Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Soldier's Duty

[...from rare manuscript-in-progress of Ziya Gökalp's, from the Historical Society of New Istanbul (their translation). Although the penmanship is similar, the ink used for most of the edits appears to be of a modern composition, and there has been much controversy over the actual authorship.]

Standing at the gates of mighty Istanbul
I hold my rifle in my hands
Powder charged, its barrel stiff against my shoulder.
I stand with the city at my back.
Flags from the minarets snap.
The wind with its sighing does not move me.
My back is tall.

Duty calls the Ottoman soldier.
I keep my body chaste and strong
My will is ready to heed orders
My heart is ready to follow
My life is for the country
My faith is in the Almighty.
For Him I stand without fear.

I will lay for my commander whom I obey without question.
I will lay for my Sultan, whose word is law
I will lay for the Almighty, and in the Almighty I place my faith
The gates of Istanbul will remain fast
Unmovable beneath the piled bodies of martyrs.
The rivers will run with our blood.

MAP OF SPRING 1904 MOVES (click)Austria: Army Budapest -> Rumania (*bounce*)
Austria: Fleet Bulgaria (south coast) -> Constantinople
Austria: Army Greece -> Bulgaria
Austria: Army Serbia SUPPORT Army Greece -> Bulgaria

England: Fleet London -> Yorkshire
England: Fleet North Sea CONVOY Russian Army Denmark -> Norway

France: Army Brest HOLD
France: Army Gascony HOLD
France: Fleet Irish Sea -> English Channel
France: Army Liverpool -> Wales
France: Fleet Marseilles -> Gulf of Lyon
France: Fleet Mid-Atlantic Ocean SUPPORT Fleet Irish Sea -> English Channel

Germany: Fleet Baltic Sea SUPPORT Fleet Sweden -> Denmark
Germany: Army Belgium HOLD
Germany: Army Holland -> Kiel
Germany: Fleet Kiel -> Helgoland Bight
Germany: Army Prussia -> Livonia
Germany: Fleet Sweden -> Denmark
Germany: Army Warsaw SUPPORT Army Prussia -> Livonia

Italy: Fleet Aegean Sea SUPPORT Austrian Fleet Bulgaria (south coast) -> Constantinople
Italy: Fleet Eastern Mediterranean -> Aegean Sea (*oops*)
Italy: Fleet Naples -> Ionian Sea
Italy: Army Smyrna SUPPORT Austrian Fleet Bulgaria (south coast) -> Constantinople
Italy: Fleet Tyrrhenian Sea HOLD
Italy: Army Venice HOLD
Italy: Army Vienna -> Galicia

Russia: Army Ankara SUPPORT Turkish Fleet Black Sea -> Constantinople
Russia: Army Denmark -> Norway via convoy
Russia: Fleet Edinburgh -> Norwegian Sea
Russia: Fleet Gulf of Bothnia HOLD
Russia: Fleet Rumania -> Bulgaria (east coast) (*bounce*)
Russia: Army Sevastopol -> Moscow
Russia: Army Ukraine SUPPORT Army Sevastopol -> Moscow

Turkey: Fleet Black Sea -> Constantinople (*bounce*)



Keifus said...

I know the poem is godawful. It's supposed to be a take on Gokalp's poem A Prayer of a Soldier, which is all about this sort of nationalist indoctrination. Gokalp was, more or less, the poet of the Turkish revolution (Prayer was written in 1911 or so), and he stressed a monolithic Turkish identity.

The original poem may be his most famous one, but I wasted two hours last night trying in vain to find an English translation of it. Ten years ago, a Turkish politician Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, now the prime minister, recited a version of the poem which put him in jail for inciting religious hatred (kind of funny if you consider the old-time Ataturk gang as secular actors).

What I wrote is closer to Erdogan's version (which is to say unsubtle and without class). I promise it would have been less bad if I got my hands on the full original, and if I hadn't spent the previous two hours ignoring my family for some local color that no one will read.

Here's a translation of a Gokalp poem that I did manage to find. It's a bit minimalist, but not at all unpleasant.

To the Wind

Oh wind, wind where to
Flapping your invisible wings

While you coming down on a stream
you can hear surely
My heart's cry

If you ever pass through
Scatter a sweet breeze on my land

Go and greet my home

Take kisses from me
To my dearest daughters!

adios said...

i want to put this in my blog..
sharing with my malaysian friends.

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