Al Jazeera’s “Poets of Protest” series — which promises to document the lives and landscapes of Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm, Syrian Hala Mohammed, Lebanese Yehia Jaber (another video of Jaber here), Iraqi Manal al-Sheikh, Palestinian Mazen Maarouf, and Algerian al-Khadra — is set to begin tomorrow.
UPDATE: See the first portrait, of Ahmed Fouad Negm, here.
The first “Artscape” portrait will be of vernacular poet Fouad Negm, who was also recently featured in a disappointing Egyptian film. An Al Jazeera news release promises that “Poets of Protest focuses on writers, their political and artistic struggles, and their work, with beautifully filmed visual interpretations of the poems. ”
The release adds, after discussing the profile of Fouad Negm, “In other episodes in the series, Syria’s renowned Hala Mohammed tells us about the pain of watching from exile as her country is violently torn apart. Poets of Protest also goes beyond the Arab Spring to hear the works of Mazen Maarouf from Palestine, Manal Al-Sheikh from Iraq, communist fighter turned poet Yehia Jaber from Lebanon and the ‘the poet of the rifle,’ Al Khadra, from Western Sahara. ”
Short promo for the series:
More from Al Jazeera Online.
In Aleppo, I saw carnage left by war
and the shepherds who fled
like others down winding dusty roads
carved from centuries of wind and stone.
Here, among the freezes of the Hittites
where myrtle mingles with the dead,
an ancient Syria rises up from its Citadel,
drenched in spume and blood.
Today, the newspapers and television
tell of thousands slaughtered.
Night has spilled its black ink over Syria
but the sun will burn again.
The rug vendors, coffee drinkers, and chess players
will come out into the streets of Damascus,
with their fists raised.
The dry air will celebrate its bleached bones.
Luis Lázaro Tijerina, Burlington, Vermont
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