We’re pleased to be able to republish a poem by the Syrian Kurdish poet Amir Darwish with permission of publishers Smokestack books. A collection of Amir Darwish’s poetry can be found in the book Don’t Forget the Couscous.
An apology from Muslims (or those perceived to be Muslims) to humanity
We are sorry for everything
That we have caused humanity to suffer from.
Sorry for Algebra and the letter X.
Sorry for all the words we throw at you;
Amber, candy, chemistry, cotton, giraffe, hazard,
Jar, jasmine, jumper, lemon, lime, lilac,
Oranges, sofa, scarlet, spinach,
Talisman, tangerine, tariff, traffic, tulips,
Mattress (yes mattress) and the massage you enjoy on it:
We are sorry for all of these.
Sorry that we replaced alcohol with coffee for Enlightenment philosophers.
Speaking of hot drinks,
We are sorry for the cappuccino the Turks brought over.
Sorry for the black Arabian race horses,
For the clock,
Abdul in the US is sorry for what so and so did;
He does not know him but he is sorry anyway.
Sorry that we accompanied Columbus on his journey to the States.
And sorry for the Arab man with him
Who was the first to touch the shore and shout ‘Honolulu’
And named the place after him.
Sorry for the architecture in Spain and the Al Hambra palace there.
We apologise for churches in Seville
With their stars of David at the top that we built with our hands.
We say sorry for every number you use in your daily life from the 0 to
Even Adnan the Yezidi (mistaken for a Muslim)
Is sorry for the actions of Abu whatever who beheads people in Syria.
Sorry for the mercury chloride that heals wounds,
Please give us some –
Because the guilt of initiating all of the above
Gives us a wound as big as this earth.
Sorry for the guitar that was played by Moriscos in Spain
To ease their pain when they were kicked out of their homes.
Sorry for the hookah as you sip on its lips
And gaze into the moon hearing the Arabian Nay.
Sorry for cryptanalysis and the ability to analyse information systems,
To think what is at the heart of the heart of the heart and bring it to the world.
Sorry for painting Grenada white to evade social hierarchy.
Sorry for the stories in The Arabian Nights.
Every time we see a star, we remember to be sorry for Astronomy.
We are sorry that Mo Farah claimed asylum here
And went to become the British champion of the world.
Sorry for non-representational art,
Pattern and surface decoration.
We are sorry for all the food we brought over:
From tuna to chicken tikka masala,
Right up to the shawarma roll.
And don’t forget the couscous.
If we forgot to apologise for something, never mind,
We are sorry for it without even knowing it.
Most of all we are sorry for Rumi’s love poems,
And we desperately echo one of them to you:
Liberate my soul.
Fill me with your love and
Release me from the two worlds.
If I set my heart on anything but you
Let fire burn me from inside.
Take away what I want.
Take away what I do.
Take away what I need.
Take away everything
That takes me from you.
Please forgive us.
We are sorry and cannot be sorry enough today.