Monday, July 20, 2009

Sassan Tabatabai in PEN Translation Slam

Sassan Tabatabai, a contributor to and supporter of PBJ since the journal's inception, is being featured in the first of a series of online Translation Slams organized by PEN American Center. His translation is of a political slogan devised by protesters who took to the streets of Iran this year after results of the June presidential elections were announced. From the PEN American site:
The slogan refers directly to an insult levied at protesters by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who referred to them as khas-o-khaashaak, meaning dirt and dust, scraps and bits. The structure of this slogan -- I am / you are -- recalls a ghazal included in the collection Divaan-eh Shams by Rumi, the classic 13th century Persian poet who is generally considered one of the foremost figures in Iranian literary history and is known for celebrating love in his poetry. That slogans in the current protests in Iran are being based on poems bears witness to the extent to which poetry plays a role in the Iranian upbringing and consciousness.
Tabatabai's version of the protest slogan ends with a statement of resolute determination: "I am brave, I am bold, I am the lord / of this land." Both translations -- that by Tabatabai, and the other by Niloufar Talebi, director of The Translation Project -- can be seen beside the Persian/Farsi text of the protest poem at the PEN American Center website.

No comments: