The Night of the Broken Glass


by Jahangir Sedaghatfar

The present poem recounts the horrible events of that nightmare of a night in a quasi-delirious, almost hallucinatory fashion. The brackets designate those moments when the observer pauses the narrative to loudly protest the painful scenes, which are taking place before the eyes.

The Night of the Broken Glass


Watch over the mothers!


Watch over the mother,

Whose fear-poisoned breast

Is feeding bitter milk

Into the mouth of the startled child.


Sacrilege and lunacy

Harden daggers

In the acerbity of blood.]


Watch over the newborns

—These fragile hopes of a better tomorrow;

Watch over them, please,

For the sake of God;

His Will was never meant

To cleanse the temple’s altar

By the ablution of the virgins’ blood.

[This is no more

The scent of the incense,

Or the fragrance of the oudh,

Which passes now,

On the wings of the wind,

Over the dark alleys of the night.]



Through the long fear of the mortiferous night,

We saw

The ignorance-tainted blindness of contempt

—That onset

Of the return

Of the slaughter, the crime—

So vividly, in our sight;

And we listened

’Til the jubilant cries of the drunkards

Merged with those supplicant pleas

That asked in tears,

“I beg thy forgiveness,

Oh, Thou, the Almighty God…”


And why,

At this autumn night,

When deciduous trees shed leaves,

There sprang, everywhere,

Red poppies, these flowers of love,

From the faint cold of the soil;

There bloomed red poppies,

From the callous heart

Of history’s

Stone-paved road.



Look, now!


Look, how

The ghosts of shrouded holy men

Are saving Jehovah’s name

—Which shineth brightly whence

The columns of the holy scrolls—

From the raging fire of hatred’s flames.

[This deceitful light of the fire

At the heart of this pitch-black dark

Couldn’t have ever been taken

As the glowing rays of

Shechina2—God’s Holy Light.]


Canst thou hear

The dreadful wail

Of the shofar3, crying

From the hilltops of Gilead?


These corps after corps of the ghosts,

Are the wandering souls,

Who’ve lost their graves,

Even as themselves

Were once victims—

These white-clad crowd,

Who’ve now risen

From the ruins

Of the unmarked tombs

Of centuries past.


The rebel martyrs of bygone ages,

At last,

The roar of their cries

Would stir

The colossal heart of God.]


And at long last,

The trace of the crimson thread

Joins now

The frigid cold of the gates of a heart

Devoid of the grace of love’s shining light,

A heart, itself

Forever drowned

In the ice-melt of its own blood.


But may the hands

Of the vicious hangmen

Forever be

Heavy with pain,

Who by the slingshot of their fists

—Filled with the fossils of ancient hate—

Broke down,

So sudden,

That night,

The silence

Of the crystal of kindness

Off of the blue calm

Of heaven’s dome.



This is no more

The scent of the incense,

Or the fragrance of the oudh,

Which passes now,

On the wings of the wind,

Over the dark alleys of the night…

Jahangir Sedaghatfar
Tiburon, November 1997

English translation: Los Angeles
November 2008, Payman Akhlaghi


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telepathy or proof of common sense

by humanbeing on

you can interpret the mutual association with yeshiva as telepathy, or as proof that it is relevant common sense. i think the latter.

why did you censor yourself? perhaps because the blog is called 'kristallnacht'. this is what is so great about cyberspace, we can dare to speak the unspeakable, and to explore our curiosities, but that means exposing some politically incorrect things. maybe unpleasant clashes. it's a challenge, but well worth it. 

to the matter at hand, in my opinion knowledge is not only on some laptop at starbucks, on wiki, or in some university of cleanshaven students studying the texts of dead white european males. (btw in the universities here there are seculars, orthodox, women in hijab, women in jewish headcoverings, women in miniskirts, men with earrings browrings nipplerings you name it, with kaffiyehs, bareheaded men, men with knit skullcaps, black velvet skullcaps,  'lawrence of arabia' types from northern europe who want exotic orient 'low-cal', fuqaha' wannabes, etc. etc. they are all human beings who want to be informed and i feel they are all my children).

in my opinion knowledge is a composite of this 'universal' western style knowledge and also  the wisdom of yeshivas and madrasas, it is the popular culture and the behaviour of the man on the street, of the little kid drinking in what he sees on tv as if by iv.


OMG: Human being! IN MY

by vildemose on

OMG: Human being! IN MY original version of last post, I said the same thing about the Yeshivas but I decided at the end not to mention Yeshiva.. I have great hopes and respect for that institution...

I'm not sure about the Madrassa/seminary in Iran but maybe Madrassas in Lebanon could be a good start.


vildemose thx

by humanbeing on

hearing from someone on this site that they think such trends might contribute to a positive change -- even peace! -- in ME is very very encouraging: on a bad day i think they are naive pipedreams in my head. if they could spread not just from universities and secular high schools, but infiltrate the yeshivas and madrasas on one hand, and nursery schools on the other, this would be even better.


DK: great

by vildemose on

DK: great links.

Humanbeing: I'm so glad to hear the new trend. It could be the first step toward peace in the ME. 



by Rea on

"In Short the Holocaust is Not Merely a property of Israeli or Jewish Collective Memory but that of Mankind as a whole."

True to the bone.


good luck dk

by humanbeing on

good luck with these cultural endeavours.

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humanbeing Jaan Your welcome

by Darius Kadivar on

Glad you found this feedbacks useful.

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thanks dk

by humanbeing on

thanks dk for all the info. i'm new here, so i was unfamiliar, e.g. with your blog on jews in the persian empire. my teenager has an equivalent on baccalaureat and for history they study on one hand 20th c. germany, with emphasis on the runup to fascist regime rather than a backgroundless pornographic collection of horror as they used to do, and on the other the persian and babylonian period, nebuchadnezzar, cyrus et al in detail, the text of cyrus' declaration in the bible vis a vis in archaeological findsm, everyday life and culture in what is today iraq and iran. you may be interested to know there is a sort of 'trend' now in talmudic studies at the universities here, where they are teaching and researching on the persian cultural and intellectual substrate in the bab. talmud and lit. contemp. to it. education to independent thinking, and to assessing information are the path to rapprochement and ought to replace incitement and ignorance all over the world.

if i had a lot of money, i would throw it all into such an endeavour; if i were a state leader, i would give it a very very high percentage of the budget, and if i were a world leader, i would sponsor it in other countries.

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slamming the holocaust card

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The Issues raised philisophically in regard to the Holocaust belong to mankinds Collective memory and consciousness. They cannot be dismissed however tempting whenever Israel's actions trigger controversy.

In Short the Holocaust is Not Merely a property of Israeli or Jewish Collective Memory but that of Mankind as a whole.

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Very moving. Thank you for

by vildemose on

Very moving. Thank you for sharing.