Censorship by Sticks and Stones

I got a chill, yesterday, re-reading Mohamed Saghir al-Awlad’s “The Will”:

I was almost certain.

But now I’m of a cast-iron certainty that I’m going to die

a death of strange account

in the summer

or in the third half of August

to be precise

When the day comes, I’ll approve of it, like a spouse, smiling,

clean-shaven, nails trimmed, neat, in a green

neck tie and shiny black shoes

starting – no holding back – to meet the King of Kings, and to

bid farewell to those garments of the world’s underbelly that

cling to the memory:

– the olive of proverbs . . . for one example

– the flies of famine . . .  for another

– my love who loves her lover . . . that does sometimes happen!

– the Cow in the Qur’an, which becomes a calf . . . interpreted so

– and you. Yes, you, you lies, laid out for sale like a host

of dried plums on a Berber stew!

Keep reading.

The chill came because al-Saghir, the great Tunisian poet, was apparently attacked last week by a group of Salafists* after he’d appeared on TV and criticized them. In, you know, August.

Scholar Mohamed-Salah Omri has likened al-Saghir — who also is well-known for his satirical articles — to Mahmoud Darwish in his ambitions: “The link I establish between Awlad Ahmed and Darwish is a way of thinking, at least in tentative terms, which strand of modern Arabic poetry – written in fusha – managed to express or articulate poetically the protest culture in the Arab world and speak for moments of popular revolts, uprisings or resistance.”

About this reprehensible attack, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information:

The attack on the poet Mohamed Al-Saghir is an explicit violation to the freedom of opinion and expression in the country and represents a challenge to the Alnnahdah Movement the governing in Tunisia, which announced several times their respect for freedom of expression, especially with the presence of the statements issued by the Alnnahdah Movement saying that “freedom of expression and artistic creativity, although they are recognized by they are not free from all controls” which suggests that they are trying to restrict the freedom of opinion in the country and overlook the repeated violations of the creators and owners of opinion.

*Is this what we’ve decided, now?