art of resistance, Lebanon

Nizar Qabbani | Beirut, The Mistress Of The World.

nizar

*Been in Beirut for a month now. This poem’s on my mind most of the time. One of the first days here I got lost searching for the sea (it’s hard to see, smell or hear the sea due to all of the building/s/ everywhere) and I finally found my way – stumbling upon a little street that took me straight to the coast.

It was the street of Nizar Qabbani. In this city of refuge that needs a refuge, Qabbani shows the way to the sea. I call it hope.

Beirut, The Mistress Of The World

Beirut, the Mistress of the World
We confess before the One God
That we were envious of you
That your beauty hurt us

We confess now
That we’ve maltreated and misunderstood you
And we had no mercy and didn’t excuse you
And we offered you a dagger in place of flowers!
We confess before the fair God
That we injured you, alas; we tired you
That we vexed you and made you cry
And we burdened you with our insurrections

Oh Beirut
The world without you won’t suffice us
We now realize your roots are deep inside us,
We now realize what offence we’ve perpetrated

Rise from under the rubble
Like a flower of Almond in April
Get over your sorrow
Since revolution grows in the wounds of grief
Rise in honor of the forests,
Rise in honor of the rivers
Rise in honor of humankind
Rise, Oh Beirut!

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art of resistance, Syria

The Feminism of Nizar Qabbani.

My newest article, The Feminism of Nizar Qabbani, is up on Muftah.

“Nizar Qabbani is one of the most famous Arab poets of the 20th century. From his direct, erotic poetry, addiction to women, and impulsive and passionate verses, to his constant criticism of Arab leaders and powerful calls for justice, sixteen years after his death, Qabbani remains an indispensable voice throughout the Arab world.”

show_942fa5a8-1879-4078-9c9f-8e2f5a190c9dNizar Qabbani /photo via Antika/

“Qabbani adressed many gender-related taboos, from the frustration of a woman whose husband will not satisfy her sexual needs, to the anguish of a pregnant mistress thrown out on the street by her lover for refusing to get an abortion. Out of his enormous love for the Arab world, Qabbani criticized what was wrong with the region, in the hope that progress and change for the better would come.”

It’s always inspiring to read and write about Qabbani. You can read the full article on Muftah.

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art of resistance, Syria

The Theatre of War.

‘The Theatre of War‘ is an exhibition of photographs dedicated to the work of some of the newest members of Magnum: Peter Van Agtmael, Moises Saman, Jerome Sessini and limited edition posthumous prints by the late Tim Hetherington, whose Estate joined the agency after his death in Libya in April 2011.

The exhibition addresses the subject that Tim Hetherington was exploring in his photography, when he was tragically killed, which is the self-conscious theatricality of the combatants he documented as they played out their roles. This exhibition brings together a unique set of images which capture the protagonists of war and their stages – the territories over which these recent conflicts have raged: Liberia, Egypt, Syria and Libya.

The following photos are from Syria, and I am posting them here together with the verses of a great Syrian poet, Nizar Qabbani.

LON160682© Moises Saman/ Magnum Photos

أدمنت احزاني
فصرت اخاف ان لا احزنا
I got addicted to my sorrows,
Until I have gotten scared of not being sorrowed.

NYC133630© Moises Saman/ Magnum Photos

وطعنت آلافا من المرات
حتى صار يوجعني بان لا اطعنا
And I was stabbed thousands of times,
Until it felt painful not to be stabbed.

PAR433458© Jerome Sessini/ Magnum Photos

ولعنت في كل اللغات
حتى صار يقلقني بان لا العنا
And I was cursed in all the languages,
Until I started being nervous of not being cursed.

PAR433521© Jerome Sessini/ Magnum Photos

ولقد تشابهت كل البلاد
فلا ارى نفسي هناك، ولا ارى نفسي هنا
And all the countries seemed the same,
That I don’t see myself there, And I don’t see myself here.

For more on The Theatre of War exhibition, go to Magnum Photos.

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