Two poets, two resignations; Aime Cesaire and Cegerxwin

Click for Kurdish In 1957, two poets, in two countries far from each other, without knowing each other, resigned from their communist parties. One of them was Aime Cesaire and the other was Cegerxwin. Aime Cesaire was a citizen of France. His grandparents were brought from Africa as slaves four hundred years ago and worked as slaves in […]

Two poets, two resignations; Aime Cesaire and Cegerxwin
Two poets, two resignations; Aime Cesaire and Cegerxwin
  • Yayınlanma12 April 2023 12:21
  • Güncelleme12 April 2023 14:24

Click for Kurdish

In 1957, two poets, in two countries far from each other, without knowing each other, resigned from their communist parties. One of them was Aime Cesaire and the other was Cegerxwin. Aime Cesaire was a citizen of France. His grandparents were brought from Africa as slaves four hundred years ago and worked as slaves in the plantations of the island of Martinique. Cegerxwin was born into a poor family in a devastated country. He shepherded for the bread, he was a theologian for taking the zakat from people; to find a way for the situation of his country, he made a revolution and due to those worries, he felt pain in his heart. There are two issues came to the fore in their period: proletariat and colonialism. According to socialists, the working class should fight oppression and exploitation in European metropolises and save humanity. However, at that time, the oppressed people rebelled against colonialism. Capitalism didn’t have the same effect in the metropolis and the colonized country.

 Europe’s capital was earned not only through the labor of the working class in the metropolis but also through the looting of the labor and property of the oppressed people. As Cesaire wrote, “There was no skyscraper that I didn’t work for built. They were not only “thirsty and hungry” but also “homeless and lonely”. 

After a rebellion of Aboriginal captives, from the archives

Therefore, he describe the liberation of his people and the creation of a new humanism as two main goals. The world they live in and history did not mention to their pain and suffering, nor the revolution and struggle of their people. They wanted their people to have a legitimate place in the world, among humanity, with their names and colors. However it was not an easy duty. Their people and land had become the property of the exploiters and those things made under development and civilization. 

Aime Cesaire wrote his book called Cahier d’un Retour au Pays Natal [Book of Return to Nations] in 1939. Cesaire’s childhood passed in Martinique, one of the islands of Antilles. The Antilles was also the home of Toussaint L’Ouverture, the leader of the Haitian Revolution. That was the first revolution in the world that was made by slaves and they brought an end to slavery, but historians had not mentioned that revolution. Cesaire wanted both to restore the place of black people in history and to link himself with Toussaint L’Ouverture and the revolutions of his time with the Haitian revolution. As Cigerxwîn says in ‘Serafnamena Manzum’, Şehnameya Şehîdan’ and ‘Kîne Em He connected himself with the pioneers and leaders of Kurdish history.  

Kurdish people, Tunceli, from the archives

For both of them, there were no contradictions in the struggle against capitalism and colonialism. Both go with each other. And also, there wasn’t an opposition between the works for their nations and humanity. On the contrary, the struggle of the oppressed people was part of the construction humanism for everybody. With this idea, they entered politics in the ranks of the communist parties. Worked with them for ten years.  

At the end of 1956, Cesaire sent a letter of resignation to the general secretary of the Communist Party of France (PKF) Maurice Thorez.  Aime Cesaire put forward those ideas and issues: 

“Why did PKF not give place to the experiences and wishes of African people and black people in theory and practice? They did not have to hold to themselves to the socialism that was defined according to the French experience”. Cesaire said, “We are equal, French communists should not confuse with alliance and obedience.” We can see that their brains have effects of the arrogance and arrogance of the colonial era. Because I defended the rights and struggles of black people I was accused of racism. But that is not true. Black people are part of humanity and they have rights. Marx is good, but it should be supplemented with the experiences of black people and those of “unknown geographies”.

Cegerxwîn focuses on the reasons for his resignation from the Syrian Communist Party in his book called ‘My Biography’, and says, “According to the party members, nationalism and humanitarianism were opposite to each other According them, I should have given up nationalism and worked only on humanity and the proletariat. However, the communists of Russia and Great China have denied the struggle of their nations in the name of communism, so I can deny it. Should we wait for Givara, who will come to us and save us, or wait for the Soviet Union? Only then can we save ourselves with our efforts and with their friendship. Do you tell other nations that are fighting for their independence to stop fighting and come to other nations? They tell us that if you want to struggle for Kurds, go to Kurdistan. Where do we go? Is there Kurdistan? Shall we go to Mars?

Eastern rallies, Hılvan, 1969, from the archive

Both poets wanted to make the experience of the struggle of their oppressed people a part of the movement to build a new humanity. But it didn’t happen.   

Now this is the question: What is the experience of the Kurdish people in this era?

Bibliography:

Cegerxwin, My Biography, Apec, 1995.

Yusuf Kaynak Biography of Cegerxwin and His Works, Do, 2010.  

Aime Cesaire, “Letter to Maurice Thorez” tr. Faxriya Adsay, Zarema, No. 14, 2021. 

Aime Cesaire, Notebook of a Return to the Native Land, Wesleyan University Press, 2013.

Ibrahim Ibrahim, Reflection Kurdish History in Cegerxwin’s Poems, 2018

This news was translated Yonca Sarsılmaz