nazim xikmet.jpg


Culture and art may bridge the gap and bring us closer.

I would say, along with their art works, memories remain enriched with some of the most intense forms of art that include both poetry and music which  help to bring out the best out of human beings. 

Generations are defined by arts they create. .

Technology and science certainly grow exponentially with no limit which no one can predict the impact it will have on humanity.

But art is timeless, similar  emotion are experienced when  reading ancient love poems from Lesbos Island, by Sappho (620 B.C),  ancient tragedies by Sophocles (Electra, 410 B.C.) with emotions experienced when reading later or contemporary writers and  poets such as of Victor Hugo,  le misserables, 1862 ), Shakespeare Amlet 1564 , Elytis Greek poet for Aegean,  Nobel winner 1979, Seferis Greek from Smyrna Literature Nobel winner 1963 , without necessarily dealing with the same subject.

I wish we could also listen to music from all corners of the earth and from different periods.

I am also similarly touched when reading   texts of Nasyid – Ahmed Bukhatir or Nazim Hikmet or listening to music by Manos Loizos on poems from the alboom  «Letters to the beloved», written in Prousa prison, by Nazim Hikmet

 This poetry, combined with Music composed by Manos Loisos and the translation from Ritsos, constructs bridges to cover great distances in time, as well as distances among nations, even differences in  political convictions and different points of view.

These art creations bring closer, friends with enemies, freedom fighters with  dictators, judges with convicts, oppressed with oppressors.

Yet, how can I bridge the gaps, or compromise between fundamental human differences, in values and approaches, such as  sentiment and logic, love and self-sacrifice, love for one’s country and globalization reality, love and pain of disappointment, purity and compromise? Fanaticism and faith?   Mediocrity and excellence? Equality and Diversity?  A Left-wing populist idealist and an unsuspecting naive democrat?

How can I differentiate between Nazim Hikmet, an unconventional political extremist and Dionysios Solomos, a leading, but conventional national poet? Or Beethoven a giant composer in Classical music  and Vamvakaris, an original composer of rebellious music?

How do I compromise between fighting spirit for independence and the conformity of a middle class individual?

 In the end, only the creations that a person have managed to deliver to society will remain. 

You need to listen to the poems Nazim Hikmet wrote during his imprisonment.

All of us, sooner or later will depart from this world, but if we leave something behind, such as Mano’s music and Nazim’s poetry, that will be enough.

A quote in Turkish follows, that is not an exact translation, probably because the famous Greek poet Ritsos was influenced by Nazim’s real story and wanted to pass his own personal message.

Bugün pazar.
Bugün beni ilk defa güneşe çıkardılar.
Ve ben ömrümde ilk defa gökyüzünün
bu kadar benden uzak
bu kadar mavi
bu kadar geniş olduğuna şaşarak
kımıldamadan durdum.
Sonra saygıyla toprağa oturdum,
dayadım sırtımı duvara.
Bu anda ne düşmek dalgalara,
bu anda ne kavga, ne hürriyet, ne karım.
Toprak, güneş ve ben…

Greek composer Manos Loizos regarded his music composition for Nazim’s album of poems «Letters to my beloved», translated in Greek by Yiannis Ritsos, as his top life work..


 Note: This post caused some reactions in the F / B that highlights some of the political and cultural dimensions. In particular, I find interesting the remarks made by Sukan Gurkaynak a Turkish friend in f/b, who said :

“I think Greek is more poetic than Turkish. That is why good Turkish poetry is in Persian or the persianised Ottoman language”

That puzzles me. How can I explain to Sukan that the first historical and literary works from antiquity, more than 3,000 years ago, were poetic like the works Iliad and Odyssey of Homer, where even the written and spoken words of the ancient Greek language had vowels that emphasized the rhythm and poeticism of the speech itself, (Short and long vowels )  This is also an indication of the level of superiority of the language, indicating cultural depth as well as the influence and contribution that the Greek language had to global cultural diversity and evolution.

Discussion in f/b reflecting political implications :

Sukan Gurkaynak Atatürk put him in jail because he was producing propaganda for Stalin.

Nick Kouzos I understand but this is the point .I am trying to make. I am anything else. but a communist. I am trying to pass a message over and above politics, Nationalism and conflicts that made the 20th century a hell to live in. I am not a supporter of his ideology still his poetry is very sensitive. We need to overcome our enemies. I will translate my comments from  Greek.

Sukan Gurkaynak Nick Kouzos The Stalin he loved invaded Poland. The NKVD murdered 15000 officers of the Polish army. He was producing propaganda for those people. So the Turkish officers put

Nick Kouzos I totally agree with you but still Comunists are a legal party in Greece. I am not a supporter of Stalin and I am totally against Stalin-ism but Nazim was a poet, most Greek poets are leftist and a lot are communists, not Stalinists.

Sukan Gurkaynak Nick Kouzos The Turkish left never understood what was wrong with Stalinism. After the Russians gave up they started calling themselves liberals, some like former (communist) labor party MP Cetin Altan claiming that was the same thing as Stalinism. Most of them are idiots including Nazim. I know his grand nephew, forget the family.

Sukan Gurkaynak Nick Kouzos There is a fascist Turkish poet Kisakürek. A nut. Erdogan loves him. they name all possible things after him. Forget most poets. They are people who cannot make money in a decent job.

Nick Kouzos I agree in a political sense and I am against Fascists as well but I love poetry

Sukan Gurkaynak I think Greek is more poetic than Turkish. That is why good Turkish poetry is in persian or the persianised Ottoman language.

Nick Kouzos I understand.

Nick Kouzos Nazim was finally executed, wasn’t he?

Sukan Gurkaynak Nick Kouzos No. He was released from jail and went to Moscow. he lived there until his natural death in 1963. His grave is in a Moscow  cemetery.