The works of one hundred twenty five internationally recognized poets from sixty-eight countries have been published in a 600 page multilingual anthology and collaborative poem. Titled Poems for the Hazara, it’s subject is the plight of the Hazara, one of the most persecuted political/ethnic groups in the world. The Hazara have suffered repeated acts of genocide, slavery, and forced displacement, since the beginning of the nineteenth century, due to their progressive religious beliefs and culture. For example, they strongly promote gender equality, encouraging women to participate fully in education, government, healthcare, work, and a broad range of activities outside the home.
A Turkic people, the Hazara people live primarily in Central Asian countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and India. Millions of Hazara people throughout history have been forced to leave their original homeland– today called Afghanistan. Hundreds of thousands of Hazara have settled as refugees and political asylums in Europe, the Americas, and Australia.
The poems in this anthology are in seventeen original languages. All non-English poems have English translations. The cover features a representation of the flag of Hazaristan and an image of the ancient Buddha sculpture of Bamiyan, a principal symbol of Hazara history and culture. It was a well-known masterpiece of the visual and intangible heritage of humanity, and was destroyed by the Taliban in March 2001.
Hazara exiled poet and executive editor Kamran Mir Hazar says “this anthology not only contains poems for the Hazara, but poems that represent world poetry today. It includes modern Japanese Haiku, an abstract poem of Brazil, Latin American magic realism, contemporary forms of stream of consciousness, and philosophic European poetry as well as fluid forms of African poetry.
While thousands of international troops are in Afghanistan, the Hazara remain in danger in their own homeland. They face systematic discrimination and attacks from the Taliban and their agents.
Japanese poet and director of the World Haiku Association Ban’ya Natsuishi says “to our displeasure, the history of some people, like the Hazara’s is often distorted or destroyed. The Hazara people of central Asia overlapped various cultures; they enriched our civilization. Here we ardently dedicate our various poems in various languages to encourage the Hazara to restore their honor.”
French Mauritian poet Khal Torabully a contributor to this anthology said: “The Hazara, as a people have survived ruthless oppression. As natural poets they have flown the colorful kites of life … Too often, they have travelled in wordlessness. But the time has come to castigate the plight of the voiceless. Poetry, the soul of their language, has travelled with them, across all borders. The HAZARA poems bear witness to their irrepressible presence. Read it, and see how the poem mirrors their freedom and ours.”
Catalan poet, actress, and playwright Angelina Llongueras says “Writing a poem for the Hazara forces you to look at your own history of oppression. It contributes to a deeper understanding of the diversity of cultures in Afghanistan – thus of the world. It makes you confront the fact that all of us count as voices to put an end to the violence and insanity, that drive to extinction, so many people in the world, for simply existing and being who they are. The Hazara are us, we are the Hazara.
In addition to the anthology, the book includes a unique multiform collaborative poem, to which 23 poets from around the world contributed.
An open letter addressed to world leaders in support of the Hazara is an important addendum. It is signed by 354 noted poets including Nobel, Pulitzer, continental and national literary prize-winners as well as presidents of international poetry festivals, presidents of PEN clubs, and writers associations from 96 countries.
Title: Poems for the Hazara: A Multilingual Poetry Anthology and Collaborative Poem by 125 Poets from 68 Countries
Executive Editor Kamran Mir Hazar
Hardcover and paperback: 600 pages
Publisher: Full Page Publishing (2014)
ISBN-13/ hardcover: 978-0983770824 / ISBN-13/ paperback: 978-0983770862
Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.5 inches
Languages: English, Spanish, Catalan, Japanese, Norwegian, Turkey, Hazaragi, Italian, Greek, German, Irish, Hebrew, Romanian, French, Armenian, Hungarian and Portuguese
Available in all major online bookstores such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble