Salam Deng

So I asked someone for Uyghur rock song recommendations and she delivered. One of the songs she sent was this one called “Salam” by Tingshighuch (which means earphones haha). She really liked it because the lyrics are actually adapted from a poem by Abdurehim Otkur called Salam Deng. I loved it so much I made a lyric video with English subs on YouTube 🙂


But the original poem is a bit longer. So I translated that too. Because I’m procrastinating a lot right now. 


Salam Deng

Yelpünüp ötken shamallar, qulaq séling sözümge
Qolgha élip romallar tutung yashliq közümge

Éship taghlar üstidin bérip yéting yurtumgha
Yash yürektin séghinishliq salam éting yurtumgha

Baghqa bérip yetkende güllerni öpüp ötüng
Gul tüwide olturghan dilberni söyüp ötüng

Taghlar éship ötkende chécheklerge salam deng
Derd-elemde örtengen yüreklerge salam deng

Zulum bilen yardin juda mehbublargha salam deng
Qarangghu zindandiki mehbuslargha salam deng

Héch nersedin ghémi yoq bégimlerge salam deng
Atisi zindanda ölgen yétimlargha salam deng

Étizdiki emgeklik déhqanlargha salam deng
Baghda qan-qan yighlighan baghwenlerge salam deng

Yétim oghul, tul xotun bicharemge salam deng
Parche nangha qul bolghan diwanemge salam deng

Yat qollirida xarlanghan chimengülge salam deng
Nomus üchün jan bergen reyhangülge salam deng

Zöhresidin ayrilghan tahirlargha salam deng
Tili baghliq, dili daghliq shairlargha salam deng

Her jayda xar, her nege zar zeiplerge salam deng
Özi miskin, dili ghemkin ediblerge salam deng!

1945-yil Iyun, Lenju



Say Salam // Send my Salam

To the winds that fan by me, lend an ear to what I say
Hold your scarf up to my eyes and wipe my tears away

Climb over those mountains and reach over to my homeland
From my tearful heart send my homesick salam to my homeland

As you reach the orchards, caress the flowers as you pass by
Kiss the beauty who sits below the flowers as you pass by

As you pass over the mountains, send my salam to the blossoms
To the hearts that have suffered from distress, send my salam

To the lovers separated by oppression, send my salam
To the prisoners in those dark dungeons, send my salam

To the Begs with not a care in the world, send my salam
To the orphans whose fathers have died in gaols, send my salam

To the laborious peasants in the farmlands, send my salam
To the gardeners who bitterly wept in orchards, send my salam

To the abandoned boys, the widowed women, to the wretched, send my salam
To the beggars who slave for a piece of bread, send my salam

To the wild flowers humiliated by outsiders, send my salam
To the basil flowers that died for humility, send my salam

To the Tahirs separated from their Zohres, send my salam
To the poets with orchard tongues and black-stained souls, send my salam

To the feeble, bullied everywhere, longing for all, send my salam
To the destitute writers with sorrowed souls, send my salam!

June, 1945, Lanzhou


So I didn’t quite know what to title it. I could have just translated it as “Say Salam” which I think works perfectly fine, but I’m not sure if people outside of the culture would understand it. I almost translated it as “send my greetings” but that would’ve just ruined it, I think. Salam is such a mood. People can look it up. Google is a thing. But yeah idk?

I don’t actually know what “öpüp ötüng” means, even though I translated it as “caress… as you pass by”. Wild guess. The word wasn’t in the dictionary I use. Probably because the poem is from 1945. He also uses the word “Dilber” which is a girl’s name which apparently means “beautiful woman”. I always thought it was a type of flower but I guess not. He does use Chimengul and Reyhangul which are both names of girls as well as plants – pretty sad that Reyhan is a girl’s name in Uyghurche but in English it’s Basil, which is a guy’s name. I ended up translating them to English but the double entendre’s been lost :/

I kept Beg as it is because it’s a type of leader or official and I feel like it works in English the way Sultan or Bey works.

Again, references to Tahir and Zohre, an epic love story/tragedy popular amongst Turk cultures.

Interestingly, he says “bichareMge” and “diwaneMge” which means MY wretched/begger rather than THE, which would’ve been “bicharige” or “diwanige”. I wonder if that was to keep the flow of the poem, or if that was done with some sort of meaningful intent. I translated it as “the” rather than “my” to keep the flow though.


Yighla Shamal (Cry, Wind)

I came across this video by Mukeddes Mijit and now I will probably be reading more poems by Chimengul Awut – finally, a female poet! (Obviously not a first for Uyghur people, but a first for me, an amateur reader). You can find more information about her here (it’s in French, first published in this Uyghur-French journal, but Google Translate is a wondrous invention). I found more of her poems on this website.

So, because there’s a French translation in this video:

I decided to attempt an English translation. First, the Uyghurche:

Yighla Shamal
Chimengul Awut

Yighla shamal, ozung tokken ghazanglar uchun
Yighla shamal, ozong sokken yarlar uchun
Yighla shamal, ozong mokken ormanlar uchun
Men yighlashni oginey, oginey sendin

Yighla shamal, tozighan guller, leylalar uchun
Yighla shamal, kok muz tutqan deryalar uchun
Yighla shamal, derexmu yoq seyna uchun
Men yighlashni oginey, oginey sendin

Yargha baqqan qar kozum bolsun siningki
Yargha eytqan lekhte sozum bolsun siningki
Yighla shamal, baghringdiki oq miningki
Men yighlashni oginey, oginey sendin

Yighla shamal, tagh-u tashning peryadi uchun
Yighla shamal, lachinlarning armani uchun
Yighla shamal, meshuqlarning dermani uchun
Men yighlashni oginey, oginey sendin


Cry, Wind

Cry wind, for the leaves you have spilled
Cry wind, for the wounds you have severed
Cry wind, for the forests you have concealed
I will learn to cry, to cry from you

Cry wind, for the flowers, the lilacs you scattered
Cry wind, for the rivers held still with blue ice
Cry wind, for the treeless courtyards
I will learn to cry, to cry from you

Let me offer the dark eyes I attend to my lover
Let me offer the heartbreak I utter to my lover
Cry wind, the bullet in your heart is mine
I will learn to cry, to cry from you

Cry wind, for the anguish of stones and mountains
Cry wind, for the hopes and dreams of falcons
Cry wind, for the vitality of the lovers
I will learn to cry, to cry from you





Vijdan Soriqi (An Interrogation of Conscience)

More Abdurehim Heyt. This is by far my favourite song of his, probably because Adile Sidiq did a version of it with her group on the Uyghur version of The Voice that blew me to shreds. She incorporated rock so perfectly with Uyghur folk music T_T. Literally 3 people sent it to me because they know. Anyway, I translated it. It sounds better in Uyghurche but I tried. Enjoy.



Vijdan Soriqi

Tikisti: Abdulla Sawut
Muzikisi: Abdurehim Heyt

Koz achsam dunyagha, men bolup adem
“Yashaysen nechun?” dep soridi vijdan

Chong boldum yashidim, xeli yashghiche
Hayatning yolida davan ashquche
Tapmidim javabni bolghach bek nadan
Tapmidim javabni bolghach bek nadan

Qelbimde okunush, ming bir pushayman
Vijdanim soraqtin toxtimaydu hech

Nime dey, ijattin bolmisa tohpem?
Qizardi yuzlurum, yoqaldi kulkem
Yurugum jawapsiz turatti tip-tinch
Yurugum jawapsiz turatti tip-tinch

Dediki vijdanim, “Koz ichip qara,
Karvangha egiship salghin jengge at!”

Gheplettin oyghunup, qeddimni ruslap
Intildim kureshke, menzilni boylap
Sezdim men ozemni, shu chaghda perhat
Sezdim men ozemni, shu chaghda perhat

“Yashaysen nechun?” dep sorisa vijdan
“El-veten uchun!” dep jawab berimen

Bu yashash yolumdur, yanmaymen haman
Veten-xelq uchun barliqim qurban
Bu yashash yolumdur, yanmaymen haman
Veten-xelq uchun barliqim qurban


An Interrogation of Conscience

Lyrics: Abdulla Sawut
Music: Abdurehim Heyt

As I awakened to this world; I, a person,
“For what do you live?” asked Conscience

I matured and grew to quite an old age
‘Til I could create a mountain pass through life
Yet I could not find an answer, for I was ignorant
Yet I could not find an answer, for I was ignorant

In my heart there is lament, a thousand and one regrets
My conscience stays relentless in its interrogation

What can I say? I have made no cultural contributions
My face reddens in shame, my cheers fade away
My heart stays immobile, unable to answer
My heart stays immobile, unable to answer

My Conscience speaks: “Open your eyes and look about,
Follow the caravans and throw yourself to battle!”

I snapped out of my stupor, straightened my posture
Strode into conflict and reached my destination
I understood myself then*
I understood myself then

This is my path in life, I will not turn back
My existence is a sacrifice for my country and people
This is my path in life, I will not turn back
My existence is a sacrifice for my country and people


*He says Perhat here, which I presume is a reference to the Perhat & Sherin story but I didn’t know how to include it. If I remember correctly, Perhat digs through a mountain and splits it in half (could be alluding to the beginning of the poem), and he is a symbol of struggle.

Ketmeydu (Persistence)

I found out that they arrested Abdurehim Heyt. As of now there are no charges and it has been 5 months. As I was listening to his songs I decided to translate this song of his.


Music: Abdurehim Heyt
Lyrics: Imin Tursun

Qutluq qanlar tamghan yerler köchüp ketmeydu
Otluk tendin aqqan terler qurup ketmeydu
Til deshnemdin toyghan erler chöchüp ketmeydu
Ghuwa shamdin chiqqan nurlar yorup ketmeydu

Tuzaq bilen yash bulbullar ölüp ketmeydu
Aldam bilen sap köngüller külüp ketmeydu
Üzüsh bilen ghunche güller solup ketmeydu
Depsesh bilen bu bagh chöller bolup ketmeydu

Zulum qamcha salghan izler yütüp ketmeydu
Aldamchigha bizning eller pütüp ketmeydu
Chughundekni emdi güller kütüp ketmeydu
Ilim oyghan tehi gizler ötüp ketmeydu.


My Translation:


The lands where dripped our blessed blood will never immigrate
The sweat which dripped from our burning souls will not evaporate
Men adapted to censure and reproach will not fear nor hesitate
The rays of light from a dim-lit candle will never illuminate

Young nightingales will not die out due to traps and tricks
A naive heart will not stop to laugh due to lies and deception
The flower buds will not stop blooming once they have been picked
These gardens will not desertify for being crushed and flattened

Scars left from cruel whippings will not simply fade
Our people will not be fooled by a lying fake
Now the flowers will not wait for the chughundek*
Awaken, my people, these cracks won’t dissipate


*Chughundek is translated as a type of insect or a type of bird so I am not sure how to translate it, but it is a name of some sort of animal that eats flowers, so.


I also found this translation by Rahima Mahmut which helped:

The precious bloodstained earth won’t go away,
The pouring sweat from the hot soul won’t dry,
Brutality won’t shock men who are adapted to cruelty,
Rays of the sunset cannot brighten the sky.

Sorrow cannot kill the little nightingales
Lies cannot make the untainted heart laugh,
Flowers cannot become extinct from picking them,
Gardens cannot disappear because they are trodden down,

Scars left from cruel whipping cannot fade away,
Crooks cannot fool our people,
Flowers won’t succumb to insects that would destroy them,
The cracks in the earth will not close, wake up my nation.


…as well as some Turkish translations online, which I understood through Google translate.

Anyway, the poem is one that describes how we will not disappear because of some setback or crisis, and that we will learn from our history to continue fighting to stay alive. Insha Allah, Heyt and all the other innocent Uyghurs in prison or detention will be freed soon. Freedom for East Turkestan!

Men Olmidim (I Am Not Dead)

One of my favourite songs of Kuresh Kusen when I was a kid was Men Olmidim, which is quite telling of my childhood and politics lol. The song is one that gives strength and drive when everything is going wrong, and is a particularly good motivator and hype-song before protests (side-note: I should suggest this to the community). Here are the lyrics, followed by my attempt at a translation:

Men Olmidim

Ejdatlarning izidin mangmay turup,
Qisas uchun xenjerni almay turup,
Armanlirim emelge ashmay turup,
Meni oldi dimenglar hey ademler,
Men olmidim, olmeymen yaq olmeymen!

Kok bayraqni wetenge asmay turup,
Dushmenlerni tamami atmay turup,
Azap otining tangliri atmay turup,
Meni oldi dimenglar hey ademler,
Men olmidim, olmeymen yaq olmeymen!

Ghalibiyet marshini eytmay turup,
Wetinimdin bu zulum ketmey turup,
Putun dunya Uyghurni bilmey turup,
Meni oldi dimenglar hey ademler,
Men olmidim, olmeymen yaq olmeymen!

Men olmidim, olmeymen,
Kuresh olmeydu!


I Am Not Dead

Before I walk the footsteps of my forefathers
Before I take up my dagger in revenge
Before my hopes and dreams become reality
Do not say that I have died, oh people
I am not dead, I will never die, no, I will not die!

Before flying the blue flag over our country
Before shooting down every last one of our enemies
Before shooting the bullets of grief and agony
Do not say that I have died, oh people
I am not dead, I will never die, no, I will not die!

Before singing the anthem of victory
Before this oppression leaves my country
Before the entire world knows about Uyghurs
Do not say that I have died, oh people
I am not dead, I will never die, no, I will not die!

I am not dead, I will never die
Kuresh* will never die!


*Kuresh is the author’s last name, but it also means struggle, especially in terms of conflict or revolution. Does he mean ‘the struggle’ or does he mean his name like Otkur did in Uchrashqanda? Perhaps it is a technique used in traditional Uyghur poetry? I have no idea but it’s cool.

I first translated this as “I have not died” instead of “I am not dead” – which one is better? Or perhaps “I did not die”?


4/1/18 Edit:

I found a book with a translation of this poem! Apparently the poem is called “Kuresh Olmeydu” not “Men Olmidim” which makes more sense lol. Also the bit that says “Azap otining tangliri atmay turup” is actually “Azadliqning tangliri atmay turup” which means something totally different oops. And they went with “I have not died”.

The Struggle Will Not Die

Without walking in the steps of the ancestors,
Without drawing the dagger in revenge,
Without my dreams having come to fruition,
Do not say that I have died, o people!
I have not died. I will not die. No, I will not die.

Without the blue flag flying over the homeland,
Without slaying the last of the enemy,
Without the dawn of freedom having broken,
Do not say that I have died, o people!
I have not died. I will not die. No, I will not die.

Without singing the march of victory,
Without this tyranny leaving from my homeland,
Without the whole world knowing the Uyghur,
Do not say that I have died, o people!
I have not died. I will not die. No, I will not die.

I have not died. I will not die.
The struggle will not die.

Bu Dunya (This World)

I have always enjoyed Kuresh Kusen’s music. I remember our local mosque sold Kuresh Kusen CDs one time, and my dad brought one home. We listened to it on road trips interstate. As a young child growing up in the west, I’d had a bit of an aversion to very traditional Uyghur music, but somehow that didn’t matter with Kuresh Kusen. There was something about his music that I really connected to. So, recently, I remembered how great his songs were and have been looking up the lyrics. Here is a translation of one I found on this forum thread:

Bu Donya

Bu donya, obdan donya
Qayghuluk zindan donya
Qoynida hikmet tola
Undimes pinhan donya

Bu donya shundaq donya
Tulkiler owlaydu yilpiz
Yolwisi ketken tugap
Maymoni sultan donya

Bu donya shundaq donya
Burkiti tezgen donya
Hoqushi towlaydu ezen
Quzghuni mezin donya

Bu donya shundaq donya
Ussughan cholde yatar
Alimi ketmen chapar
Zalimi haqan donya


My translation:

This world is a good world
A prison-for-sorrow world
Plenty of wisdom in its hold
A secret, silent world

This world is that kind of world
The foxes stalk the leopard
The lions have left, extinct
The monkey-becomes-Sultan world

This world is that kind of world
The eagle-reined-in world
The owl calls the Azaan yet
The raven-becomes-Muezzin world

This world is that kind of world
The thirsty lie in the deserts
The intellects work the fields
The tyrant-becomes-Khan world


Comments? I was wondering if I should keep it as “The” or change it to a possessive “Its” as that might be more accurate. It’s the world’s monkeys that become Sultans… Anyway, I’m not totally sure if I’m right about this, but the poem sounds a bit sarcastic, but at the same accepting of the unfairness in the world. Like a double- or maybe triple- negative.

Approaches to Translating


I am currently reading an essay called “Translating Medieval European Poetry” by Burton Raffel. As far as I can tell, Raffel seems to be a fan of completely rewriting the words so that they express the same sentiments elicited from the audience of that era. For example, if a poem refers to something that was common knowledge back then but may no longer be common knowledge now, he, as a translator, will not translate it exactly. Instead, he will either explain context within the poem or change it completely. He uses Beowulf as an example. There is a section of the poem that directly translates to:

“Often… he took away (deprived) of their mead hall seats crowds of enemies, many tribes (people, nations)”

…which can literally mean:

“More than once, he pulled seats in the mead-hall out from beneath troops of his foes, tribe after tribe”

Although we may come to understand what that means in context, we don’t get the same rhythm and cadence of the original poem, nor do we get the full brunt of the meaning. Depriving a free warrior of his rightful seat in the mead hall means you are depriving them of their freedom (turning him into a slave), and that is usually done in battle, war. That is what the audience of that time would have gotten – something frightening and awe-inspiring rather than something that feels weirdly worded. So the author translates it as:

“He made slaves of soldiers from every/ Land, crowds of captives he’d beaten/ Into terror”

Completely different, but gives the audience the same feeling that the old audience might have felt.

Raffel also says using exact translations is not faithfulness to the text but rather pedantry and “poetry’s deadly enemy” which made me laugh. Translators are so dramatic. Perhaps he is correct.

Another translator, Lydia Davis, takes a different approach to translation. She believes in straying as little as possible from the original text. From her introduction to a translation of Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert in “Some Kind of Beautiful Signal”, it can be induced that many translators take a “re-writing” approach in order to convey the irony, the type of vocabulary, the level of diction and order of elements, the overall style of the work. However, she believes that translating it truthfully will bring out the irony or the style just as it is brought out in the original work. She does concede that a literal translation is not a well-written one, but gifted writers who add phrases and amplify or recombine sentences of the original work often lose the essence of that which they are translating. She compromises the two approaches then – a well written yet faithful translation.

I think the approach one takes to translation depends on what one is translating and what languages are involved. Perhaps it is easier to stay faithful and convey the meaning of more contemporary works compared to more archaic ones. In any case, most translators seem to believe that translation is a compromise and will not always be the same as the original. Perhaps it is like how a movie adaptation is never quite the same as the book. What makes a good adaptation however, is whether the movie captured the spirit of that book.

Uchrashqanda (The Encounter)

I have always wanted to translate this poem called Uchrashqanda by Abdurehim Otkur. Abdurehim Heyt made it into a song and there is also a Turkish version which seems popular – enough for there to be translations of it online like here and here. The latter also has an English translation. Mine turned out differently. Although I had also translated “didi” as “she said” previously (for correct tense), I kept thinking it might sound better and convey the meaning better if I said “she says”, which although usually is present tense, can also make it sound like it has happened in the past (colloquially speaking). In any case, first, the original:


Abdurehim Ötkür
8 March 1948, Ürümçi

Seher körgen chighi, közüm sultanini
Didim sultanmusen? U didi yaq yaq
Közleri yalqunluq, qolları xınılıq
Didim cholpanmusen? U didi yaq yaq

Didim isming nime? Didi Ayxandur
Didim yurtung qayer? Didi Turpandur
Didim bashingdiki? Didi hijrandur
Didim heyranmusen? U didi yaq yaq

Didim aygha oxshar! Didi yüzümmu?
Didim yultuz kebi! Didi közümmu?
Didim yalqun sachar! Didi sözümmu?
Didim volqanmusen? U didi yaq yaq

Didim qiyaq nedur? Didi qashimdur
Didim qunduz nedur? Didi sachimdur
Didim onbesh nedur? Didi yashimdur
Didim jananmusen? U didi yaq yaq

Didim dengiz nedur? Didi qelbimdur
Didim rena nedur? Didi livimdur
Didim shiker nedur? Didi tilimdur
Didim bir aghzime! U didi yaq yaq

Didim zenjir turar? Didi boynumda
Didim ölüm bardur? Didi yolumda
Didim bilerzikchu? Didi qolumda
Didim qorqarmusen? U didi yaq yaq

Didim nichün qorqmassen? Didi tengrim bar
Didim yene chu? Didi xelqim bar
Didim yene yoqmu? Didi rohim bar
Didim shükranmusen? U didi yaq yaq

Didim istek nedur? Didi gülümdur
Didim chilishmaqqa? Didi yolumdur
Didim Ötkür nime? Didi qulumdur
Didim satarmusen? U didi yaq yaq

My translation:

The Encounter

Abdurehim Ötkür
8 March 1948, Ürümçi

Dawn breaks as I catch sight of my Sultan
I ask, are you a Sultan? She says, I am not
Her eyes blaze with fire, her hands red with henna
I ask, are you Venus? She says, I am not

I ask, what is your name? She says, I am Ayhan
I ask, where is your home? She says, it is Turpan
I ask, that on your head? She says it is a farewell
I ask, are you a lover? She says, I am not

I say, it looks like the moon. She says, you mean my face?
I say, they are stars. She says, you mean my eyes?
I say, it blazes bright. She says, you mean my words?
I ask, perhaps a volcano? She says, I am not

I ask, where are the grass slopes? She says, they are my brows
I ask, where are the beavers? She says, they are my hair
I ask, where are the fifteen*? She says, that is my age
I ask, are you beloved? She says, I am not

I ask, where is the sea? She says, it is my heart
I ask, where is beauty? She says, they are my lips
I ask, where is sweetness? She says, it is my tongue
I ask, may I taste? She says, you may not

I say, there is a chain. She says, it is on my neck
I say, there is death. She says, it is on my path
I ask, and the bracelet? She says, it is on my wrist
I ask, are you afraid? She says, I am not

I ask, why are you not? She says, I have my God
I ask, what else? She says, I have my people
I ask, what more? She says, I have my soul
I ask, are you grateful? She says, I am not

I ask, where are wishes? She says, they are my rose
I ask, and to war? She says, it is on my path
I ask, what is Ötkür? She says, he is my hand
I ask, will you sell him? She says, I will not

*The only other reference to 15 I know of is the moon cycle but I am not sure if that is what he is referencing

I still struggle with the first two lines.

Those last two lines really stuck out because I originally thought “otkur” referred to sharpness and “qol” referred to a hand – so I thought she was saying her hand was sharp (some sort of physical strength). But I realised from the translations today that it was not “qol” but “qul” which sounds very similar but means “servant” (so it’s pretty cool that “hand” can mean both a hand and a servant in English) and “Otkur” referred to the original author’s name (Abdurehim Otkur) – so he asks her (in third person) who he is to her, and she says he is her slave, but she will not sell him out. This also brings it back to the beginning when he sees her and immediately asks if she is a Sultan, a king. Double entendres are fun.

Interestingly though, the Turkish translations say “what is…” instead of “where is…” and I think both make sense but I had always heard it as “where is…” and all the Uyghur text versions say نەدۇر not نىمە or نېمە or “نېدۇر” (which could be “what” in some dialect).

The most noticeable difference is that I translate “yaq-yaq” as “I am not” rather than “no-no”. It works really well in Uyghurche but in English it has sort of comedic connotations (at least for me), for example, a direct translation would have been:

I said, why aren’t you afraid? She said, I have God
I said, what else? She said, I have my people
I said, what more? She said, I have my soul
I said, are you grateful? She said, no-no

It sounds funny? I doubt Otkur was going for funny. Witty, yes, funny, no. Maybe “no I’m not” would have been more accurate (as there are still two no’s), but I did not want to have to choose between “I’m” and “I am”.

Anyway, I will probably work on it more later. Especially those first two lines. I just can’t get them right. I appreciate any suggestions.

3/11/17 Edit: This site translates the title to “The Encounter” which I think is actually a lot better than “When We Meet” which is what I had previously.

29/12/17 Edit: I found this photo of an original version of the poem –


It’s pretty interesting because there are a few changes. The first line, which I was having so much trouble with, is “ettigen kormushdm ‘kozum sultanini'” — he puts ‘my eye’s Sultan’ in quotation marks, which makes it easier to translate to something like – “I saw her at dawn, the Sultan of my eyes”. Another big change is that Heyit uses “didi” for every line throughout, whereas Otkur uses “sozlidi” for whenever Ayhan says “yaq-yaq”. This doesn’t change the meaning much (sozlidi means “she spoke” and didi means “she said”) so… the meaning is the same, but I guess it gives a change to the otherwise monotonous “didi”. It’s also cool because the spelling and letters from that time is not the modern Uyghur that we use now, and is more Arabic – fr example, some words still lack vowels, ي is still being used interchangeably as ي or ې, and Sultan is spelled with a ط which is no longer in the Uyghur alphabet. Even the title – ا و instead of ئۇ. And I’m pretty sure we no longer use ع for Abdurehim. Cool stuff.

Oyghan (Wake Up!)


I admit, it is difficult to translate poetry. However, the translation of Oyghan on this website was bothering me so I gave it a shot myself.

Here is the original poem:


Abduxaliq Uyghur (9/2/1901 – 13/3/1933)
Turpan, 1921

Hey, peqir Uyghur, oyghan, uyqung yeter,
Sende mal yoq, emdi ketse jan keter.
Bu olumdin ozengni qutqazmisang,
Ah, sening haling heter, haling heter.

Qop! Dedim, bexingni koter, uyqungni ach,
Reqibning bexini kes, qenini chach.
Kuz echip etrapqa obdan baqmisang,
Olsen armanda, bir kun yoq ilaj.

Helimu jansizgha ohxaydu tening,
Xunga yoqmu anche olumdin gheming.
Qichqirsam qimirlimayla yatisen,
Oyghanmay olmekchimu sen xu peting.

Kozungni yoghan echip etrapqa baq,
Oz istiqbaling heqqide oylan uzaq.
Ketse qoldin bu ghanimet, purset,
Kelichek ixing chataq, ixing chataq.

Echinar konglum sanga, hey Uyghurum,
Sebdixim, qerindixim, bir tuqqunum.
Koyunup halinggha oyghatsam seni,
Anglimaysen zadi, neme bolghunung.

Kelidu bir kun puxayman qilisen,
Tektige gepning xu chaghda yetisen.
“Hep” deseng xu chaghda olgurmey qalur,
Xunda, Uyghur, sozige tengberisen.’


Here is their translation:

Wake Up!

Hey, poor Uyghur, wake up, it is enough to sleep,
Now you have nothing, the only thing to lose is your life.
If you do not rescue yourself from death,
Ah, your condition will be fatal, will be fatal.

Stand up! I say you, raise your head, wake up of your dream.
Cut the head of your enemy, spill his blood!
If you do not open your eyes and look about,
You will die asleep one day, that is your only chance.

Already, your body looks like lacking a soul,
May be that is why you do not care much about death?
I am calling you, but you are lying motionless,
Do you want to die asleep?

Take a broad view of things, look about,
Think well about your future.
If this chance is lost,
Your future will be bad, will be bad.

I worry so much about you, hey, my Uyghur,
My trench mate, my brother, my relative.
I am worrying about you, I am waking you up,
But you do not listen to me at all, what is wrong with you?!

The day will come, you will be so sorry,
Then, you will understand the real meaning of my words.
You will say “Oh”, but it will be late.
Then, Uyghur, you will think about my calls.

Translated by Abdurahim Ayitbayev


Here is another translation I found published in “Some Kind of Beautiful Sign”

To Wake Up

Ay! Uyghurs, my people, wake up, you have slept enough,
Nothing left to lose but precious life.
If you want to save yourselves from extinction,
Ah! Wake up! Our life is threatened, the situation is worsening.

Stand, I say, raise your head, and wake up,
It is time to raze the enemy, I call, be brave, fight, shed blood.
If you do not open your eyes and look carefully around you,
You will die with regret. No choice but to wake up.

Is there no difference, even now, between you and the dead?
Is this why you are still unmoved, as death quickly approaches?
Please, act now, join the call, awake from your deep sleep.
Or would you rather die sleeping? To never wake?

Open your eyes, be strong and unwavering, face the real
In thinking of your fate and the future of the Uyghurs.
If our nation loses this rare and precious chance,
Uyghurs will suffer, our loves will be misery.

My heart is bleeding, ay, my fellow Uyghurs,
My friend, my brothers and sisters, my family.
With my injured heart, with love, I try to wake you,
What is happening? Why don’t you listen and rise up?

When that day comes, how sorry Uyghurs will be,
Then, you will understand the meaning of my call.
It will be too late for regret, too late to wake,
Only then, Uyghurs, my people, will you remember me.

Translation by Dolkun Kamberi and Jeffrey Yang


I found sections of another translation in a book called Factory Girl by Josanne La Valley:

Hey, poor Uyghur, wake up, that is enough sleep…

Hey, poor Uyghur, wake up, you have slept long enough.
You have nothing. What is now at stake is you very life.

Stand up! I tell you. Raise your head, wake up from your dream.
Cut off the head of your enemy, spill his blood!

If you do not open your eyes and look about,
You will die asleep one day, that is your fate.


Here’s my attempt:


Awaken poor Uyghur, you’ve slept long enough,
You have no livelihood, only your life to spare.
If you do not save yourself from your own demise,
Your status is endangered, your state’s jeopardized.

Stand! I say, raise your head, come out from your slumber,
Spill the blood of your enemy, set their heads asunder.
If you do not open your eyes and inspect your surroundings,
You’ll die in regret; there will be no second chance.

Even now your body resembles the dead,
Is this why death is not a cause for concern?
I call for you and you lie there, immobile,
Will you die like this, never awakened?

Open your eyes and peruse your surroundings,
Contemplate carefully upon your future.
If you let go of this precious opportunity,
You will be in great trouble, in great difficulty.

My dear Uyghur, my heart goes out to you;
My trench mate, my family, my relation.
I try to wake you, worried for your condition,
But why is it that you never listen to me?

The day will come when you will lament.
It’s then you will understand the words I say to thee.
“Oh,” you will utter, but much too late,
It is then, Uyghur, when you’ll hearken me.


I’m not sure if that’s better but trying to translate it myself has settled those bothersome feelings. I will probably attempt to translate it again in a few years.


Edit 27/10/17:

So I came across another translation which was particularly interesting because it interpreted the “Uyghur” in the last line as a reference to the poet himself (Abduxaliq Uyghur). I’ve seen this done in a few Uyghur poems, so it’s not unlikely that it could be the case. (Also, I just watched the Amannisakhan movie and she refers to her pen name “Nefise” in her poems, too, which was fascinating). Anyway, I’ll leave that translation here as well. If you click this link I believe there are also Arabic, Azeri, Chinese, French, Japanese, Berber, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, and Uzbek translations:

Wake Up!

Hey, poor Uyghur, wake up, you have slept long enough,
You have nothing, what is now at stake is your very life.
If you don’t rescue yourself from this death,
Ah, your end will be looming, your end will be looming.

Stand up! I said, raise up your head, no more slumber,
Behead your enemy, spill his blood!
If you don’t open your eyes and look around,
The end of your frustrated existence is certain.

Already, your body looks lifeless,
Is that why you are indifferent to death?
You remain unmoved by my calls,
Do you want to perish this way, without coming to your senses?

Open your eyes wide, look around,
Think well about your future,
If you let this one chance escape,
Tomorrow will be nothing but sorrow, nothing but sorrow.

My heart pities you, o my Uyghur,
My companion, my brother, my relative,
With a burning soul, I am calling out to you,
But your are not hearing me, what is going on?

One day will come, and you will regret,
That day you will understand the reason of my calls.
You will say “alas!”, but it will be too late,
Then you will realize what Uyghur (the poet) meant.

Original translator: Unknown
© Retranslated by: Rahman & Waris A. Janbaz
Paris, August 21, 2004