A Drill Song from the Turkish Resistance

//A Drill Song from the Turkish Resistance

A Drill Song from the Turkish Resistance

Translation by Süleyman Soydemir and the Turkish Youth

From an anonymous variant of a military drill song, “Gündoğdu Marşı,” or “The Sunrise Anthem,” was a symbol of the anti-fascist Turkish resistance in the 1960s and 70s.

Today, it serves as a symbol of hope in the face of an increasingly authoritarian regime.

Gündoğdu Marşı

Gün doğdu, hep uyandık
Siperlere dayandık
Bağımsızlık uğruna da
Al kanlara boyandık

Yolumuz devrim yolu
Gelin kardaşlar gelin
Yurdumuz da faşist dolmuş
Vurun kardaşlar vurun

Yurdumuz da faşist dolmuş
Vurun kardaşlar vurun!

The Sunrise Anthem

At Sunrise, we all wake up
Trenches bracing our shoulders
For our freedom we stand against
Blood-red shrapnel showers

Our path leads to revolution
March on brothers and sisters
Against this fascist infestation
Strike on brothers and sisters

Against this fascist infestation
Strike on brothers and sisters!


Listen to the sung form here, since, as Mr. Soydemir wrote, “Let’s face it, poetry is almost always more inspiring when sung aloud.”


Süleyman Soydemir is a believer in the supposedly antiquated chants of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity and a student of Anatolian Folk Traditions and Culture. His current—and perhaps ultimate—purpose in life is to tell the stories of resistance against tyrants, thieves and internet trolls.

Notes on the translation from Süleyman Soydemir:

The translated version is about 1.5 times the length of the original in terms of word count. However, this is largely irrelevant, since Turkish poetry uses syllables rather than words in determining length, and the translation has almost the same metric value as the original. Another reason for the length discrepancy is because of Turkish phonetics, which allows for almost all words to be split wherever you want and for most vowel lengths to be changed as needed. As I wanted to keep the translation more or less sing-able, words such as “trenches” have to be placed strategically. While these might be important considerations to make in metric and/or folk poetry, translators of free-meter poetry tend to value the emotional effectiveness of the end product and its ability to carry over the intended meaning.

I have translated some verses rather liberally, especially concerning the “shrapnel showers” and “fascist infestation.” This is because most of the verbs and some of the nouns used in the original do not carry the same power and colloquial meaning they have in Turkish, prompting me to strengthen the translation using different methods. It is the translator’s job to strike a balance between the two ends and decide on where to draw the lines. Finally, as the word “sibling” is seldom used colloquially in English, the Turkish equivalent, “kardaş,” was translated as “brothers and sisters.”

Photo credit: Marco Verch via a Creative Commons license.

By | 2017-10-25T08:42:44+00:00 October 26th, 2017|Categories: Issue 46: 26 Oct 2017|Tags: , |Comments Off on A Drill Song from the Turkish Resistance