Viva translators' solidarity: Threats to cut out artist's tongue spark worldwide translation frenzy

02/08/2022 13:58 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

Spanish translation of Sezen Aksu's "Avcı" (Hunter)

[Guest submission]

Some 217 artists have released a joint statement in support of Turkish singer Sezen Aksu, after she was targeted by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over the content of a song she released in 2017.

“...We stand fully against this attack initiated against Sezen Aksu, who has been writing, singing and gifting several songs to the cultural accumulation of these lands for 47 years,” reads the artists’ statement. 

“We do not want a country in which Aksu's freedom of expression is restricted and she is threatened with 'cutting off her tongue',” they wrote, adding that the singer “will never walk alone.” 

This show of solidarity came in response to remarks in which Erdoğan threatened Aksu over her 2017 song, “It is a wonderful thing to live.”

“No one can defame our Prophet Adam. It is our duty to cut those tongues,” Erdoğan said on Jan. 21, without explicitly mentioning Aksu's name. (He has since claimed that his statements were not directed at Aksu.)

Erdoğan's comments came after Islamists accused the song of going against “moral values” over lyrics which call Adam and Eve “ignorant.”

In response, Aksu penned a new song titled “Hunter” (Avcı) with lyrics such as: “You cannot crush my tongue,” and, “You cannot make me sad; I am already very sad; wherever I look is pain; wherever I look is pain; I am the chase; you are the hunter.”

Within just a couple of days, the lyrics of “Hunter” had been translated into more than 51 languages—from Arabic to Zulu—and disseminated widely across social media. 

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Turkish artist Alaz Pesen performs a cover of Aksu's "Hunter" in his own translation:

A sample of the multiple, multilingual translations of Aksu's "Avcı" lyrics (click image for better quality): 
Image source: Rober Koptaş, on Twitter @roberkoptas 

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