To Paul Robeson

May 30, 2022 0 By Yatharth

Nazim Hikmet

“My father was a slave, and my people died to build this country, and I am going to stay here, and have a part of it just like you. And no Fascist-minded people will drive me from it. Is that clear?”

From Robeson’s Testimony on 12th June 1956 before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), formed in the McCarthy Era to investigate and persecute communists. Click here to listen to the full testimony.

On his birthday, we present revolutionary Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet’s poem titled ‘To Paul Robeson’.

They don’t let us sing our songs, Robeson,
Eagle Singer, Negro brother,
They don’t want us to sing our songs.

They are scared, Robeson,
Scared of the dawn and of seeing
Scared of hearing and touching.
They are scared of loving
The way our Ferhat loved (*).
(Surely you too have a Ferhat, Robeson, What is his name?)

They are scared of the seed, the earth
The running water and the memory of
a friend’s hand
Asking no discount, no commission, no interest
A hand which has never passed like a bird in their hands.

They are scared, Negro brother,
Our songs scare them, Robeson.

(*) Ferhat is the name of a legendary Turkish lover, like Romeo or Tristan.

New York, 1954

Paul Robeson
124th Birthday of the Great Artist and Political Activist (9th April 1898 – 23rd January 1976)