Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Josef Marti - " a truthful man from this land of palm trees"

Josef Marti (1853 - 1895), a Cuban and a great Latin American intellectual was a symbol of Cuba's struggle for independence from Spain and a patriot who fought against the threat of U.S. expansion in his homeland.

This song 'Guantanamera' sung by the Sandpipers was and still is a lovely song. I first heard it in the mid-60s when I was an idealistic undergrad. I wish I could understand the Spanish lyrics but Marti's poignant lines in English still pulls at my heart and head.
I am a truthful man from the land of the palm trees
And before dying I want to share these poems of my soul.
My poems are soft green,
My poems are also flaming crimson.
My poems are like a wounded fawn seeking refuge in the forest.
With the poor people of this earth I want to share my fate.
To me this is a song of humility and compassion.
Guantanamera is a song of Guantanamo Province and a town at the eastern end of Cuba. On Feb. 23rd 1903 the United States claimed in perpetuity complete control over Guantanamo Bay for setting up naval stations.
After 2001 it became the notorious prison for "terrorists" - i.e. those - innocent or guilty, who threaten the hegemony of the Judaeo-Christian ethos and empire.
The Afro-White President of the United States planned to close Guantanamo Prison by 2010. There are now remaining 240 detainees from 30 countries.
Yesterday the Senate , including the Democrats moved to deny him the $80 million dollars required for his undertaking. No way will the Americans, of all shades and colours want to imprison, or to try these prisoners in their backyard.
A touching poem has been tainted and tarred. But Josef Marti's ideals will never die.


BB said...

Look here for translation.

anak si-hamid said...

Hello BB,
Thank you. Much appreciated

Anonymous said...

This song reminds me of Jalan Mas Kuning and the Denon and Grundig radio gram we used to have !

Of course it was the Sandpiper. But there was also Astrud Gilbeto, Herp Alpert, Ray Coniff, Bert Kemphert (right spelling ?), Celia Black, Pink Floyd, Petula Clark .....

Sorry for straying away from the main issue.....