An Unofficial Translation of One of Birtukan Mideksa's Poems from Jail

November 14, 2009

In a recent short documentary posted on the internet, Birtukan Mideksa read a short poem in Amharic that she wrote while in a 4 meter by 2 meter jail cell with another prisoner. According to this documentary, her writing of the poem was triggered by the cruel harassment she faced from her handler police member of the Ethiopian government. Below is an unofficial translation of her poem. This unofficial translation is done in a literal sense to keep the original sentiment of the poem, as much as possible.

Go ahead, exhaust your power on me
You are being cruel
Show it on me
Even new
Bring on something new
Fully reveal your wild nature
To please yourself in my suffering

For the sake of my dream, to be exemplary
Let me die today if necessary
I was jailed and came here because of it
It is not a load on me, it is my vision

This life of yours, your wild nature
Here is my chest for your cheap bullet
Destroy it
Hinder it
Entangle it
There won't be sorrow
It will be my virtue

Let me tell you, raising my head high
You snatched me from among the people
Speed up, speed up, hurry, hurry
Leave everything in today's day
Of course, tomorrow is not yours
It has escaped from your hands
It has passed, it is not here

It is my baby's that I bore
That I brought to this world through painful labor
Of the star
The bright
Of Halle [name of Birtukan's daughter]
The shining one
Her world has no residue
Since you have drained it

Our longing
This beauty
Beautiful Ethiopia
Your bullet
Propelled and brought

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