“ЗАПИСКИ ИЗ МИНБИДЖА” (Notes from Manbij) — A Poem

Over the past weeks, as fighting raged in Manbij in Syria between IS and U.S.-backed fighters, a number of missives have emerged from the town and have been shared on Russian-speaking IS channels. A number of Russian-speaking fighters from a Russian-speaking battalion has been trapped in Manbij.

This poem is one of the missives that has been shared. It is not the best Russian-language jihadi poem I have come across — though I think the two couplets are rather touching (most poems and writings that talk about Paradise gardens are rather obsessed with райские гурии, heavenly houris, rather than their long-suffering (I imagine) wives). I have translated it literally rather than trying to preserve the rhyme scheme.


Notes from Minbij poem

I sit in the window in my makkar,

Kalashnikov at my shoulder and my trigger cocked*

My brother on ribat has not slept for ages

The infidels don’t dare to disturb him.

Allah wanted to test us in battle

[My] faith in Him I guard always

There аre no better soldiers in this world

Than those who believe and fight boldly.

My wife, how long is it that I not seen you,

I know that you pine and that you love me.

I hope to live together in both worlds,

As in this world, as in the Paradise gardens.


*This, according to a native speaker, is bad Russian, it should be взведен not напряжён.