Ahmed Fouad Negm

3 Dec

Image

 

Ahmed Fouad Negm (left) Al-Sheikh Imam (right)

 

 

This morning Ahmed Fouad Negm died. I hope write a little more about him later but for the moment I include a translation of this song written by Negm and performed by al-Sheikh Imam.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CP_UdLpFbI

 

It works much better as a song than in this translation but I have included the words because they are an important part too. To get the most out of the song you need to at least have an idea what he is going on about even if you don’t catch every word. So here it is (I hope I have caught most of the words at least):

 

 Who are they and who are we?

 

 

 

Who are they and who are we?

They’re the princes. They’re the rulers

They’re the ones with money and power

And we’re the poor they overpower

Think, guess, use your brain

Who is it rules who again?

 

Who are we and who are they?

We’re the workers we’re the builders

We’re tradition and obligation

We’re the people: broad and tall

From our strength the land rises

Our sweat makes the gardens green

Think, guess, use your brain

Who is it serves who again?

 

Who are they and who are we

They’re the princes. They’re the rulers

They’re the ones with cars and villas

They’re the ones with the finest wives

Dumb consumers all their lives

All they do is stuff their bellies

Think, guess, use your brain

Who is it drains who again?

 

Who are we and who are they?

We’re the clove on the jasmine

We are the war: its fuel, its fire.

We’re the army of liberation

Martyrs all across the world

In victory and in defeat

Think, guess, use your brain

Who is it kills who again?

 

Who are they and who are we?

They’re phoney performers

All together on the political stage.

Their heads are empty as can be

but they have medals from chest to knee

Thing, guess, use your brain

Who is it cheats who again?

 

Who are they and who are we?

They’re the princes. They’re the rulers

They are wearing haute couture

We sleep seven on a bedroom floor

They eat pigeons. They eats chicken

We get dizzy eating only beans

They fly in jumbo-jets

We die on the omnibuses

Their lives always go well

They’re one species we’re another.

 

Isn’t it clear, isn’t it obvious

Don’t you get the point of the song?

When the people stand and chant

The world ain’t big enough for us both

Think, guess, use your loaf

Who is it will win this time?

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

One Response to “Ahmed Fouad Negm”

  1. whymyeye May 25, 2014 at 7:34 am #

    Dear Raphael, thank you so much for making this available, it made my search unbelievably easy. Also, congratulations on your wonderful ability to translate a poem without losing its original rhythm and context. That is not easy to achieve in any translation. I am usually very critical of literary translations because the context and power
    of the original is so often lost. Sure this isn’t perfect, but it’s close. I look forward to reading the rest of your blog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: