When Melodies Gather: Oral Art of the Mahra

The Occupation of Iraq

The following are two lines from a longer poem that addresses the US occupation of Iraq in 2003. These lines were composed by Muḥammad Sālim al-Jidḥī and recited to me by an anonymous Mahri in al-Ghaydha, 2008. He either did not know or did not want to recite the rest of this poem.

1) fōn ṭāṭ ʾāzūm we-ǧhēz ḳawwēt // we-ḳlōṭ b-ǧeyś men śī kelkəlētThere once was a man [who] came to a decision and prepared his forces // and encircled his army against any perturbations
2) we-ḥḥarb ḏ-bawš śefh ʾār ǧersēt // mṣōna hdūm we-ḫrūb ʾāddētBut Bush’s war ended up exhausting // factories destroyed and equipment wrecked

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