Project Description

Bashir Algamar


Bashir Algamar was born in Sudan in 1955. He came to England as a political refugee in 1993 after being imprisoned for his poem: Patience on a beach. Since then he has lived in Brighton.

Bashir is a poet, songwriter and composer. Since 1991 he has written and composed more than 40 poems and songs, mainly in Arabic. Most of them are well known in his home country, Sudan. Some of his songs have been recorded by Sudanese National TV and radio. At present he is working on a new collection of poetry, entitled: “Rhythm and resonance”. He is also planning to perform his poetry in several countries with a Sudanese singer.

Bashir has taken part in several art exhibitions and poetry readings in England: in Cardiff, London, Liverpool and Bristol. He is also a well-known proponent of the “Oud”: an oriental musical string instrument.

His poetry deals mainly with his homeland, exile, human suffering and love. It is written either in classical Arabic or in Sudanese local dialogue. The poems contain many emotions, images and metaphors; and are written in a musical and rhythmic language.

A child and a doll

For Huda Ghaliya

Buried in the fields of death
it waits.

Suddenly the world plunges into darkness and destruction.

You look up
your father’s voice reaches you
a faint moaning wail from the midst of the wreckage.

You follow it with eagerness.

Your mother and your brothers
are lost in the womb of eternal silence
they have breathed their last asleep.

Alone, you continue to search wondering:
Where is your doll?
a few moments ago, she was here.

The doll lies
cast beside an unexploded bomb.

You explode!

Her head is split open, her limbs mangled into the sand;
the doll who gave you endless joy.

You combed her hair, talked to her.

A bomb plummeting from the sky
missed its target.

What does it mean?
It doesn’t matter
Did it kill someone?
It doesn’t matter.

This you will never understand.

Your lifetime is just six years
your brother’s bones lie amongst fire, smoke, wreckage,
and other bones.

You carry your doll’s head, dreaming,

You shake off the shrapnel and dust,
and you wonder why they carved up her hands and legs
yet you don’t understand.

Alone in a wasteland
the head of the doll cupped in your hands
your small head cannot grasp it.

You remain bemused:
Where is your mother’s head?
Where are your father’s remains?

The distorted features, the ugly images
are etched in an innocent memory.

The terrible odour of death chokes you.

You scan the scene, taking photographs with your eyes
Silence covers the earth.

Carrying your doll, you run away.

They ask you where the remains of your doll are
and you cry.

They amputated her hands, her legs
only her head remains,
witness to a minor tragedy.

The tragedy of uprooting –
uprooting human beings
their memory, and their identity
the swallowing of earth
the sucking of blood.

The past remembers the past
joins the present…
…and you grow older.

The volcano threatens to erupt
the shameful images
are burnt into the little girl’s memory.

Twenty years on, the girl and the doll’s head remain
Anger will not surrender.

Mother earth, the whole earth
belongs to everyone.

Love, true love
belongs to those who give it.

No borders, no passports are needed.

Our mother earth gives abundantly of all her wealth
of everything, joyfully
gratified when we meet our needs
angry when we become greedy.

Then she is sickened, and throws out lava
crying a torrent of tears.
Overwhelmed with fear
she shakes into an earthquake.

Yet we feel no shame
you, I, us, them
all are responsible.

Blinded by our avarice
we pushed our mother earth to destruction.

Huda Ghaliya: a 7 year-old Palestinian girl who lost her entire family to an Israeli missile while picnicking on the beach.