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PHalsall

What does this POW's song mean?

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PHalsall

Hi,

 

My grandfather, James Irwin, served with the Imperial Camel Corps, was captured near Beersheba and the imprisoned in Gelebek in the Taurus Mountains. He survived.

 

Somewhere along the way he learnt a song which his surviving son and daughter can still sing to this day, having learned it from him in later years.

 

Phonetically, and with his dubious pronunciation, it sounded like this
:  kam leelah, kam lee-oom, yakabibtee sooleeman

He said it meant :  How many nights, how many days, my dear Sulyman ? 
The 'locals' would chant it while doing heavy labour work.

 

I wonder if anyone can identify the song / chant? It seems to my simple mind to be Arabic rather than Turkish. I have not read of the existence of Arabic workers in the POW camps but someone might put me right on that one, certainly the reference to heavy labour fits the bill for Gelebek. It could equally well be that he picked this up in Egypt or Palestine. Were Arab labourers employed in constructing the railway and water pipeline across Palestine, for example? Is 'Sulyman' a reference to Solomon or Suleiman the Magnificent?

 

I appreciate that this is an odd one, but the expertise of the folk who contribute to this forum never ceases to surprise me so lets see what comes up!

 

Pete

 

 

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ss002d6252

According to Google translate

 

In Arabic it translates as
kam laylat , kam yawmaan , ya eazizi sulayman

 

In Turkish,

Kaç gece, kaç gün sevgili Süleyman

 

Craig

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PHalsall

Thanks Craig,

 

Certainly a better match for Arabic. I also picked up the following on Google, but working in the reverse direction so to speak

 

Here's what I learned from Google :

" How many nights ?"  =  kam layla al 'yam

" How many days ?"     = kam eadad al 'yam

" My love " (male)        = ya habibi

" My love " (female)    =  ya habibti

 

Pete

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