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4th of July: The Gettysburg Address in Arabic

Four score and a whole bunch of years ago (152, on July 4, 1863, to be precise), the Union Army defeated the Confederates at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania after a massive three-day battle. Gettysburg, which featured some of the most iconic and infamous episodes of American warfare – from Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain’s heroic defense of Little Round Top to Pickett’s ill-conceived and ill-fated charge – was the turning point in the American Civil War.

On November 19 of that year, President Abraham Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg to inaugurate the new national cemetery on the old battleground. The President gave a two-minute address to the crowd, an address that over time would come to stand as one of the most stirring acts of oratory brilliance in American history. He honored the fallen, those who had given their “last full measure of devotion” to the cause; he reminded us that the country was “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” and that preservation of the union would safeguard “a new birth of freedom”; and he pleaded the nation to overcome the divisions that had long plagued republics while never submitting to tyranny, a cause to guarantee that “government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

The Gettysburg Address continues to inspire awe, draw tears, stir butterflies, and demand contemplation. It ceases to astonish me how neatly woven and succinct the speech is, specific to the date and place, yet timeless and universal. On this Independence Day, let us further its universality by sharing it in the Arabic language; “it is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.”

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

منذ سبعة وثمانين عاما انجب آباؤنا على سطح هذه القارة أمة جديدة ولدت في ظل الحرية ووقفت ذاتها على الافتراض أن الناس جميعا خلقوا متساويين

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

واننا لنخوض الآن غمار حرب أهلية طاحنة من شأنها أن تثبت ما اذا كانت تلك الأمة، أو أي أمة أخرى ولدت ذلك المولد ووقفت ذاتها ذلك الوقف، قادرة على البقاء طويلا على قيد الوجود. لقد اجتمعنا على ساحة كبرى من ساحات تلك الجرب فجئنا لتكريس جانب من تلك الساحة كمثوى أخير لأولئك الذين جادوا بأرواحهم هنا حتى يتاح لتلك الأمة أن تحيا. وانه لجدير بنا وحق علينا أن نؤدي ذلك الواجب

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

الا انه ليس بوسعنا، بمعنى أوسع، تكريس هذه التربة أو وقفها أو تقديسها. لأن الأبطال الذين كافحوا هنا، سواء أكانوا أحيا أم أمواتا، قد كرّسوها تكريسا لا قبل لطاقتنا الهزيلة ان تزيد فيه أو تنقص. فالعالم لن يحفل كثيرا أو يذكر طويلا ما نقول هنا، الا انه لن يمكن النسيان ما فعلوه قط

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

وانه علينا، نحن الأحيا، ان نكرس ذوتنا هنا للمهمة التي لم تنجز بعد والتي دفع بها بشجاعة أولئك الذين حاربوا هنا قدما حتى الآن بتلك الهامة. وانه علينا ان نكرس ذواتنا للمهمة العظمى التي ما زالت تواجهنا لكي نستمد من هؤلاء القتلى الكرام مزيدا من الاخلاص لتلك القضية التي بذلوا في سبيلها القدر التام الأقصى من الاخلاص، ولكي نحزم بثقة أن هؤلاء القتلى لم يقضوا نحبهم عبثا، ولكي تولد هذه الأمة  بعون الله ولادة جديدة في ظل الحرية، ولكي لا يزول حكم الشعب من قبل الشعب من أجل الشعب عن وجه الأرض

 

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