Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Thoroughbred Night

A Thoroughbred Night

by Apti Bisultanov

(my tr.)

So bright
That a dog barks at its shadow
That one can see the breath of the sleeping grass
So pure

Go blind
From rain of shooting stars
Go mute
From poems
From beauty

A thoroughbred night
A mountain range is growing in my heart



Apti Bisultanov was born in 1959 in Goichu, Chechnya. He studied philology and worked as a lecturer, editor, publisher, and partisan. He was Minister for Social Protection in the government of President Aslan Maskhadov. In 1992 he received the Chechen National Award for his poem "Written in Chaibach". Since 2002 he has lived in Berlin. He received the award of the Netherlands-based Poets of All Nations Foundation (PAN) in 2003. In 2004, a collection of his poems in German translation, Schatten eines Blitzes, was published.

'Bisultanov goes on to say that it is only when children are killed that the world takes an interest in the conflict; a fact demonstrated by the hostage-taking in Beslan. He adds, however, that no-one is interested in the Chechen victims; even when these victims are children. Human rights organisations estimate that at least 40,000 children have died in the fighting over the past five years.

'"But regardless of how many die - be it 30,000, or 1,000, or one - it is still children that are dying,“ says Bisultanov, himself a father. “Beslan was the most horrific, gruesome mirror image of the Chechen war to date. Beslan is Chechnya".'

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