May 31, 2016

Vergessen: Poem of the Month

In March this year, I submitted a poem in German to a monthly poetry competition called "Gedicht des Monats" at the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies at University of Georgia. A few weeks later, I surprisingly received this message from the head of the department:
Dear Nasim,
Congratulations! The committee has chosen your poem “Vergessen” as the winner of the Poem of the Month competition. Please see Ms. Petti in the departmental office (Room 204) about your prize; she will need to get some information from you in order to put in a check request.

Is it OK for us to display your poem on a bulletin board in Joe Brown and on our departmental website or Facebook page?
I am not a poet, but I was glad to be the winner. I was also hesitant to share the news with my friends, because I wanted to avoid any boastful pretension. But finally, I thought, since no one reads blog posts anymore, it would not be harmful to share it here after all. So, here's my poem "Vergessen," which in English means forgetting. You can also read this on the department's Facebook page.

Schließlich, entschied ich mich,
dich zu vergessen
Dein Name
Wo immer ich ihn gefunden hatte
In meinen Notizen
Auch in meinem Tagebuch
Seiten, gelöscht oder zerrissen

Gestern, habe ich ihr Bild von
der Wand abgehängt
Und dann leerte ich die Rahmen

Mein Plan scheiterte
Als ich versuchte
Sie aus dem Rahmen meines
Herzens zu leeren

May 26, 2016

Bidel: I Just Recalled my Love

Dew is perished
as soon as the dawn’s veil has taken away
I just recalled my love,
au revoir!

Tā sahar bi-parda gardad, shabnam az khod rafta ast
Al-widā' ay ham-nishīnān! delbaram āmad ba yād

تا سحر بی پرده گردد، شبنم از خود رفته است
الوداع ای هم نشینان! دلبرم آمد به یاد

Poem by Mīrzā Abdul-Qādir Bidel

(Trans. Nasim Fekrat, May 26, 2016)

May 22, 2016

From Afghan Lord to Insatiable Quester

I finally decided to change my blog name from 'Afghan Lord' to 'Insatiable Quester.' I have blogged for almost 12 years under Afghan Lord. I recently realized that I have grown discomfort with the name. I chose it in 2004, back then, for some reason, I used to have a delusional conception of Afghan nationalism. In Afghanistan, the name 'Afghan' is associated with the dominant tribe, the Pashtun. Inside the country, we are all Hazaras, Tajiks, Pashtuns and Uzbeks. Though outside all citizens from Afghanistan are considered Afghan, inside the country, non-Pashtuns spurn the name.

Afghan kings and rulers tried to unite Afghanistan under one nationality, however, the notion of a nationhood or a sense of nationalism never took place to this day and it will never take root.

I personally realized that it I only carry the name, not the virtue, and not the spirit of what I once thought to be. Hazaras, the people to whom I belong are systematically discriminated against, looked at as second class citizens, and limited to resources. I have also thought that the previous name sounded too presumptuous and does not reflect my inner feelings at all. I am neither a lord, nor even close to be suitable for that name. I was born into a very poor farmer family that could hardly make ends meet.

Choosing a new title was difficult. I thought about it six months ago, but I was not sure to make any changes. We are all in quest of something in our lives. My quest has been in search of knowledge. Therefore, I thought the closest and meaningful name that I can use to continue blogging would be "Insatiable Quester."