Saturday, January 15, 2011
The Poet of the Tunisian Revolution
It is unquestionable that another star of the Tunisian Revolution is the Tunisian poet, Abu Al-Qasim Ash-Shabi (lived early in the 20th century and died very young, leaving one Diwan "Aghani Al-Hayat" (Songs of Life)). Anthony Shadid said this today: "Hours after President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali fled Tunisia on Friday, a Lebanese broadcaster, in triumphant tones, ended her report on the first instance of an Arab leader to be overthrown in popular protests by quoting a famous Tunisian poet. “And the people wanted life,” she said, “and the chains were broken.”" The anchorwoman, I think on New TV, was not quoting the the poet. She was paraphrasing. The famous poem "The Will of Life" is known by all Arabs and goes like this: "If the people will to live, providence is destined to favorably respond; and night is destined to fold, and the chains are certain to be broken; and he who has not embraced by the love of life, will evaporate in its atmosphere and disappear." But I wish Arabs know more of his poetry: he wrote many nice poems and wrote a lot about melancholy--he clearly suffered from an acute case of it. He has a poem titled "To a Tyran" which says: "Woe to you, abode of injustices, from a future, when the oppressed rise and show determination." I am afraid that I have found one of his poems, "The New Morning" (written in 1933) more than a bit influenced--if not plagiarized from--a poem written by Mikha'il Nu`aymah titled "Contentment" (written in 1922).
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 9:57 AM