What were the experiences and perceptions?

The Lament of the Exile

We leave the fatherland with broken hearts! We run into the morning train, We rush in, bewailing our bleak destiny. Oh, how the road out of our hamlet twists and turns! We shed tears of blood as we are forced away from our homeland, With heavy hearts we bid farewell to our country! The officer in the Consulate is red-moustachioed, Our hearts sink as we scrutinize our children’s dark fate. The beautiful Zul Balhqe is sounding the pshina (Adyghe accordion). We call our kith and kin, but, alack, they are nowhere to be found, We leave our fatherland against our will! Our beautiful caps lie on the edge of our foreheads, The steeds we ride, alas, we shall also have to leave behind. Woe, our forefathers and foremothers are weeping over us! Wailing and mourning we are exiled from our motherland, We utter our farewells to the fatherland with bleeding hearts! The crafts are sailing across the Black Sea, Sobbing and lamenting they herd us to the moored vessels. Our lot is verily to be in the Italian ship, You cannot divine the country they are exiling us to, We depart from our homeland with broken hearts!


This song is one of a number of laments upon the theme of the Great Circassian Diaspora (Yistambilak’ue; Going to Istanbul). It was composed by a Turkish Circassian but was then adopted by the Circassians still living in the Caucasus.