Life of renowned Kurdish poet Sherko Bekas celebrated
By Sartip Othman
SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region – Sherko Bekas, perhaps the best known and loved Kurdish poet, was commemorated on August 4 in Sulaimani’s Azadi Park, where he is buried, on the fifth anniversary of his death.
Government and party officials attended the ceremony, including the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)’s Mala Bakhtiar and Sulaimani’s Governor Haval Abubakir. Both gave speeches about the life and literary works of Bekas.
Kurdish poems were also read aloud in the ceremony. Attendees received a CD of Bekas’ Milwanka poem and a book titled ‘The Letters of Sherko Bekas’.
Bekas, born in 1940 in Sulaimani, was the son of the Kurdish poet Fayaq Bekas. He died of cancer in Stockholm in 2013.
He published his first collection of poetry, Trifay Halbast (Light of Poetry), in 1968.
He was once a Peshmerga and wrote poems for the Kurdish movement.
In 1988, he was awarded Tucholsky Scholarship from the Pen Club in Stockholm and the Freedom Prize of Florence.
His poems have been translated to English, Arabic, Persian, and many other languages.
He became the first Minister of Culture in the first Kurdistan Regional Government cabinet in 1992. He also founded Sardam publishing house.
All of his works have been gathered into one anthology of eight thousand pages.
With my hand, I reached for the branch
The branch recoiled from excruciating pain
When as I reached for the branch
The stem of the tree cried out in pain
When I embraced the trunk of the tree
The earth under my feet shook
When I bent down
And picked up a handful of the soil
The entire Kurdistan
Let out a wail.
Soil, by Sherko Bekas
Photos: Sartip Othman / Rudaw