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United for Peace of Pierce County - POETRY: Victor Hugo on Bashar al-Assad
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Twelve lines, freely translated below and followed by the original verses from Victor Hugo's La Pitié suprême, evoke the situation of Bashar al-Assad.[1] ...

1.

[Translated from Part IV of La Pitié suprême (written 1857; published 1878)

TWELVE LINES ON BASHAR AL-ASSAD

By Victor Hugo

Tyranny! staircase descending to evil,
Dark, dizzying, dank, slippery, and fatal !
With every step the light grows dim ;
Whoever takes the first step, woe to him !
In the end the spiral leads, all cursèd and tricky,
To a darkness where every step is blood-sticky.
The conscience that leads a deaf soul there is blind.
Every step makes the flesh weigh more on the mind;
The animal crushes the soul more and more,
You can no longer breathe the light air where men soar;
Today what is error is crime tomorrow ;
Today you oppress those you'll kill on the morrow.

***

Tyrannie ! escalier qui dans le mal descend
Obscur, vertigineux, fatal, croulant, glissant !
Toutes les marches vont décroissant de lumière ;
Et malheur à qui met le pied sur la première !
C'est la spirale infâme et traître aboutissant
A l'ombre, et vous teignant les semelles de sang.
La conscience aveugle y mène l'âme sourde.
A chaque pas qu'on fait, la chair devient plus lourde ;
L'animal sur l'esprit près de plus en plus,
Et l'on se sent du souffle universel exclus ;
Aujourd'hui c'est la faute et demain c'est le crime ;
On tuera demain ceux qu'aujourd'hui on opprime.

--Victor Hugo, Oeuvres complètes, ed. Jean Massin, vol. 10 (Paris: Club français du livre, 1969), pp. 305-06.

--
Translated by Mark K. Jensen
Associate Professor of French
Department of Languages and Literatures
Pacific Lutheran Unviersity
Tacoma, WA 98447-0003
Phone: 253-535-7219
Webpage: http://www.plu.edu/~jensenmk/
Email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.