The ‘national poet’ of Libya, Ahmad Rafig al-Mahdawi (احمد رفيق المهدوي), wrote a poem entitled أنا ساكت “I am silent” during the de-colonization of Libya and the struggle for nationhood. A few verses from it have been going around Libya social media, since they are as applicable to the situation today as they were sixty-odd years ago. Such is great poetry, I suppose. Here are the verses and my attempt at a somewhat literal translation:
قلبي يحدّثني بان ممثلا خلف الستائرللحقائق يمسخُ
اما الذي هو في الحقيقة واقع وطن يباع و امة تتفسّخُ
ماذا اقول و ما تراني قائلا انا ساكت لكن قلبي يصرخُ
ابكي على شعبٍ يسيّر امره متزعّمون و جاهلون و افرخُ
My heart tells me that behind the curtains, an actor distorts truths,
But the reality is this: a country is sold and a nation broken apart.
What is there to say? I am silent, but my heart cries out;
I weep for a people whom false leaders, the ignorant, and the bastards guide about.