Karaganda (camp 99)

English translation

Karaganda (camp 99)

Colorless faces, abstract travelers,
lost passengers, uneasy immigrants
walking slowly throughout our regrets,
our futures in shackles, our dreams unfulfilled.
Ghosts with astral dances and rhapsodic sobs,
doped-out faces turned blue, covered with graffitis by fear,
walking slowly toward the incinerator,
toward the metalurgy of the predatory geniuses.
This is the murdering history, turning red beneath our feet,
this is the voice of Stalin, the laughter of Beria.
This is the lurid rhyme of Aragon and Elsa1,
This is the cry of the children who died in Karaganda2.
 
Dark mists over the West, mumbles of confused dreams,
barbarians with a bloodlust, vampires with melted hearts,
walking slowly along the avenues,
dying worlds, corrupted deserts,
it reeks of rank flesh, of decerebrated rat,
of android module, of worn out paradox,
of ghosts of mutants with tampered with brains
 
walking in protest on our irradiated skulls.
This is the murdering history, turning red beneath our feet,
this is the voice of Stalin, the laughter of Beria.
This is the lurid rhyme of Aragon and Elsa,
it's the cry of the children who died in Karaganda.
 
Colorless faces, abstract travelers,
lost passengers, uneasy immigrants
walking slowly throughout our regrets,
our futures in shackles, our dreams unfulfilled.
Gory and toiling peoples with anomic3 thoughts,
gloomy and slimy nations, anachronic slaves,
walking slowly under insults and the cane
of the tribunes back from Soviet darkness.
This is the murdering history, turning red beneath our feet,
this is the voice of Stalin, the laughter of Beria.
This is the lurid rhyme of Aragon and Elsa,
this is the cry of the children who died in Karaganda.
 
  • 1. Louis Aragon and Elsa Triolet (the sister of Maiakowsky's girlfriend Lily Brick) were devout communists in the 30's. They wrote many poems in praise of Stalin, visited the USSR a few times and were active propagandists of the regime. Contrary to some French artists who had embraced the cause of stalinism, they apparently never changed their mind, even after Stalin's death and the revelation of all his crimes.
  • 2. A city in Kasakhstan where ethnic German people were deported during and after WWII by order of Stalin (well, even breathing was done by order of Stalin at the time anyway, but still...)
  • 3. that's not a typo!
Do whatever you want with my translations. I'm not rich enough to sue you anyway.
Submitted by petit élève on Fri, 28/04/2017 - 08:01
Added in reply to request by Florent Oudot
Author's comments:

Unusually straightforward for Thiéfaine.
Comparing our current society with a Stalin-era deportation center is highly politically incorrect, but more thought provoking than your average pop song.

French

Karaganda (camp 99)

Please help to translate "Karaganda (camp 99)"
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