مَنْ الذي خرّبَ البصرة؟

Throughout history, wars have wreaked havoc in Basrah. Memories linger, generation after generation. Discrimination against coloured people arises. The Zanj Rebellion (869-883) was the “most vicious and brutal uprising” that plagued the Abbasid central government (Furlongr; 7:99). It was led by Ali ibn Mohammed, a white writer of Persian descent who befriended the Abbasid Khalifa Al-Muntasir (837-862) through his influential slaves. When Ali couldn’t lead the rebel in Samarra, central Iraq, and the capital at the time, he went to Basrah. Ali took Al-Mukhtara, near Basrah, as a capital for him and his followers. They were mainly black people to whom he promised money and wealth. Basrah was burnt, and people and animals were killed. The civil war lasted for 14 years. It destroyed the whole region socially and economically. The central government finally brought it to a close.

The poet, Sundus S. Bakr, comments in “Who destroyed Basrah?” Both white leaders were to blame. Superficially, people distinguished between whites and blacks. They forgot, however, that white outsiders destroyed them all. An example she gives is of 11 members of one family, killed in one go.

“When the wall buried eleven moons
It was not caused by a nigger
Heartless people bitterly occupied the city”

The title is derived from a saying of the Zanj Rebellion: “Regrets won’t change the destruction (of Basrah)”. It simply means:
Too little too late.

Translated by May AL-ISSA

سندس صدّيق بكر

لا أعلمُ لونَكَ المفضل ..

ولا موسمَكَ المفضل ..

ولا حتى أُغنيَتَكَ المفضله ..

كلُّ ماأعلَمُهُ .. أني أرى .. لونَ جلدِكَ .. لامعاً .. كليلةٍ ساخنة ..

وأرى عينين يَسكُنهُما الحزنُ .. مثل نافذةِ سردابٍ مظلم ..

وأرى كسراً .. عند حدودِ الروح ..

كلما رأيتُك .. تلفُّني عباءةُ الليلِ ..

يلفُّنا ..كونٌ مثقوبٌ عند سُرّةِ الوقتِ المترهل ..

هائلٌ هو .. بحجمِ الوجعِ النابتِ في الحنجرة ..

بحجمِ العصيانِ على سُحُبٍ تَناسَت بذرَ الأمطار ..

بحجمِ بقعةِ زيتٍ تلوّثُ حلقَ الشطِّ ..

هو  ذاتُ الشط …

حيثُ مَرَّ صاحبُ الزُنجِ .. قمراً.. يبزُغُ من ثقبِ عباءةٍ سوداء ..

أبيضاً كان .. وأصحابُهُ ليلاً داجيا ..

وفي بلادنا .. لاتُنسى الحكايا..

موجعةً كانت أساطيرُ المختارة ..

تمورُ جنفا .. قلوبُ عبيدِها..

ويجوسُ الظلمُ ويقطفُ ..  زهرَ المدائن ..

والخرابُ .. بلون ِ النارِ والطاعون ..

وحين تهاوى الزنجُ وصاحبُهم ..

كانت المدينةُ الحاضرةُ آيلة ً للسقوط ..

خرابٌ .. خراب ..

 الزُنجي .. مرَّ من هنا …

وكثيرٌ من البيضِ مأفونين كانوا .. آثمين

وحينَ سقطَ الجدارُ ليدفنَ تحتَهُ أحدَ عشرَ قمرا …

ماكان بفعلِ زُنجيٍّ أسود!

كانت قلوبٌ بطعمِ العلقمِ تحتلُّ المدينةَ الخَرِبة.

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