Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Saro's Love Song

Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Saro's Love Song

Article excerpt

In May 2010, the body ofZardasht Osman, a twenty-three-year-old journalist who wrote under the name "Saro Zardasht, " was found in Arbil, the capital of Kurdistan. He had been kidnapped and murdered after writing exposés of the ruling party, led by Kurdish president Masud Barzani. Earlier in the year, Saro had written a comic tirade about Barzani, from which these tetrameters are loosely drawn, after an English translation by Aryan Baban, posted online by the scholar Michael Rubin.

I am in love with Masud's daughter -

Masud Barzani: the man you see

here and there, the man who says

he is my president. I want

him for my father-in-law. I want

his son for my brother-in-law. I want

his lovely daughter to marry me.

If I were married to Masud's daughter,

we'd spoon and honeymoon in Paris.

We'd visit her uncle's American mansion.

We'd leave my backstreet room in Arbil

for an upmarket place in Sari Rash.

We'd take my poor, unfancied sister

to fancy stores in a fancy car.

If I were married to Masud's daughter,

my mother would have Italian doctors

nodding wisely while she moaned

about her feet and swollen heart.

My uncles would have swank offices.

My nieces and nephews would all grow fat

as high officials for the state.

If I were married to Masud's daughter,

I'd put my pensionless father in charge

of all our Kurdish militia troops.

I'd name my little brother as head

of special forces - the luckless boy

who's finished school but can't find a job

and talks about leaving Kurdistan.

My friends say: Saro, let it go.

You've never even met the girl

you babble on and on about. …

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