Eighty one years ago, on February 23, 1918, the first President of the independent Crimea, Numan Celebicihan was brutally murdered by the Black Sea Sailors, the supporters of the new revolution. Celebicihan, as he is known by his people, had dedicated his life to help free his long suffering people and make his beloved Crimea another Switzerland. In the process, he himself suffered and was tortured in prison, unable to see his dreams fulfilled. He was not only a lawyer and a national leader but also a poet. He had written his famous poem Bastirik*- Prison (Cell) during the turbulent times waiting to be released from prison in Akyar (Sevastopol). Celebicihan lost his life at the tender age of thirty two.
Eighty one years later, as we approach of a new millenium, Celebicihan’s people, the Crimean Tatars, remain a divided people and his nation a divided nation. Those Crimean Tatars who were lucky enough to return to Crimea, continue to suffer politically as well as economically, while the others are still trying to return to Crimea to face the same problems. The peaceful struggle of Celebicihan’s people failed to catch the attention of the world, because not once have they resorted to violance; and they are determined to keep their struggle a peaceful one. How long can these innocent people wait for total rehabilitation? So far both Crimea and Central Asia where they are still in exile, have been their "Bastirik". They are waiting to be released and join the "new world order" as a free and united nation. Only then Numan Celebicihan can rest in peace.
Allah Rahmet Eylesin!*This is the first English translation of "Bastirik".
For further information on Celebicihan, visit the Crimean Tatar Web page at Crimean Tatars Home: http://www.euronet.nl/users/sota/kirimtatar.html
Mubeyyin Batu Altan
by Numan Celebicihan
Dort tas duvar, en topede bir kickene pencere,
Icke temir cabaklardan isik tuvul dert kire,
Her kosede dim golgeler, yesil kufler kopure,
Yatak tahta, yemek fena, yerden suvuk ufure.
Hizmetci de her kun bunu sulap, sulap supure,
Kimerde bir anayin da sovup sala koz kore,
Aksamlar bu kara evge kara perdeler kere,
Yalnizliklar yalniz canga canli tusler kostere.
Garip curek capalana, tenler, tukler urpere,
Tozmay gonul havalanip, alcala bombos yere,
Nobetciler gece gunduz, karap curup teskere,
Kapidaki avur kiltni her saat dort- bes kere.
Bu golgeli kardan suvuk kiltli kara mezarga,
Yamanlardan daha fazla yahsi insan kop kire,
Kirgenden son isler belli; tura tura ya cure,
Ya da haksiz azaplarga dayanilmay delire...
Four stone walls, and at top a tiny window,
Torment, rather than light enters here through iron bars.
Ugly shadows, and green mold froths everywhere,
A wooden bed, rotten food, and cold air blows here and there.
The caretaker sweeps the floors, pouring water over dirt,
Openly curses at one’s mother, looking straight at one’s face.
The evenings spread their dark curtains over this darkened place,
Lonliness brings live nightmares to one’s lonely face.
The poor heart palpitates, one feels goosebumps everywhere,
First, one’s spirit rises high, then drops right to the empty floor.
The guards check this place, walking and searching,
Checking on the heavy lock, four to five times an hour.
To this locked, colder than ice, grave like room,
Enters more good people than hard criminals.
It is fait accompli once you enter here; either you rot here,
Or you go insane, unable to endure the unjust torture there.
Numan Celebicihan/ Translated by Mubeyyin B. Altan - February ,1999.
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