The Killing of the She-Camel


The poem was originally one of the songs in the play Wadnahaan far ku hayaa but it became so overwhelmingly popular that, eventually, it completely overwhelmed performances of the play itself. As readers will discern, the reason for its popularity - and why it enraged the military dictatorship of the time - is because its vivid, skilful metaphors are open to a variety of interpretations. This poem, which led to Hadraawi's five-year imprisonment in Qansaxdheere, goes to the very heart of his genius.

WN Herbert, Poet-translator