Mieste Hotopp-Riecke

With Yunus a literary farewell for Swietlana and Ali

With a poem by Yunus Qandım, I said goodbye to two dear friends at the CLA-Festival Constanta, who on the one hand had an immense influence on my academic network, on my emotional connection with the Crimean Tatar culture and history and, above all, with the Tatar friends in the Crimea. On the other hand, they were role models for me, signposts for straightforwardness even when political or ideological adversity was against a project, against an opinion or against the mainstream of the surroundings. This is also symbolized, for example, in the poem "My mother tongue" by Yunus Qandım. A work that is precise and concise, emotional and stirring, admonishing and melancholic at the same time. It goes against the zeitgeist of indifference[1], loss and de-solidarization. It gives you courage, it stands for self-assertion, empowerment and pride. All these things, all these attitudes that I associate with Swietłana Czerwonnaja and Ali Khamzin.

The poet and academic Yunus Qandım spoke Ukrainian, Russian, Uzbek and Crimean Tatar as well as Belarusian, Karakalpak, Turkmen, Azerbaijani and Turkey-Turkish language. He was born 1959 in Aqqurğan near Tashkent and died far too early at the age of 45 on March 20, 2005. I met this outstanding Crimean Tatar poet[2] in Crimea in 2004 when I was as guest student at KIPU Aqmescit for a semester for field research for my master's thesis.

My guest father and house mentor at KIPU[3] was Prof. Dr. Ismail Kerim. He and his entire kafedra-collectiv welcomed me wholeheartedly. Already in 1998 and 2000 during research stays in Yalta and Aqmescit and on the occasion of Mustafa Cemilev's 60th birthday in 2003 I got to know Crimean Tatar academics and artists. The first meetings and also the trip to the 60th birthday of Mustafa aga were arranged by my Magister mother Barbara Kellner-Heinkele and her friend Swietłana Czerwonnaja, who also came to the Crimea in 2003 and introduced me to Alexander Lavut and Ernest Kudusov. The poem by Yunus Qandım has become an integral part of ICATAT's cultural and scientific events in Germany. The foreword for my book, in which I published the German translation of the poem, was written by Swietłana Czerwonnaja. There she wrote, among other things:

„The Crimean Tatars can postulate a special position for themselves in several ways: As the most Western-speaking Turkic-speaking Muslim ethnic group in the USSR and thus one of the oldest Muslim peoples in Europe. Another peculiarity of the Crimean Tatars is their unique network of initiative groups, the based on the centuries-old Qurultay system of the Turkic peoples, restored in 1991 through decades of struggle to return home.”

Yunus Qandım supported this struggle as a poet and lecturer, Swietłana hanım with academic energy and Ali Khamzin with diligent network work and friendly communication.


Ana tilim / Yunus Qandım (Crimean Tatar[4])

Aна тилим, меним тилим

Меним чокърагъым.

Меним гулюм, меним илим,

Меним байрагъым.

Меним далым, меним сырым,

Aна тилим.

Меним козюм, меним тамрым.

Aна тилим

Шырыл-шырыл акъар сенинъ

Татлы сёзлеринъ,

Манъа къанат такъар сенинъ

Серин еллеринъ.

Меним тюшюм, меним дагъым,

Aна тилим

Меним геджем, меним багъым,

Aна тилим

Ана тилим Алла берген

Къарам, беязым,

Къаранлыкъта ёл костерген

Чолпан йылдызым.

Aна тилим


My mother tongue

My mother tongue, my language,

My source.

My rose, my science,

My flag,

My branch, my secret,

My mother tongue.

My eyes, my balance

My mother tongue.

Gurgling gently from your

Sweet words source,

Give me wings Your

Fresh breath.

My thinking, my mountains,

My mother tongue.

My nights, my vines

My mother tongue,

My Black, my white,

Given to me by Allah.

In the dark the way you show

My morning star

My mother tongue.


[1] Zeitgeist is a German terminus and means in this case - also in the English language - the intellectual fashion or dominant school of thought of a certain period (disambiguation); not the concept from eighteenth- to nineteenth-century German philosophy, meaning "spirit of the age" refering to an invisible agent or force dominating the characteristics of a given epoch in world history; now usually associated with Georg W.F. Hegel, contrasting with his use of Volksgeist "national spirit" and Weltgeist "world-spirit".

[2] Qandım was co-editor of the literary magazine Yıldız and co-organizer of Crimean-wide national Crimean Tatar school music and poetry competitions. Yunus hoca was a member of the Union of Writers of the USSR since 1989 and of the Union of Writers and Journalists of Ukraine since 1993. In 2000 he received the title of "Honored Artist of Ukraine". From his obituary: “Onıñ aydın simasi iç bir vaqıt qalblerimizden silinmez. Elvida, qalemdeş dostumız! Yatqan yeriñ puf olsun, Allahniñ rahmetinde ol. “[His intellectual personality cannot be erased from our hearts. Farewell our friend, companion of pen. May the earth of your burial be blessed, be in the grace of God].

[3] The so called Tatar University in Aqmescit/Simferopol; Crimean State Engineering and Pedagogical University, today as "Крымский инженерно-педагогический университет имени Февзи Якубова", named and formerly - since 1993 - lead by rector Prof. Dr. Fevzy Yakubov.

[4] English translation by M. Hotopp-Riecke. Regarding Yunus Qandım see further in Hotopp-Riecke, Mieste: Die Tataren der Krim zwischen Assimilation und Selbstbehauptung. Der Aufbau des krimtatarischen Bildungswesens nach Deportation und Heimkehr (1990-2005). Stuttgart: ibidem, 2016, S. 3, 140-141, 157.