Şahîn B. Soreklî was born in the Kurdish region of northern Syria bordering Turkey [West Kurdistan]. He has lived in Sydney since 1968 and has been working as a teacher / education officer since 1978 and joined the SBS Radio in 1985.
In addition to Kurdish and English he speaks German, Arabic and Turkish.
The Flag and The Flame
By Shahîn B. Soreklî (Chahin Baker)
Full of pride I watched you my Sydney
Opening your heart to the world
Of lively youth and colourful flags.
As the ocean kissed your shore
And your rivers flowed with joy
Millions witnessed you being crowned
The queen of all cities.
You are the city of water and life,
You are the garden of many parks,
Proud of your Aboriginal heritage,
Cosmopolitan, yet Australian.
Your harbour offered hope to millions,
Like the family watching TV the other night:
When the Olympic Parade began
And the flags passed one by one
A child whispered to her mother:
“There was a flag for Andorra,
There was flag for Aruba,
Why wasn’t there one for Kurdistan?”
Her mother, hiding her warm tears,
Kissed the child and proudly said:
“But Australia has a flag
And you are an Australian Kurd.
Maybe one day, like Cathy Freeman,
You too will light a big flame
And those who govern Kurdistan
Will wake and feel the shame.”
The child felt so very happy
To know she too had a flag
And in her heart a dream was born:
To one day light the flame.
In your eyes I see one of my sisters
buried in a marriage at fifteen
In your face I see the despair
of a thousand Kurdish girls
with wings colourful but broken
yet lively and wanting to fly
In your hair I see the nights
of our country Kurdistan
yet full of dangerous waves
that can give or take life
Your lips are sealed in the photograph
but the words reaching me from you
are enough to fill a book with poems
expressing the agony of many migrant girls
loved to the point of suffocation
by those who mean well
yet their limitless love can kill
When the bullet broke your life
many hearts in Sweden bled
and in the country of your father
a star fell from the sky
but the clouds were too thick that night
no one could see it passing by
In my garden I saw roses weeping
or maybe the tears were mine
greeting your soul from Sydney
and begging your forgiveness at the same time
When your heart stopped beating
and the stream of your dreams were blocked
when your wishes were buried in dust
and the windows of the world got shut
many of us got drowned in shame
for failing to find the answers
Who should we curse for crushed roses
we were not able to protect?
How can we free birds from cages
without them being caught and slain?
Should we search for the lost answers
in the books of the prophets?
Are the answers in the law book
or are they hidden within cultures?
I look at your photograph again and again
your face looks so familiar
I KNOW HER I keep on saying
with a feeling of guilt deep in my heart
tormenting me for having failed
to lend a hand before you fell.
(In 2002 a Kurdish girl was killed by her father in Sweden. This poem is devoted to her and all the girls who lost their lives in the name of “honour”)
ARE YOU FREE?
"Are you free, son?" asked the old man.
"Yes, I am," answered the young man carelessly.
"And what about your neighbours, son, are they free?" asked the old man again.
"I don't care," replied the young man.
"Then you are not free, son, nor do you deserve to be free" said the old man and continued his way.