The Palestinian Child's Image in Delicate Helmet Poems

One of the long-standing subjects in the Islamic world is the issue of Palestine and its occupation by Israel and committing various crimes against Palestinians, especially their children. The Palestinians' state of being oppressed and the incomparable resistance of Palestinian children against these unfair behaviors have been reflected in various forms in the work of poets around the world. Latif Halmat (Helmet), the poet of resistance in Iraqi Kurdistan, is among the poets who has a transnational view, and has focused on Palestinian children regardless of his territorial framework, Kurdistan. Having made use of his literary power, he has portrayed their sufferings, martyrdom and bravery in his childlike poems and he has used all the potentials of Kurdish poetry to express Palestinians' state of being oppressed and their resistance. The present article seeks to describe the Palestinian children's image in Halmat’s poetry from a structural and content perspective using a descriptive-analytical method.
The results show that in his Mendalan divan we are confronted with two different images of Palestinian children: the first is their oppressed image and the second is their militant and resilient image, which, despite their childhood, have stood firm against adversity and has frightened their enemies. Also, in terms of structure and vocabulary, his poetry is simple and fluid, and the rhythm and content of the poems fit together.


The research methodology of this research is descriptive-analytical, which was done in three steps. Firstly, the researchers precisely studied the resources related to resistance literature and Latif Halmat's Mendalan divan and identified the required data for conducting research among the verses of the book. Secondly, the researchers reviewed and analyzed the content of the verses based on the collected data. Finally, this research attempts to answer the following questions:1. How is Palestinian children's image reflected in the poetry of Latif Halmat?
2. How is the structure and content appropriate in Latif Halmat's poetry about Palestinian children?


Resistance literature has been linked to destiny of nations, and has encompassed a considerable part of their literary history. The history of resistance literature goes back to the distant past because of the important themes of resistance, such as trying to preserve life and honor, protesting against injustice, resisting oppressors and their violence, inviting to fight against bullying and aggressive enemies, etc. It has been and is one of the basic concepts of human life.
In Persian literature, from epic to constitutional poetry, enduring themes has been found in the poetry of poets, as well as Kurdish literature and divans of ancient and contemporary Kurdish poets are full of poems, writings and examples of patriotism, discrimination and resistance against compulsion, etc., which is in the context of resistance literature.
Resistance literature is tied to Palestine and Palestinians. Pictures of Palestinian youths and children being killed every day, homelessness and appalling living conditions in camps, as well as their struggle and resistance to usurp enemies, familiarize the world's minds with Palestinians' sufferings and cause poems to be described by Palestinian, Arab and non-Arab poets. Also among the many different themes about Palestinians' resistance, the pitiful image of Palestinian children is a very important matter, which have not been addressed in poets' divans.
Latif Mahmoud Barzanji, known as Latif Halmat (1947), is a first-generation Iraqi modern-day poet and co-author of Shirko Bekas, Abdullah Pashio, and Rafiq Saber. He is one of those poets who lived through the years of the Ba'athist regime and he saw the ten-year war (1961 to 1970) and  pursued the policy of repression, killing, imprisonment, mass deportation, of Kurds by the Iraqi government (Kuchera, 1377, p.434) and he understood the painful catastrophes of Halabja's chemical bombing, the genocide of Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan known as Anfal, in which "about 50,000 villages were destroyed, one million people were displaced and 180,000 people were killed collectively" (Sajjadi, 2017, 134). In other words, touching on similar Palestinian conditions In the Kurdish land made him pay attention to Palestinian children and tried to speak about children's suffering in children's language in his Mendalan divan.
  The study of Halmat's poetry about Palestinian children confronts us with two faces of the children of this land:2-2-1. The oppressed image of the Palestinian child:  

  This section of Halmat's poems includes topics like 'crime, destruction and dictatorship, 'cruelty and murder', 'displacement and homeland' and 'bombardment', each with its own depiction of sufferings. Palestinian children:2-2-2-Palestinian Child's resistant image:Another part of Halmat's children's poems is dedicated to the representation of Palestinian child's bravery against Zionists' occupation. The first poem, written at the beginning of the Mandalan divan, deals with the issue of Beirut and Palestine and the firm stature of its children against the aggressors. In this section, three themes are discussed with examples: 'revenge', 'struggle' and 'resistance'.


The study led to the following


1. Unlike other Kurdish poets who have not paid much attention to the Palestinian issue, Latif Halmat has taken steps to address the sufferings of Palestinian children as a humanitarian issue.
2. Palestinian children's Image in the poetry of Latif Halmat is two-sided, in other words, in his divan, we have two images of Palestinian children. First, their oppressed face which shows their suffering, devastation, displacement, bombing and killing, while there is no savior. The second is the militant image of Palestinian children, which can be clearly seen in their angry look and furious revenge.
3. Structurally, the poems and a story in the Mendalan divan have a simple and far-reaching literary complexity, and the poet has successfully attempted to avoid using far-fetched metaphors and complex terms,  according to the world of his audience and to make a better connection with the audience
4. Also, in terms of the rhythm and speech tone, Latif Halmat has been successful to match the musical rhythm with the content. At the time of showing the oppressed image of Palestinian children, he uses soft tones such as Motaghareb and Ramal, and to show their fighting power and resistance, he uses an epic tone a syllable meter with a sharp rhythm.
5. Halmat does not neglect Palestinian girls in his poems. In a beautiful poem, he portrays a Palestinian girl in a warlike frame, who abandons the prosperity and joys of life and is killed for defending the homeland. Finally, the poet dedicates his poem to her.
6. Latif Halmat in Palestinian children's poetry mostly uses the narrative and one component of the narrative style, namely, dialogue between individuals and characters involved in the story, and even in prose text, he uses the monologue style, and the story's character does heartache and review memories with himself,  and it helps the poet to convey some messages to the target audience, i.e., children in an indirect and simple way, and more precisely, through the use of fictional setting - which is familiar and understandable for the child -.
7. The poet uses contradictions to express his intentions, and in particular, to show the evil face of Zionists. This means that he uses innocent natural elements such as butterflies, pigeons and kites, to which he attributes the cruel deeds of the Zionists, in order not to become embraced in the mind of the audience and to be drawn to the opposite point, the Zionists.

Article Type:
Research/Original Article
The Journal of Resistance Literature, Volume:11 Issue:20, 2019
187 - 215  
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