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Traitor to one's country

"Nazim Hikmet remains a traitor.
We are half colony to America, said Hikmet.
Nazim Hikmet betrays us."
Say newspapers from Ankara,

three columns of black font
in a newspaper from Ankara, beside the face
of Admiral Williamson, his 66 square inches
of laughter, the Admiral of America
who gave us many liras to spend,
a hundred and twenty million liras.
"We are half a colony, said Hikmet.
Nazim Hikmet betrays us."

Yes, so it is: if you show grace
and love for your country, then I betray it.
If your country is your farms,
your pocketbooks, your safes,
if your country is starving
like a dog on the street, shivering
like a dog in the cold, convulsing
with fever in the summer, in the heat,
if Country is drinking
our red blood in your factory,
if Homeland is the offal of your landlords,
their fingernails, if it is the service
of religion, the stick of the policeman,
if Country is your paycheck, your debt,
if your Land is an American base, an American bomb,
if Homeland is clinging to the fetid dark,
    I betray it.
Write out three columns, in yelling font:
Nazim Hikmet is still a traitor to our country.

Vatan Haini by Nazım Hikmet

Translated September 6, 2020

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