Turkish government rehabilitates poet Nazim Hikmet

This video is called The little girl, Nazim Hikmet.

8 January 2009.

A video which used to be on YouTube said about itself:

This song is a loose translation, by Jeanette Turner, of the anti-war poem Kız Çocuğu (The Little Girl) by Turkey’s most important modern poet, Nazim Hikmet (1901-63), who was persecuted and imprisoned for his outspoken Marxist views.

The story is told by the ghost of a seven-year-old girl, who died when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima ten years earlier.

It was recorded by Pete Seeger in 1962, using the tune of “The Great Silkie”, and this is the version used in later recordings.

Probably the best-known performance is by The Byrds on their album “Fifth Dimension” (1966). It has also been recorded by This Mortal Coil on their album Blood (1991) and recently by Bruce Springsteen.

From Wikipedia:

Nâzım Hikmet Ran (November 20, 1901 – June 3, 1963), commonly known as Nâzım Hikmet (pronounced [nɑːˌzɯm hikˈmɛt]), was a Turkish poet, playwright, novelist and memoirist. He was acclaimed as the first and foremost modern Turkish poet, and regarded throughout the world as one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century for the “lyrical flow of his statements”. Described as a “romantic communist” and “romantic revolutionary”, he was repeatedly arrested for his political beliefs and spent much of his adult life in prison or in exile. His poetry has been translated into more than fifty languages. …

Nazim has Polish and Turkish citizenship. The latter was revoked in 1959, and restored in 2009.

At last, the Turkish government is revoking an injustice which should never have happened in the first place. It reminds me a bit of the United States Congress ending Nelson Mandela’s presence on the “list of terrorists” at long last. Well, Nelson Mandela was fortunate to still be alive when it happened … while Nazim Hikmet is as dead as the little Hiroshima girl in his poem …

According to Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad of today, four years ago a 17-year old boy was interrogated by Turkish police for reading poems by Nazim Hikmet.

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