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Turkish girl's moving Anzac poem: I know both sides, both losses

A young Turkish girl has written an incredibly moving war poem, reflecting a depth of empathy far beyond her 10 years.

Ilana Kizildere, born in New Zealand to a Turkish mother and Kiwi father, was aked to write a war poem ahead of the Anzac centenary.

The result was a moving, intelligent and emotional piece that earned her the role of reading it out to her assembly at Auckland's Bayfield Primary School.

Her teacher, James Graham, says Ilana has offered a dynamic perspective to the class in the lead up to Anzac Day by sharing her family's side of the story.

"She's kept us on track looking at the Turkish perspective, she reminds us that in Gallipoli it's not called Anzac Cove," Mr Graham says.

He says she excels in poetry, is "very bright" and "knows what she's talking about".

Ilana lost a lot of her Turkish family during the war in Gallipoli and says her mum is planning something special to commemorate Anzac Day tomorrow.

Here is her poem, My People.

Embarking is hard

Leaving is worse

We march up the road

Line after line, rifles in our hands

Awaiting our fate

The sea

Oh the sea

The endless sea

Months we wait

On end, on end, on end

The bullets roar

No voices are heard

Only screams

The screams

The saddening scene

How still you lie

When you're dead

How still you lie when you're gone

Remember these men

Brave and true

Young and bold

They now lie in my land

I know both sides

Both stories

Both losses

I know both sides.

Ilana Kizildere with her poem


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