody wounds
worsens my pain.
In Sivash there is sadness, sorrow,
and hatred fills her soul.
(Even) the mild caressing of the wind,
is unable to calm this lake.
I asked this sea, this lake:
- Who left you in this horrible state?
My heart wants to know from you,
who plunged you to the rocks?
Strongly roared the sea,
as if she took a deep breath,
there was a total silence,
one could hardly hear a voice.

Forty seven years have gone by
The wounds of the dreadful May (1944)
tragedy have increased, not ceased.
Let the children always remember
that horrific event,
the dungeon- like dark night.
Who (now) will greet the dawn?
As the souls ached until this day.
The sky darkened, as if the clouds'
curtains covered her face.
And the horizon all around,
have shed tar-like tears.
Sadness covers the surroundings,
in every step there is horror and fear.
What awaits those who remained (survived)?
There is gloom at every step.
The inhabitants of Arabat village
are still unaware of their fate.
As rulers of the mighty State,
whatever will they be thinking?
Wherever will they send the Tatars?
Will they come to shoot them now?
Wail -outcry heard everywhere,
men, women, young and old
were uprooted from every corner!
The sea overflew at that moment….

They loaded the people on to the barge,
as if loading some animals.
Bloody tears shed by pack of children,
as If the sky was falling on them.
Falling rain intensified,
As if a storm broke loose.
Death is never this harsh,
the barge is swaying as if it is gulping.

The old barge has never seen
such cargo in all its life,
never carried such men,
never knew such tragedy.
Fear and tears of inhabitants,
(with) their arms spread, old men are
praying, such is the great tradition.
Perhaps help will soon arrive,
so were hoping some.
The fate was harsh on mothers,
who tried to embrace their children,
as the barge moved so quietly...
The voices of the unfortunate folks
shook the earth at that moment,
at the dead center of the sea, (was)
a tragedy, an apprehension, a grief.
- "O Gracious!" cried an old man
what is this horror we are seeing?
My God what calamity for us?
The time we spent in exile
during the war, wasn't that enough?
What is the fault (crime) of these people?
Didn't they shed enough tears?
Do they ever have a chance?
Shouldn't "uncle" (Stalin) drown in children's tears?
Shouldn't the "traitor" be crushed
under the homeland's soil and rocks?
Hey! Listen all mothers!
Embrace your children,
and kiss them (now),
as disaster is fallen upon us.
There is no one to rescue us,
the entire people (everyone) will be drowned.
Farewell young and old, farewell kinsfolk!
This is our last meeting.
Be blessed those who survive (remain),
the time of death is upon us.
A revolting voice
soared from the waves.
There is mourning at the sea, at the lake,
people are taking their last breath.
The barge collapses, disintegrates,
the last horror, the final groan.

In the water, struggle,
hundreds of innocent men (and women).
Tears shed by all these people,
do not fit into the sea,
it feels as large boulders and rocks,
their hearts ache just as well.
Soon after the grayish waves
soar as if sobbing.
They are invoking the people,
they are mourning. They are crying:
- Hey people! Keep
in sight this tragedy.
Travel all around this planet, if you will,
which ocean, which sea
has witnessed such meanness (turpitude),
(Where in the world have) innocent young men and women,
and the entire residing people
have drowned in such dominant waters?
Truehearted they were all,
those, who drowned in this sea.
the new generation will never forget
the Armageddon-like night in May (1944),
the people's cry and the horror.
Then the wreaths will float
in the salty Sivash and the Azov (Sea).

Translated into English by Mubeyyin Batu Altan

Originally written in Crimean Tatar and titled "Arabat Faciasi-Ballada," this poem was composed by Loman Suleyman in July-August 1991 and published in the journal Yildiz ( March-April, 1992, No. 2, pp.137-140).

Posted: 26 December 2012

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