Poems from the Disappeared
A beautiful yet chilling collection of translated poetry by one of the disappeared in Turkmenistan has been published.
Manuscripts containing Batyr Berdyev’s powerful and heart-wrenching poems were smuggled out of prison, and have now been published in book form by the Prove They Are Alive! campaign.
Parting Song: Poems from prison is a collection of poems written as letters to the wife and son of the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, in the early days of his detention. After his conviction to 25 years imprisonment in 2003, witnesses reported that Berdyev had been severely beaten and tortured, but Berdyev himself has not been seen or heard from since.
For several years, the organizations behind the Prove! campaign have raised the issue of enforced disappearances in Turkmenistan, detailing cases and publishing reports from one of the most closed countries in the world.
The campaign is a joint effort to raise human rights violations in Turkmenistan by organizations the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Crude Accountability, Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, Freedom Files, Human Rights Center Memorial and Human Rights Watch.
Excerpt from «15 Days After» by Batyr Berdyev
I close my eyes and see
Our son sprawled out in sleep.
He’s a little taller now, isn’t he,
Or is it my imagination?
How I want to hold him, sing him lullabies…
Our little sun! Sleep, little son, sleep.
And I dream I am afraid to get up,
Scared that I might wake him.
And then we will softly close
The bedroom doors and will be alone
This night of whispers, passionately
Confess our love to each other.