The sun shines in Lisbon

It emits light and heat on living creatures and other things;

On trees and palms

Yes, Palm trees in Lisbon!

(Who smuggled this palm tree from my country?)*


Here, in the land of Portugal,

the land of oranges**

the land of Alberto

the land of Alberta

the land of Iberia

the land of ab,

as in the land of the Spanish and the Greeks,

unlike the land of the English, the Americans, the Germans, the Italians, and the Iranians,

and even perhaps the land of the Chinese, Japanese, and Indians,

they respect you because you are an Arab.

You always hear them say:

We are like you and of you.


The sun loves us, Arabs.

And it loves the Spanish, the Greeks and the people of Portugal

It remains shinning throughout the day

Its light brightens the sky

It fills the gaps in the space

In the summer time and winter

It soars mountain summits

and overwhelms the deepest valleys

It feeds the bodies and minds

It dispels boredom and idleness




Sunlight overwhelms us, Arabs,

And, with us, it overwhelms, the Greeks, the Spanish, and the people of Portugal

Aren’t they of us and we of them?

We lived together for hundreds of years

No borders separated us

We have given to each other;

And taught each other

But they went forward while we went backward

They expanded while we shrank

They progressed while we regressed

They crossed seas and discovered continents

While we built barricades and dug trenches




But we also discovered things

We discovered that the disputes of our ancestors have not been settled

And it’s our duty to solve them now

We must settle the battles of our ancestors and triumph in them

Life is not worth living if it didn’t please our friends***

We have discovered we must live as our ancestors did

Doesn’t what they did and said apply to all times and places?

Everything for us was completed in the seventh century!

The doors were locked then and we must live within their walls!

The need for science is confined to entrenching the ancient and perpetuating it

Mummies are easy to preserve nowadays, thanks to science!

It has become possible to use the tools of the time to settle old scores, easily and speedily!

The Besoos War went on for far too long****

Why should we wait 40 years when we can settle it in a few hours or days?

Science will serve us within the confines of our utopia

We have discovered we were mere hostile tribes

Not one nation as we had long thought

We discovered we must imitate those lived in the sixth, seventh and eighth centuries

How beautiful and simple life was then!

We discovered we are worthy of death, rather than life

Simply because when dying we upset our enemies!*****

We discovered mass death was the shortest way to Heaven!

The group is sacred, even in death

The individual lives for the group

How valuable these discoveries have been!

They will rid us of ourselves in no time




Have we ever asked ourselves why they are awake while we are asleep?

We keep wandering, yet they are settled?

They are quiet and we are noisy?

They love and we hate

They live and we die?

We hold on to the past and they look on to the future?


Our ‘mujahedeen’ blow themselves up in the midst of schools, mosques and streets in order to take us to Heaven through the noses!

Our politicians surpass extremists in their pretense and extremism.

We reciprocate by clapping harder for them

Our scientists, laureates, artists, sportsmen all long to be politicians

We still clap for them and bow in reverence

Our politicians are all pedigree and pure

They are all cavaliers who have jumped from the seventh century!

How elegant the thoughts of our ancestors and how right their opinions are!

How tasty their food and how magnificent their dress.

How  generous our ancestors have been, they didn’t leave us in need of anything




Lisbon’s sun, which fills the space and emits on palms and things,

Its blue skies and generous land can be found elsewhere

We have exactly the same as Lisbon’s

Our sun shines too

Our skies are also blue

Our land is fertile, too

In it oranges also grew


But there are a few things missing

We lack…….

We hold on to…..

We pretend……

We love…..

We hate …..

We bow to…..


We stop at ……

Can anyone fill the spaces?


Hamid Alkifaey


6th Dec 2017


* a quote from Mudhaffar An-Nawwab

** IN Arabic, the word  for (orange )is taken from the name of Portugal because the Arabs knew oranges there.  

*** This is a verse in a famous Arabic poem by Palestinian poet Abdur-Raheem Mahmood

**** Al-Besoos is a famous Arab tribal battle that lasted 40 years where the motives were mere revenge

***** This is also a quote from the poem of Abdur-Raheem Mahmood