Project Description

Hasan Bamyani

Hasan Bamyani

As a teacher in Afghanistan, Hasan Bamyani was attacked by the Taliban for teaching girls. When he fled in 2001 he was forced to leave his family behind in Iran. In 2006 he finally received leave to remain in Britain. He now works long hours in a department store and a cinema, and hopes to be able to bring his wife and children to join him in the not too distant future.

His work has appeared in Exiled Writers Ink! and in The Story of My Life: Refugees writing in Oxford, published by The Charlbury Press, 2005. (Copies available from .) Hasan has filled three further notebooks with poetry and continues to write every day.


Butchers of history, looters of land,
Against Buddhas of peace you lifted your hand

You treasure the worst that our fathers have sown,
Heap death and disaster on the treasures we own

Like a bloodthirsty flood you ravage our land,
And savage the glory of ancient Bamyàn

Haters of beauty, lovers of pain,
On the cloth of our country you spread like a stain

Owls of the darkness, stay in your barn,
Don’t let your night darken our noon

You’re Fascists again, behind a new name,
So leave us in peace and leave us alone

Cry, Bamyàn – cry, Bamyàn – cry blood, O, Bamyàn
Peak of the world and crown of our land

Let Kowà be our guide, the iron-armed man,
Let us stand like a band round ancient Bamyàn

Let Zohòg be defied, who was only a man,
Like all the assassins of Afghanistan

On the brow of our land, Bamyàn is the crown,
Of our art it’s the cradle, from the great Buddhas down

So fly down from the mountains, gold bird of our land,
And sing at the grave of the dead Taliban

This poem commemorates the destruction by the Taliban of the famous Buddha statues in the Afghan city of Bamyàn in 2001.

Kowà the iron-worker was a hero of ancient times who led an uprising against the cruel king Zohòg


Into my cell I’ll call her
From her honey lips I’ll drink

When her golden hair enfolds me
I am aflame, I am

I shall knock a hundred times
On her wooden gate

I shall kiss the stem of her throat
I shall blow the dust of sorrow
Off her memory like ash

And when at last she brings
The cup of her lips to me
The bowl of her arms to me

I shall tear the chain from my door
And wait no more

O golden-haired sun
A thousand tales of you
Shine in my window

Come to me
Come to me